Casey Pachall

Former Horned Frog QB Casey Pachall rips TCU program

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TCU hasn’t been the same since it moved up from the Mountain West to the Big 12.

Just-graduated Horned Frog quarterback Casey Pachall thinks he knows why.

“There is zero leadership,” Pachall told the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram last week. “Nobody wants to step up and take charge of anything. It’s rough. That is why they have the stuff they did. I still love those guys. Maybe they made mistakes, everybody does. I’m not putting those people down at all. They are still my good friends. Things are going to happen and as a team they need somebody to step up.”

The Horned Frogs went 47-5 in their four seasons before joining the Big 12, including a 13-0 season in 2010. Since then, they’ve gone 11-14.

Certainly, making the jump to a more competitive conference is a big part of it. But the intermittent turmoil in the program — some of it involving Pachall — hasn’t made things any easier for Gary Patterson’s team.

To be clear, Pachall is putting most of the blame on the players, not the coaching staff.

“It’s one of those things where every now and then you may say something to a teammate, and it may make them mad, but when they sit down and think about it they know it was sincere and it wasn’t getting on your ass,” Pachall said. “A lot of these guys don’t want to speak up, they just want to blend in with the crowd. They want to be cool with their teammates, instead of getting on them and getting something going.”

It could be that what used to fly in the Mountain West doesn’t fly in the Big 12. But TCU is a former Southwest Conference program and has the heritage and mentality to eventually adjust to the move.

However, if Pachall is right, Patterson might have to do a bit of house cleaning before he sees some adequate results.

Baylor uses defense to hold on to beat TCU

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No. 9 Baylor usually wins its games by completely overwhelming its opponents with an explosive offense that piles up yardage on the ground and in the air.

Against TCU on Saturday, however, the Bears relied on two huge defensive plays to upend the Horned Frogs, 41-38, in Fort Worth.

With the victory, Baylor improved to 10-1 overall and 7-1 in the Big 12. TCU dropped to 4-8 and 2-7.

Baylor was once again sluggish on offense, gaining just 370 total yards. Of course there was a reason for that — the Bears had two fewer possessions than they normally would have.

That was the result of two passes by TCU quarterback Casey Pachall that ultimately decided the game.

The first came with the Bears up 20-17 with just 31 seconds left in the second quarter. Orion Stewart intercepted a Pachall pass and returned it 82 yards for a score to make it 27-17 going into the half.

TCU got the ball back in the third quarter and Pachall’s third pass of the half was taken 54 yards to the house by linebacker Eddie Lackey.

Suddenly, a close game was blown open a bit and Baylor led, 34-17. The Bears needed both touchdowns, too, as they only scored one more touchdown — a 33-yard touchdown pass from Bryce Petty to Levi Norwood in the third stanza.

Pachall did his best to rally the Horned Frogs, first rushing for a four-yard touchdown before finding Jeff Doctson for a 16-yard score. His 22-yard touchdown pass to David Porter on the first play of the fourth quarter cut the lead to 41-38.

But Pachall’s last pass was intercepted by Terrell Burt at the Baylor goal line with 11 seconds to play. Petty took the kneel and Baylor escaped with the win.

It was another tough loss for the Horned Frogs, who have now dropped five of their last six.

This is clearly not the same Baylor team we’ve seen for most of the year, either. Whether it’s a combination of injuries or confidence, the offense just isn’t clicking like it was just a few weeks ago. On the other hand, Baylor has plenty to play for, namely its first-ever Big 12 title. All the Bears have to do is beat Texas and hope Oklahoma beats Oklahoma State. Piece of cake, right?

The Fifth Quarter: Week 10 Rewind

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As is the case each and every season, each and every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.

