FORT WORTH — Make no mistake, TCU dominated Utah Saturday night and showed why it deserves to be ranked as the No. 4 team in the country.
Still, the Utes have to blame themselves for a load of mistakes early in the game that turned this one into a rout early.
You name it, the Utes were guilty of it.
They fumbled, they threw an interception for a touchdown, gave up a long punt return, and had a punt blocked.
Then there were the penalties. The Utes shot themselves in the foot numerous times with penalties, several of the stupid variety.
Utah amassed 10 penalties for 85 yards before TCU was even whistled for one, a false start in the final minute of the first half. For the game, the Utes had 14 penalties for 110 yards, compared to five for 45 for TCU.
"We had some errors, you name it — an interception for a touchdown, a punt blocked — a lot of things you can't do against a quality opponent," said coach Kyle Whittingham.
Jordan Wynn, in just his second start, gave up a quick six on a pick early in the second quarter when the Horned Frogs put 21 points on the board in a two-and-a-half minute span.
"With a great football team, you can't do that, and that's what killed us," Wynn said.
Senior captain Sylvester Stevenson said he never saw this result coming and gave credit to TCU for the Ute mistakes.
"They capitalized on our mistakes and good football teams do that," Stevnson said. "When they capitalized and got 21 points in a real short period of time, that was huge."
In fact you could say the game was decided in that dizzying two-minute-and-31-second stretch when TCU put 21 points on the board to break the game wide open.
Every flag went against the Utes in the first half and they found nearly penalty in the book it seemed.
There were a couple of illegal substitution penalties on the defense, a facemask, an illegal helmet contact on a tackle, a personal foul and a pair of holding penalties by the defense.
Then there was the kickoff that bounced over the head of Shaky Smithson, who otherwise had a pretty good game with a pair of touchdown runs. Smithson ran back to pick up the ball on the two-yard line, but it put the Utes in a hole. Two plays later, Wynn was picked off by Tank Carder in the flat for a 15-yard interception return.
"It was late and a bad read," Wynn said of the interception. "There were all sorts of things, but I'll learn. I'll definitely learn from that."