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9/18/06

Time to Talk for TCU After Payback

FORT WORTH, Texas Sep 18, 2006 (AP)- Now TCU is talking, after taking care of payback on the field.

Just minutes after the No. 16 Horned Frogs held Texas Tech without a touchdown in a 12-3 victory Saturday night, avenging a 10-touchdown assault by the Red Raiders in a 70-35 loss two years ago, coach Gary Patterson started venting.

While TCU's 13-game winning streak is the longest in NCAA Division I-A, with a 4-0 record against Big 12 teams since the start of last season, Patterson doesn't think people are giving the Frogs (3-0) enough credit.

"All I hear about is do you think you belong," Patterson said.

"People have been underselling our kids for years. All everybody wants to talk about is the Big 12," he said. "I'm telling you right now. We're not the Big 12, but just a Texas team playing with Texas players."

When the Southwest Conference broke up after the 1995 season, the Frogs weren't included in the group that went to the Big 12. Half of the SWC's Texas teams Texas Tech (2-1), Texas, Texas A&M and Baylor went to the new power conference.

The Frogs have since been in three different leagues. They have won or shared titles in the WAC, Conference USA and the Mountain West, where TCU made its debut last season winning all eight conference games.

"People overlook TCU and kind of treat us like a Division II school until the end of the year when we come out of nowhere," said linebacker Robert Henson, whose blocked punt set up the third of TCU's four field goals against Texas Tech.

Even with an expanded opportunity this season for a spot in the Bowl Championship Series, TCU knows it can't make a mistake. The Frogs have a good start, but still must pull off another MWC sweep and win their remaining non-conference game at Army.

The only other time the Red Raiders didn't score a touchdown in Mike Leach's 79 games was in a 56-3 loss to Nebraska in 2000, the coach's first season. They scored less than 10 points only one other time, a 42-7 loss at Texas in 2001, and averaged 41 points in non-conference games.

"If that doesn't open some eyes, I don't know what will," safety Marvin White said.

TCU was up four spots in the new AP Top 25 poll Sunday. Texas Tech dropped out from No. 24.

Texas Tech had only 242 total yards with a pair of failed fourth-down conversions. There was also the blocked punt and quarterback Graham Harrell fumbled twice after being sacked.

Leach called it the "sorriest offense effort" he had ever seen and promised changes, though he wasn't specific. Tech's final non-conference game is Saturday against Southeastern Louisiana.

Harrell was 74-of-101 passing for 718 yards and seven touchdowns the first two games. But the third-year sophomore, who beat out redshirt freshman Chris Todd in a tight preseason competition to be the starter, was 23-of-47 for 204 yards with several drops at TCU.

"We're a team that wants to sit and talk about what previous teams around here used to do. How we used to be one of the best offenses in the nation, how we used to do this and that," Leach said. "They think it's their birthright. No. Every one of those teams earned it."

Since its debacle in Lubbock two years ago, TCU is 4-0 against the Big 12. There were bookend victories in 2005, at Oklahoma in the opener and against Iowa State in the Houston Bowl, before beating Baylor in this season's opener.

Only five Big 12 teams have more than four victories against their own league teams in that span.

"I have a lot of respect for Mike Leach and his staff. Don't get me wrong," Patterson said. "The bottom line is, I'd like to get a little bit here at TCU."

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