Monday, September 8, 2008

Update: Game Day HJ

Yes, it's for real.

Where We Stack Up Nationally

Yes, its only been two games, and the last one was against a cup cake, but here are some statistics highlighting where we stand nationally.

#3 Total Defense
#2 Rushing Defense
#4 Passing Defense
#4 Scoring Defense
#2 Turnover Margin (tied with three others)

#17 Scoring Offense
#17 Rushing Offense

#11 Punt Returns Individual (Kerley)

Week 2: Tiiiiimmmmbeeerrrrr!!! SFA Hedge Trimmers

That's supposed to be a man getting crushed by a tree.
Sorry, that's the best I could find and the best you're going to get
Well, pretty good Monday here for me and I'm sure many others as the Frogs and Cowboys both looked absolutely dominant in their opening day performances, but this here is a TCU blog, so deceased Dave Matthews Band members and pro football need not apply. First off, Saturday was a great time and I'm sure all of you that were there would agree with me. The tailgate realignment for this season looked to have confined all of the drunkest and rowdiest TCU fans among us into about a 30 x 30 yard area and I'd go out on a limb and say this was one of the most fun pre-game tailgate scenes I've seen in a long time. That is, at least once people actually showed up, which was only about an hour before the kick. Go fans. Although I'll give credit where credit is due and say that for a home opener against a I-AA team, our crowd was in the stadium and pretty rowdy. I think it was reported that we had in the neighborhood of 26,000 people in the stands, which is really pretty good for any of our games, but needs to jump by about 10,000 per game. By contrast, SMUs home opener welcoming in their 10 million dollar man garnered a mere 20,000 in attendance, which, if history holds true, was a highly inflated number. Perhaps lyle lanley's tirade got through to the masses? I guess we'll find out this week. Anyway, I'd go into more detail about the tailgate scene, but seeing as how most of you were there, and the ones that weren't don't care, I'll spare you except by saying it was a great time and, aside from the narcos getting on my case post game, was highly successful and I look forward to the rest of the season.

Get in to the game as our kick A (intense sarcasm) stadium sound system starts pumping 'Enter Sandman' right as the team runs in, along with a few fireworks to mark the occasion. Note to TCU: fireworks during the day serve no purpose, please go back to the military flyovers of last year! I ante'd up for season tickets this year A) to support the program, of course and B) they make you in order to have a tailgate spot now. TCU wanting to take more of your money? Who knew! I will say though, it's nice to go to a top college football program, which we clearly are since the Patterson era, and be able to buy 10th row, 45 yard line seats in your 2nd year as an alum. Absolutely fantastic and I appreciate lyle lanley leading the way in getting this seat location for a few of us.

From the start of the game, it was pretty apparent that my 45-0 projection was probably going to be a little low, and, as it turned out, we'd almost eclipsed that number by halftime (42-7). Unfortunately I can't really elaborate on what went on in the second half as I didn't make it back in until the end of the game, just in time to get some fist bumps from Henson, Hodge and Co., but I think I can accurately summarize. Now, I'm not going to sit here and say SFA didn't deserve to be on the field with us... but they didn't deserve to be on the field with us. Those guys were TERRIBLE. Absolutely dreadful. Apparently pre game their coach was talking about how they were going to go from 0-11 last year to 11-0 this year, and this must have hit home with both teams as SFA came in with confidence (read: talking shit) and our guys played with an intensity that I hadn't seen out of them in a long time. But, then again, SFA was really bad. Really, really, really bad. Like, horrible. Ok, I digress so on with the game.

Offense - A+ Playing without the still suspended Aaron Brown (word is he'll be back for the OU game), our run game, highlighted by Ryan Christian and Joseph Turner really carried the load. Turner rushed for 44 yards and 3 scores, including one one minute into the second half that (warning: middle school humor) lengthened our score to a girthy 28-0. Christian rushed for 68 yards and one TD (6.1 avg!!!!! our white RB!!! the great white hope!!!), heck, even Jai Cavness got in on the action, rushing for 59 yards. Looks like Schultz heeded our advice and lowered Dalton's attempts as he only had 3, but still ran in one TD, as did Jackson. Final rushing tally: 330 yards by 10 different players, 7 TDs. KERLEY had a rushing TD AND a 2 pt conversion! Naturally when your run game is clicking as ours was, you don't have to focus much on the pass game, but we were still successful in this regard with Dalton going 11-13 with 131 yards and Jackson going 6-11 for 74 yards and one TD (Jones). It should be noted that Dalton hardly even attempted a pass from early on in the 2nd quarter through the end of the game and didn't even come back in except for one series in the 3rd quarter which is where he scored his rushing TD. Jimmy Young led all receivers with 104 yards on 7 catches, and looked FANTASTIC while doing so. I said it last week that this guy was going to be the one this year and he did not disappoint, looking very athletic in making his catches and bailing us out of some serious third and long situations early on. Seriously, teams are going to have to start game planning for the Dalton/Young combination, especially when Brown gets back and teams have to respect our run game even more. Following down the list of receivers were Shae Raegan (3-40. Good to have you back... please make your legs not fail this year), Bart Johnson (2-16) and then a host of guys with 1 a piece, including the Jones TD, a short dart to Kerley, and everyone's favorite Antoine Hicks getting his first pass on the year. He was the last guy to walk past the student section after the game and I'll say he got a marvelous reception from all of us who were there and hopefully he realizes he made the right decision (albeit via UT force out) to attend TCU. Final tally: 29 first downs, 525 yards, no turnovers, 61 points (Coleman had 6). I'd say that's an A+ performance.

