FORT WORTH, Texas — Gary Patterson is no stranger to success after struggling in previous seasons.
Just let another 10-win season for the Horned Frogs after a disappointing 6-7 campaign last year do the talking.
For the third time since joining the Big 12 Conference in 2012, the Horned Frogs notched double-digit wins after defeating Baylor 45-22 on Friday afternoon.
The win also keeps up a streak of 10-win seasons after Patterson’s three previous non-winning seasons in Fort Worth.
And given the circumstances, 2017 might be the most impressive 10-win coaching-performance during Patterson’s 17-season career with the Horned Frogs.
“It’s hard to win double digits, especially in the season we just had with all the places we had to play,” Patterson said. “Really proud of guys stepping up and doing what they needed to do.”
TCU was without several key players in Friday’s victory. Running back Darius Anderson, linebacker Travin Howard and safety Niko Small were among those who didn’t play because of injuries.
The attrition continued during the game when wide receiver/kick returner KaVontae Turpin and wide receiver John Diarse were knocked out of the game with injuries. Both were seen hobbling along the sidelines in walking boots late in the Horned Frogs’ triumph.
But those losses didn’t stop the No. 12 Horned Frogs from overcoming a 9-0 deficit in the opening minutes — punching their ticket to a rematch with Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship Game on Dec. 2 in Arlington, Texas.
“To win 10 games in any conference is a big deal,” TCU linebacker Ty Summers said. “We’re proud. All the work we put in in the offseason, spring, fall camp — it’s all finally coming to fruition.”
Summers recorded a critical interception on the opening drive of the second half in the win. The Horned Frogs have only allowed 3 second-half points since Oct. 21.
“It shows that we’re able to make adjustments at the half and come out and get stops,” Summers said. “We’ve just got to do that sooner and if we a find a way to do that, our defense will be even more ridiculous.”
For quarterback Kenny Hill, Friday marked the first time the former Texas A&M transfer helped produce a 10-win season as a college starter.
“Coach P. told us all congrats. It’s big-time,” Hill said. “That’s what we wanted to do this year — win every single one of them. But to win 10, that’s tough to do.”
Hill, playing for the first time since Nov. 11, finished 26 of 36 with 325 passing yards, 3 passing touchdowns and 1 rushing touchdown. He wasn’t the only offensive player who described how special their 10-win season is.
“For us to do that, it just shows the hard work we put over the offseason to get to this point,” TCU receiver Desmon White said. “We have one more game left to accomplish our goal of a conference championship.”
TCU can reach 11 wins before its bowl trip for the first time since 2014 by beating Oklahoma next week. The Horned Frogs finished that season 12-1, capping it with a resounding 42-3 thrashing over Ole Miss in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl in Atlanta, Ga.