Ahead of TCU’s rematch with Oklahoma in Saturday’s Big 12 title game, TCU coach Gary Patterson wants to make it clear that his team was not trying to incite anything with the way it entered the field before playing Oklahoma in Norman earlier in November.
TCU came on to the field near where Oklahoma was warming up before the game. As TCU came on the field, Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield fired a pass that hit TCU safety Niko Small in the head. Watch the pass below.
— Carter LaValley (@carter_lavalley) November 15, 2017
Patterson said Tuesday at his press conference that his team had to go that way to get on the field because of logistical reasons.
“The bottom line is they had a great recruiting weekend that weekend we had it and we couldn’t get on the field,” Patterson said. “Either side. We asked the guy that was in charge and he said I don’t know which way to send you. Even as the head coach, I had to go through their warmup lines to get down to our end of the field. And I wouldn’t have said anything if Coach Riley wouldn’t have said that he made the remark that those things happen, that guy got hit with a ball because we were running through the stretch lines. No, TCU in 20 years has never run through anybody’s stretch lines. We don’t act that way.”
Riley has previously dismissed the significance of Mayfield’s throw, noting that things can happen when an opposing team runs into the other team’s area of the field in warmups.
After defending what his team had to do, Patterson then noted that Small hasn’t played in TCU’s last two games. Small has been listed with a head injury.
“I didn’t really appreciate that they were trying to say we were in the wrong because it was OK to let a quarterback throw a ball and hit a guy in the head who hasn’t played for two weeks,” Patterson said.
Mayfield was stripped of his captaincy and missed the first series of Oklahoma’s game against West Virginia in Week 13 after he grabbed his crotch and shouted expletives towards the Kansas sideline in the Sooners’ Week 12 win over the Jayhawks. The prohibitive Heisman favorite played well against the Mountaineers after he entered the game and got to sit out much of the second half because Oklahoma’s lead was so large.
Oklahoma beat TCU 38-20 in the regular season and a win over the Horned Frogs would likely net the Sooners a spot in the College Football Playoff. A TCU win may not automatically vault the Horned Frogs into the top four, but if championship Saturday gets crazy, who the heck knows what could happen with the rankings.
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