Season report card: TCU

TCU began the year as the player's pick to win the Big 12. The Horned Frogs ended the season as the conference’s most disappointing team.

Gary Patterson’s squad fielded a quality defense again but the offense made life much harder than it should have been with mental mistakes and turnovers handcuffing the Horned Frogs’ dreams of winning the Big 12. The injury bug didn’t help, hitting 2012 Defensive Freshman of the Year Devonte Fields and starting quarterback Casey Pachall. All in all, not much went right for TCU in 2013.

Offense: F

TCU’s national offensive rankings read like basketball scores: No. 104 in total yards (344.8), No. 103 in yards per play (5.03), No. 112 in third down conversion rate (32 percent) and No. 87 in points scored (25.1).

Ugly numbers, indeed.

But the main reason the Horned Frogs get an "F" is because they had way too much offensive talent campus to finish lower than 50th nationally in every major offensive category. With Pachall, B.J. Catalon, Trevone Boykin and others, the offense had playmakers. It just didn’t make plays and, worse yet, its 30 turnovers ranked No. 114 in the country.

Boykin, who started the majority of the season at quarterback, was the bright spot as the most explosive playmaker on the offense and arguably the best receiver on the roster when Pachall returned to the lineup.

Defense: B

The defense was the reason TCU played several close games as Texas was the lone team to blowout the Horned Frogs. The unit finished among the top three in the Big 12 in several categories including total yards (356.4), yards per play (4.83), rushing yards (130.83) and yards per carry (3.31).

Big 12 co-defensive player of the year Jason Verrett led one of the Big 12’s best secondaries and blanketed receivers from his cornerback spot, safety Sam Carter finished among the Big 12 leaders in interceptions (5) and Paul Dawson was among the conference’s most productive tacklers with 91.

Its struggles on third down and in slowing down the pass are the lone reasons the defense didn’t earn a higher grade.

Special teams: C-

Outside of its kick return units, TCU’s special teams units were pretty average. Catalon returned 32.1 percent of his kickoff return attempts for more than 30 yards and finished with a 26.54 average to provide a game-changing threat on kickoffs.

The Horned Frogs finished in the bottom half of the Big 12 in punting, net punting, kick return average allowed and opponent starting position so their special teams didn't do things to change games and turn the momentum in their favor.

Overall: D

The defense was the lone cause for hope for the Horned Frogs for the majority of the season. They easily could have finished 8-4 or better but turnovers, the inability to make key plays when they needed them and injuries doomed the Horned Frogs to a bowl-less season. They finished the season without a signature win, yet they aren't that far away from being in the thick of the Big 12 title race.