THUMBS UP

Vegas, baby
Many people, including a sizable bloc of Miami Nation, cried foul when oddsmakers installed third-ranked and unbeaten Florida State as a whopping 21(ish)-point favorite over the Hurricanes early last week.  It was easily the highest spread for a game involving two Top-10 teams this late in the season since such records started being kept in 1980.  At the end of the night Saturday, it looked very much like, as usual, those boys out in Las Vegas actually know what they’re doing.  The Seminoles easily covered the spread — it fluctuated anywhere from 20-23 depending on the bookmaker and the day of the week — in the 41-14 win over their in-state rivals.  The runaway win not only kept FSU in the thick of the BCS title chase but also continued an impressive run of dominance.  In their eight games this season, the ‘Noles have won by at least 27 in seven of them, the lone exception being a 38-24 road win over Boston College in late September.  The last four games, all coming against conference opponents, has put an exclamation point on that dominance: in those four games, with three coming against ranked teams who were undefeated at the time, the Seminoles have won by a combined score of 204-45.  I don’t know if FSU is the best team in the country right now; I do know, though, that no team in the country, including the two teams ahead of them in the polls, want to face them the way they’re playing right now.

Smothering Spartans
Or suffocating or stifling or whatever word you want to use to continue the alliteration, that’s them.  Coming into today’s game against in-state rival Michigan, Michigan State led the nation in rushing and total defense, and was third in scoring defense.  In its throttling of “Big Blue Brother,” the Spartans did little to hurt that standing.  Hell, if anything, they improved it.  Unbelievably, MSU held UM to a school record-low of minus-48 yards rushing in the 29-6 win, with minus-41 of that coming in the first half.  The Wolverines were able to muster just 168 yards of total offense for the game, averaging a paltry 2.8 yards per play on the day.  Not only did the win come against a hated rival, but it kept the Spartans firmly in the driver’s seat of the Big Ten’s Legends division.  MSU is a perfect 5-0 in conference play, holding a game-and-a-half lead on 3-1 Nebraska — those two face each other in two weeks following a bye — and a two-game lead on 3-2 Minnesota — those two meet in the finale — entering the last month of the 2013 regular season.

The Malzahn Effect
Last season, in the final, woeful year under Gene Chizik, Auburn managed just 24 offensive touchdowns — 16 rushing, eight passing — in 12 games.  Enter offensive guru Gus Malzahn, and the difference on that side of the ball is beyond striking and utterly startling.  Through nine games, and with essentially the same cast of characters, the Tigers have 28 touchdowns… rushing.  Add in 13 touchdown passes, and Auburn has now scored 17 more touchdowns than its 2012 counterparts, and they’ve done it in three fewer games.  The best part of it all for The Plains boys is that the Tigers are now at 8-1 overall and 4-1 in SEC play on the season, keeping alive the hope of an improbable Iron Bowl for the ages later this month.

(more…)

Casey Pachall to be available for TCU vs. Texas

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A couple of days ago, Gary Patterson labeled Casey Pachall as “doubtful” for the upcoming game against Texas, although he left the door slightly ajar for a return.

Now? Apparently, said door has been cracked open a bit more.

A week ahead of his projected return, Pachall will be available for TCU when it takes the field against Texas Saturday, the head coach said.  Whether or not Pachall gets the start over Trevone Boykin remains to be seen, although it appears unlikely at this point.

Pachall has been sidelined since breaking his left (non-throwing) arm in three different places in a Sept. 7 win over Southeastern Louisiana.  He was cleared to resume practicing last week and had been working as the scout team quarterback.

After what has become a weekly visit to the doctor, Pachall was medically cleared to play against the Longhorns.

Pachall doubtful but not ruled out

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While the door’s not completely closed on a return for Casey Pachall this weekend, it’s only slightly ajar.

Officially, Gary Patterson said Tuesday, the quarterback is doubtful for Saturday’s game against Texas.  Patterson wouldn’t go s far, however, to completely rule the senior out.

Pachall has been sidelined since breaking his left (non-throwing) arm in three different places in a Sept. 7 win over Southeastern Louisiana.  He was cleared to resume practicing last week and had been working as the scout team quarterback.

As was the case in the run-up to the Oklahoma State game last week, a visit to the doctor later on in the week will determine Pachall’s availability this weekend.

The Horned Frogs have gone 2-3 since Pachall’s injury, including a 1-3 mark in Big 12 play.  Their only win in conference play came in Week 6 against two-win Kansas.