Defense - A. Do they deserve an A+ for a second straight week? Probably... but this team had no business putting together even one drive on us, so I'm going to be harsh and downgrade them to an A. Nick Sanders looked absolutely outstanding with 5 solo tackles and 3 pass break ups, as did Steven Coleman with his second INT on the year, this one for a TD right before halftime which pushed the score to 42-7, and a tackle. Henson had another strong performance with 5 tackles including one for a loss, along with Jerry Hughes and Daryl Washington with 4 a piece including one for a loss for both. Rafael Priest and TeJay Johnson also chipped in with an interception a piece and TeJay recorded 4 tackles to Priest's one. Obviously the absence of Phillips is unsettling, but if there was a game where he needed to rest up and heal, this was the one. Apparently he will not practice until mid-week this week and, even though our D looked great this week, you aren't going to find one person who thinks that our team isn't better with him on the field. Final defensive numbers: 143 yards (3 rushing!!! we've given up less than 60 yards rushing on the year). 3 picks, 1 recovered fumble, 1 TD, 10 first downs. Love getting that kind of effort. So much for that Texas Tech type offense, eh SFA? Stick to your kind and we'll stick to ours.
Special Teams - A (default). Defaulted because there really wasn't a lot to take in. Evans was 8-8 on extra point attempts (did not see the Kerley 2 pt conversion... botched snap?) and 1-1 on FGs on a 45 yarder. Looks like that guy learned a lot about himself since last week. Anson Kelton only had to punt once, which went for a measly 38 yards, and Jackson had a pooch punt in the 2nd quarter which went for 20 yards and was obviously a field position move. Combs had 11 kickoffs for an average of 58.8 yards with one OB and one TB (gotta work on those numbers). Really thought this would be the week Kerley broke one for a TD, and he had one for 28 yards, but finished with 4 punt returns and 78 yards. When your defense is as good as ours and only allows one score, just like last week, there are only 2 opportunities for kickoff returns. Logan Brock and Ryan Christian handled these well, with Christian even taking one for 41 yards.

Overall. Final score 67-7. Most points we've scored since the 30s. Second most points we've scored ever. General concensus is that this is the easiest TCU victory any of us have ever witnessed. Even better than we expected, judging by our pre game predictions. Both sides of the ball looked great, as you'd expect against a I-AA team, and we even set the school record for total TDs recorded with 9. No injuries. We were able to play a bunch of our reserves and see how they will contribute to our team in the upcoming years (70 total players saw time, including 13 who had never played a down of college ball). Atmosphere was great considering the opponent, tailgate scene was as good as I've seen since Tech. Best offense we've had since Ballard's prime. Absolutely FIRED up about the game this weekend. Come early, stay late. Avoid the cops [as soon as I got in my car I was asked how much I'd had to drink... fortunately car was dead so I was able to inform the officer of the situation and tell him I wasn't going anywhere. 6 (yes, really) bicycle cops stood by our area until I left just looking for someone to screw up. Seriously, be careful]. Other than that, Go Frogs. Currently 34th in the AP and 32 in the coaches. Awesome show, great job.
Other games of interest:

Stanford 17 Arizona State - 41. Next week's opponent absolutely got their clock cleaned by an obviously stronger ASU team after a (then) impressive win over Oregon State in their opener (who got massacred by Penn State, despite PSU missing 3 starters and OSU playing the 'spoiler role').
BYU 28 Washington 27. It took an excessive celebration penalty (on a DICK penalty) and a blocked extra point attempt at the end of the game for BYU to pull through in this one against a VERY mediocre Huskies team. Perhaps not as invincible as once though?
Utah 42 UNLV 21. After two impressive wins in the first two weeks, Utah looks like the real threat to our reacquiring the MWC championship.
SDSU 13 Notre Dump 21. Ugh I hate Notre Dame... SDSU fought the good fight, but the Weis' squeaked through in their opener to beat a team who lost to Cal Poly of D-II fame last week. I'm feeling another long season for the Irish. Also, did anyone catch Clausen's hair? How could ANYONE root for that guy??? Makes me question the Catholic faith.

UNM 22 Lame & M 28. Also feeling another long season in the greater College Station area despite the win.

UT 41 UTEP 13. Only mentioning this game because apparently a UTEP fan was getting an HJ on national television during a camera shot of the crowd. This was definitely the only highlight of the game for said fan. I hate Texas.

Air Force 23 Wyoming 3. Pre-season MWC spoiler expectations, meet reality. Congratulations, Wyoming, on your FAIL. Could Air Force be a threat?

Looking forward to next week: After week one, I got a little bit of the fear regarding the Stanford game because I had heard Oregon State was going to be legit this year. After seeing Stanford get humiliated by Arizona State (who is pretty good I guess, but not BCS worthy or anything) and seeing how our defense is manned by a bunch of cannibals and how our offense can roll when needed, I think we'll do just fine.

TCU 30 Trees 13.

Morning Dump

TCU reserves gained experience against SFA Star-Telegram

TCU makes sure not to let itself get trapped Star-Telegram

TCU's domination tells us little about SFA Nacogdoches Daily Sentinel

Mountain West needs to improve against BCS teams Desert News

Pick 'Em Pool Standings

There are no real highlights to touch on here. The games were probably the easiest they will be all season to pick on. There were a bunch of terrible match ups and only one real upset. Congratulations to Sir Wesley for the top spot for the week.