AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Charlie Strong went to the corner of the stadium to sing "The Eyes of Texas" with his team for what was most likely the final time.
Texas running back D'Onta Foreman knelt in the end zone, tears streaming down his face. His brother, Armanti, sprinted off the field rather than rather than get caught in a public show of emotion.
All of it signaled the likely end of Strong's coaching tenure at Texas, a three-year rut of losing capped by a dismal 31-9 loss to TCU on Friday night.
The Longhorns took the field amid swirling reports Strong would be fired at the end of the week. Strong and school administrators had said he'd been promised an evaluation after the final game, but a 16-21 overall record for the only Texas coach in program history with three consecutive losings seasons may be all anyone needs to know. Texas will miss a bowl game for the second straight season.
Strong said he'll likely meet with Texas President Greg Fenves and athletic director Mike Perrin on Saturday and he'll plead his case for more time. He has two years left on a guaranteed contract that pays him more than $5 million per year.
"I said the third year we'll make progress, the fourth year will be our year," Strong said. "I was told when I came in three years ago to build a program. The wins and losses don't add up, but it's more than that ... (It's) taking the program in the right direction."
Fenves' office did not immediately respond to requests for comment Friday night.
Texas' somber finish was a long fall from the season-opening win over Notre Dame when Strong's players tossed him in the air in celebration.
"We've been blessed to have him," freshman quarterback Shane Buechele said. "No one wants him to leave. Everybody wants him to stay."
But Strong's program has moved backward in the Big 12, and Friday's loss was the third in a row to TCU. Horned Frogs quarterback Kenny Hill did the damage this time, running for two touchdowns before TCU put the game away with two fourth-quarter touchdowns.
Hill scored with a 4-yard run that capped the Horned Frogs' first drive. He scored again in the third quarter on a 41-yard scamper that saw him break away from a pass rush and dart along the right sideline to the end zone for a 17-9 lead.
Even after Hill left the game with an injury, TCU (6-5, 4-4 Big 12) blew it open in the fourth quarter when Trevorris Johnson capped a 97-yard touchdown drive with a 5-yard TD and Darius Anderson ran 70-yards for a score.
TCU coach Gary Patterson said he ignored the emotions that were bubbling on the Texas sideline.
"I didn't worry about Texas. I had enough problems ... We're just glad to win," Patterson said. "We got bowl eligible and not anything really good has happened for these guys this year."
D'Onta Foreman rushed for 165 yards for Texas (5-7, 3-6) and passed 2,000 yards on the season.
"I cried because it's emotional to put everything on the line. I gave my all every game, every practice. To come up short in a game like this is very emotional," Foreman said.
TCU: The Horned Frogs became bowl eligible behind a defensive effort that gave up big yards to Foreman but didn't break when it mattered. By keeping him out of the end zone and forcing early field goals, TCU never let the Longhorns grab a lead. TCU also dialed up steady pressure on Buechele with four sacks.
Texas: Longhorns players had rallied behind their coach this week , with several giving tearful pleas for him to return next season. And the defense played arguably its best game of the year. Strong had hoped a win and a bowl trip would earn him another year, then had to watch as the game turned into a blowout.
"Every year, it turned into being all about me. It never should have been all about me. The players should have been given a chance to enjoy it," Strong said.
Foreman is a junior and said he has to decide if he will turn pro after this season. His 2,028 yards this season rank second only to Ricky Williams' 2,124 at Texas in 1998, the year Williams won the Heisman Trophy. Foreman also has a school record 13 consecutive 100-yard games dating to last season.
TCU: The Horned Frogs host Kansas State to end the regular season
Texas: The Longhorns season is over.