FORT WORTH - Northwestern State (La.) defensive end Ahmad Willis
batted down the potential game-tying field goal by sophomore
place-kicker Nick Browne in overtime to upset the TCU football team
27-24 Saturday on Family Weekend in the Horned Frogs first home game
of the season.
Northwestern State (3-0), a Division I-AA school, had 447 yards
total offense against TCU (2-2), which entered the game with the No.
8 defense in the nation. The Frogs’ loss snapped an 11 game home
Head coach Gary Patterson said his team did not play with
"I don’t know if the excitement was there," Patterson said. "I
don’t know what it was. I don’t know if it was the two-week layoff.
We’re too young of a football team not to come out and play with a
high level of emotion."
"I think it raises concerns. Bottom line is we aren’t a good
enough football team right now to be able and come out and not play
with a high level of intensity (and still win.)"
A week away from the start of conference play, the Frogs wanted
to play a team that threw well in preparation for pass-happy
Conference USA. The Frogs got what they wished for, and didn’t like
the result. Demons’ quarterback Craig Nall, an LSU transfer, threw
for 326 yards and two touchdowns.
"We finally played a team that went deep on us and we didn’t play
it very well," Patterson said.
"Defensively, we didn’t make plays. (They were the) first team in
a long time that was able to run and throw it. They threw them up
&endash; jump balls &endash; and they caught them."
The Frogs had 15 penalties for 114 yards, a blocked punt and
field goal and a costly fumble on the 4-yard line in overtime.
Junior quarterback Casey Printers said the Frogs kept shooting
themselves in the foot.
"They slowed us down severely," Printers said. "We were moving
the ball pretty good. Every time we thought we were moving it well,
we got a holding penalty or something."
Printers and junior receiver LaTarence Dunbar had their best
games of the season. Printers threw for 263 yards and three
touchdowns. Dunbar caught five passes for 112 yards and two
In the end, it wasn’t enough.
"At times I was frustrated because we didn’t score enough
points," Printers said. "We had the opportunity to score more
points. We had the game in reach. We had to keep scoring but we
didn’t. That was disappointing."
Patterson blamed the defense. "I thought offensively we did
enough to win the ball game as far as scoring points," Patterson
The game was tied 10-10 going into the fourth quarter before both
teams scored 28 points in a flurry of scoring to send the game to
Dunbar made a leaping catch then raced to the end zone for 36
yards to put the Frogs ahead, 17-10.
But Northwestern State responded on the next drive. On
second-and-15, receiver Devon Lockett made a diving catch for a
48-yard gain. Eight plays later, Nall ran up the middle for a
After failed drives by both teams, the Frogs got the ball back
with 6:27 remaining in regulation.
On third-and-four, Printers, under pressure, threw a screen pass
to Dunbar, who streaked 34 yards to score his second touchdown of
"They were (trying to defend) the option, so they were rushing
real hard," Dunbar said. "We called the right play at the right
It would be the Frogs last score of the game.
With 4:14 left in the game, Nall engineered a nine-play, 80-yard
touchdown drive to send the game to overtime. When Nall needed to
make plays, he made them.
On fourth-and-four, receiver Freddie Harrison leaped to pull in a
26-yard pass from Nall and get the first down. Three plays later, on
third-and-10 with 58 seconds remaining, Nall dumped off a pass to
running back Jeremy Lofton that turned into a 14-yard touchdown to
tie the game.
Freshman strong safety Marvin Godbolt said the Frogs could not
make key stops.
"We’re going to have to look (back) at this game," Godbolt said.
"We didn’t execute. Something was wrong."
The Frogs could not score on the next drive and the game went to
Northwestern State settled for a field goal from Clint Sanford
and the Frogs got the ball back.
After handing off on two consecutive runs that went nowhere,
Printers completed a pass to Dunbar to convert on third down and
move the ball to the 4-yard line. But Printers fumbled a handoff the
next play for a 9-yard loss.
"I had just got finished to the offense telling them to hang on
to the football," Patterson said. "Then there they are lying on the
After the Frogs lost 9 yards on a failed option run and gained
nothing on a screen pass, the kicking unit was summoned to the
The Frogs needed a field goal from Browne, who had not missed
this season, to tie the game. But Browne kicked the ball too low and
Willis blocked it, sending the Northwestern State sideline into a
frenzy and upsetting TCU in front of 30,409 on Family Weekend.
"I’m feeling sheer exhilaration," Northwestern State coach Steve
Roberts said. "I’m surprised I didn’t have a heart attack because I
haven’t run that much in quite a while."