Monday, September 15, 2008

More Cowbell?

Matt Panfil Named the Mountain West Conference Co-Defensive Player of the Week

TCU defensive end Matt Panfil has been named the Mountain West Conference Co-Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts in the Horned Frogs' 31-14 victory over Stanford.

Panfil shares the award with New Mexico cornerback Glover Quin.

A senior from North Crowley High School in Fort Worth, Panfil posted four tackles for a loss with two sacks. He also had a forced fumble, fumble recovery and pass break-up. He totaled five stops in the game.

Panfil was instrumental in the Frogs' limiting Stanford to 193 yards of offense. The Cardinal did not have a successful third-down conversion until the fourth quarter.

Panfil is tied for third nationally with his team-best seven tackles for a loss on the season. He also ranks 11th in the country with his TCU-high 3.5 sacks.

It's the second time in three weeks that a TCU defensive end has received the MWC's weekly honor. Jerry Hughes was named the MWC Defensive Player of the Week after the season-opening 26-3 win at New Mexico.

Ay, Can we get up in thurr, Top 25?

Keep chasing that dragon, Horned Frogs.

Since I forgot to mention it earlier except as an aside in the comments, I just wanted to point out that the Frogs are currently sitting 28th in the AP and 27th in the Coaches Polls. On the outside looking in, but I just wanted to point out where we are and where we go from here. Also, it should be noted that this is the third time in Patterson's tenure that we've opened a season 3-0, and the other two times led to 11 wins. Just putting that out there. Now just remember, I have no concept of how points are allotted or how the rankings really work, so correct me if I'm wrong on anything.

AP - 45 points. Florida State, the 25th ranked team, currently has 121 points, while Vanderbilt (63) and Oklahoma State (62) sit at 26th and 27th, respectively. Florida State plays at #18 Wake Forest this weekend, in the game that is the most detrimental to our ranking. We would definitely gain more from a Florida State loss because we would directly leap frog (aaaahahaha) them in the rankings, especially as they have only beaten two D-II teams, although handily. If FSU is to win the game, I don't know that Wake would drop out of the Top 25, but I guess there is a chance this early in the season that they could, although Wake has beaten Baylor (who, despite what we know about them, is 2-1) and Ole Miss who is also 2-1. Right now they have 482 points, so that is a lot to overcome. Beating SMU won't bump us up too far, which is why we need someone ahead of us to lose.

Coaches - 76 points. Florida State is also ranked 25th in this poll with 110, followed by Fresno State with 93. Seeing as how this poll has Fresno NR but Arizona State at 24, and the AP has Fresno at 24th, while Arizona State falls below us, you can see how these rankings can pretty much go either way at the bottom. Again, a Florida State loss would maybe get us a spot, but a FSU and an Arizona State loss (who hosts Georgia this week) would all but guarantee us a spot. So, basically we all need to be big Wake Forest and big Arizona State fans for the week.

Games to Watch.

Arizona St. (NR/24) Vs. Georgia.

Wake Forest (18/18) Vs. Florida State (25/25).

Oregon (17/12) Vs. Boise State. Oregon is sitting at 17th, but after a close call with Purdue, a loss to the Broncos could drop them out.

East Carolina (15/17) at North Carolina State. Pollsters are looking for any reason to drop ECU from their rankings. Don't think it happens this week, but also didn't think Tulane would give them a game last week.

Utah (20/20) at Air Force. The way AF has been playing (although they did not complete a single pass this week against Houston), look out, especially at home. A strong finish is all that separated Utah from UNLV in week 2.

That sums it to the best of my knowledge. The other games are just not going to have upsets (such as Wyoming/BYU, etc) or the losing team would not fall far enough to effect us (LSU/Auburn). SO, Go Frogs, Dawgs, Deacons, Broncos, Wolfpack and Falcons this weekend!

