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Sunday, September 23, 2001        See Friday Issue
Division I-AA Northwestern State upsets TCU on Family Weekend
Frogs' defense gives up 447 yards offense in loss
by Brandon Ortiz
Sports Editor

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 winning-streak.

 Head coach Gary Patterson said his team did not play with enough intensity.

"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 touchdowns.

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 said.

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 overtime.

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 touchdown.

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 the game.

"They were (trying to defend) the option, so they were rushing real hard," Dunbar said. "We called the right play at the right time."

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 overtime.

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 ground."

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 field.

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."

Brandon Ortiz
b.p.ortiz@student.tcu.edu

 

Frogs lose first home game of season
TCU breaks 11-game winning streak at home

by Kelly Morris
skiff staff

FORT WORTH__ Saturday was not just any ordinary day for TCU students, family and football fans. For the first time since November 18, 2000, the TCU football team played a home game at Amon G. Carter Stadium. 30, 409 fans filled the stands for the occasion, and grills were dusted off as tailgate parties once again resumed in the crowded parking lots surrounding the stadium.

But instead of seeing the Frogs tie the school record for wins with 12, the fans saw the Frogs snap an 11-game winning streak at home which dated back to August 31, 1999 as they lost, 27-24, in overtime Sept. 22 against Northwestern State (La.). The Frogs had a perfect 6-0 record at home last season. With the loss, TCU now holds a 37-14-5 record in its home openers.

Junior cornerback Jason Goss said the first home loss of the season is hard to swallow.

“It hurts; it hurts real bad,” Goss said. “It was our first home game, and we would have loved to win it even it wasn’t a home game. We’re at home, and we don’t like to lose here, but (the Demons) came ready to play.”

Despite the game’s outcome, the Frogs kept the fans on the edge of their seats for most of the game. After the Frogs had a 10-7 lead at halftime, the Demons came back to tie the game with a 29-yard field goal with 3:41 remaining in the third quarter. TCU then scored one of two fourth quarter touchdowns to take the lead once again at 17-10.

The Demons answered with 14 points of their own in the fourth quarter, which sent the Frogs to overtime for the first time since 1998. Demons kicker Clint Sanford capitalized on a 19-yard field goal in overtime giving the Demons their third straight victory of the season.

Even though it came down to the wire, junior wide receiver Adrian Madise, who scored his first touchdown Saturday as a Frog and had a career-best 99 yards receiving, said it was disappointing to lose in front of the home crowd.

“The fact that it was a home game really had us psyched,” Madise said. “It was something we went into the game talking about. This was a home game. We really needed to get pumped for it, but once again they made plays when we didn’t.”

NOTES:

After scoring just one touchdown in the Frogs’ previous three games, junior wide receiver LaTarence Dunbar scored two touchdowns in Saturday’s game for only the second time in his career. His other two-touchdown performance was against Arkansas State Sept. 20 of last year. Both touchdowns Saturday came in the fourth quarter.

Dunbar said it was just a matter of time before he had a breakout performance.

“I was past due I guess, but unfortunately we didn’t win,” Dunbar said. “Anytime you lose, it’s hard. We had a lot on the line. I’m not saying these goals are demolished, but any day a team can beat you. We’ll just have to regroup and hope to do the right things on offense.”

Dunbar also had 112 receiving yards in the game, which was a career-high. Before Saturday’s game, Dunbar had only gained 36 receiving yards.

Even with Dunbar’s fourth quarter heroics, head coach Gary Patterson said the Demons knew how to overcome it.

“Dunbar had a great night and showed what kind of player he is,” Patterson said. “The bottom line is though, that (Northwestern State) was able to come back and answer all his plays.”

The Frogs, who were averaging 224.7 total offensive yards a game coming into Saturday’s game, grabbed a total of 340 offensive yards against the Demons. It was the first time TCU surpassed the 300-yard mark this season.

Junior quarterback Casey Printers passed for a season-high 263 yards. Printers also had a season-best 32 pass attempts and 18 completions for three touchdowns.

But Printers said the numbers make no difference when you lose.

“You can throw 600-700 yards in a football game, but if you lose, it’s going to take all the fun out of it. It’s back to the drawing board for us. We have to regroup and get ready for (Conference USA) play.”

The Frogs will play their first C-USA opponent 7 p.m. Sept. 29 at Houston.

Kelly Morris
k.l.morris@student.tcu.edu

The TCU Daily Skiff 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001