Sunday, Oct. 31, 2010 | 2:14 a.m.
- Box Score: TCU 48, UNLV 6
- UNLV pushed aside during No. 4 TCU’s BCS war path, 48-6
- Notebook: Hauck still anti-playoff, but quite impressed with TCU
- Instant analysis: One bright spot in tough loss to TCU
- Live Blog: No. 4 TCU’s BCS march continues as Horned Frogs throttle Rebels, 48-6
- All Sun UNLV Football Coverage
TCU coach Gary Patterson told his team in the locker room to get cleaned up, board the bus and start thinking about Utah. He even made his players unavailable to the media.
“We didn’t talk much about this game,” Patterson said.
Why would they? No. 4 TCU (9-0, 5-0) won its fifth straight Mountain West Conference game by at least four touchdowns.
It was another Horned Frogs beat down in a season that has been full of them. But the yawners stop next Saturday afternoon in Salt Lake City. The Utes are no defenseless prey for the Horned Frogs to devour.
“There’s no hiding in this ballgame coming up,” Patterson said. “It’s two good football teams playing for a championship.”
And possibly more. While the winner will take the Mountain West championship barring a total collapse, it will also have an inside track to reaching a BCS bowl game and maybe the national championship.
It’s the biggest regular season game in the history of TCU’s football program. Therefore, it would have been understandable if the Horned Frogs weren’t focused on the Rebels Saturday night. That wasn’t the case, as TCU never allowed UNLV to have a real chance.
“I don’t think we played that well, but we did what we needed to do on both sides of the ball,” Patterson said. “We understand what we’ve got ahead of us.”
Patterson’s main gripes revolved around turnovers. The Horned Frogs lost two fumbles.
Running back Matthew Tucker lost the ball at the one-yard-line in the second quarter and UNLV recovered it for a touchback. It was the kind of play that didn’t matter against the Rebels, but could serve as a game-changer against the Utes.
Patterson was also disappointed that TCU gave up its second touchdown of the conference season on a 10-yard pass to Michael Johnson.
“We let them go down the field running on us and let a few play action passes,” Patterson said of the scoring drive. “I wasn’t happy during the game.”
TCU has not lost a regular season game since the last time it traveled to Utah in 2008. The Utes won that contest 13-10 under eerily similar conditions as this year’s game.
Both teams were undefeated in the conference and basically playing for the championship. TCU was playing its second straight road game after beating UNLV by 30 points at Sam Boyd Stadium the week before.
Patterson said everything felt a bit off that week after TCU left Las Vegas immediately after the UNLV game late at night. So, he decided to switch the itinerary around this time around. TCU will not leave town until Sunday morning.
“We’re doing it to give ourselves the best opportunity to be successful,” Patterson said. “I’m always looking for every angle I can possibly get.”
Although some coaches shy away from the hype surrounding big games, Patterson embraces the excitement around next Saturday’s showdown with Utah.
“Why would you want it any different,” Patterson asked. “This is how you win championships.”