Week 3: Stanford Liberal Nerd Trees

Trees Got Burned

Well, it wasn't always pretty, but 31-14 is still 31-14 and, as it was last week, the score probably wasn't that close. TCU is now 11-2 against BCS teams in our last 13 attempts. Another team comes out running their mouths... another team goes home with a loss. I'm starting to like this concept... let's hope BYU and Utah keep their win streaks alive and get big heads. I love it. First off, thanks to counselorfrog for hosting the pre-pregame festivities. Nothing like getting up at 83o on a Saturday to get liquored up and sit in the rain to watch some Frogs football. Considering the timing of the game as well as the weather situation, the turnout wasn't all that bad. Official attendance was said to be around 25,000 and while that's probably a little high, it's still more than another area school can turn out for home games with a rejuvenating new coach and offensive system on a clear day. I'll save that next week talk for later in the post, though. Regardless, what an awesome gameday atmosphere. I forgot how much I missed the early game days of our CUSA days. It really seems to bring everyone up to an entirely higher level as far as enthusiasm and adding hurricane weather to the mix made things even that much more exciting. Side note: Wasn't the hurricane weather supposed to favor the ground attack of Stanford? Will the real Stanford offensive line please stand up? Regardless, it was a great time and I'm very glad I made the trip and wore my bulletproof pancho with every other brave fan who toughed it out with me.

I want to start off by giving a great big round of applause to Doug Baldwin for making my shit talking duties easier. At one point, WWHD and I snuck down to the front row of the student section after we saw a handful of like minded comrades absolutely harassing everyone's favorite Frog basher. Guess they don't teach you where the sideline is at Stanford, eh pal? Despite his one big play of the day going for a TD, I'd say the fact that he only had one catch either shows his fear of going over the middle, or just shows how solid our defense is. Special teams? Well, that's another matter to be discussed later. I loved our effort in the first half with opening up that 14-0 lead and even though we let up a little and let them get back in to tie it at halftime, the fact that we came out and finished the game like we did really shows you all you need to know about this team. They're good. They're very good and they're not afraid of the big, bad Pac 10. Oh yeah, as was noted earlier, the MWC went 4-0 against the Pac 10 this weekend INCLUDING UNLV beating 15th ranked Arizona State in Arizona! What? Our bottom dweller beat their second best team? HA! I think my most irrational taunt for the Stanford section was "It sure ain't like playing USC is it?" and, while that may have been a bit of a stretch... well, it really wasn't though was it? The fact is, in previous years this might not have happened. Teams wouldn't come in and take us so lightly, but since we're coming off an "off" year and played a AA team last week, we've been overlooked. GP, as well as every member of the team and anyone who calls themselves a fan, knows that TCU plays best with a chip on their shoulders. Thanks again for the trip Stanford, have fun running that Pac 10 gauntlet that can't squeak out any wins against their non BCS opponents (Really, UCLA?).

Offense - A+. I wasn't completely sure how to rank our offense in this game, so I went ahead and gave us high marks because I'm biased. If you look at the numbers, you can definitely back this up though. 378 total offensive yards, including 233 rushing (again: Aaron Brown, our starting tailback, has been suspended all season. Just like throwing that out there). That's a great day for a lot of offenses. but for one that prides itself on its speed, has a great passer, and is playing in a steady rain? Outstanding. Really, I can't say enough about this performance. Two fumbles, but no turnovers (great on a rainy day), 24 first downs, almost doubled up Stanford in plays run (89-50), DID double them up in TOP (roughly 40-20). The Namesake tossed 36 passes while completing 20 for 145 yards and no touchdowns. It's looking more and more like our play calling is going to be highly conservative once in the red zone, but when you've outscored your opponents 123 - 24, well, can your really argue with the results? Also in Dalton stats... 17 rushes for 101 yards (net 91) and a TD??? Obviously, as mentioned before, you never want your QB running the ball like this.... but 17 rushes for 101 yards??? Shades of Jeff Ballard? This can only mean good things, except PLEASE don't run him like this against OU, Schultz. Those dudes they line up on the defensive side of the ball look like they were imbred in back country steroid labs in Oklahoma. I mean, their team name is based on cheating, so who's to say they aren't doing this?

Moving on, also getting in on the rushing game were Ryan Christian (19-86-1TD), Joseph Turner (7-33), Jeremy Kerley (4-18-1) and Justin Watts (6-12-1). You definitely improve your team with Aaron Brown coming back... but platooning for 233 yards? I mean, this is something I NEVER saw coming. Also, if Kerley had had about 6 more inches, he'd have had 2 TDs. That would've been 5 offensive TDs against a team that's supposed to be better than us solely based on conference affiliation and was supposed to have an edge based on the weather. Really makes you think, huh?

Rounding out the offense, Dalton mixed up the passing game, completing 20 passes to 6 players for the previously mentioned 145 yards. Jimmy Young, my favorite and yours, led all receivers with 5 catches for 36 yards followed by Christian (4-21), Shae Reagan (3-35), Evan Frosch (3-23), Walter Bryant (3-16), and Kerley with 2 catches for 14 yards. I'd go into more detail, but there really isn't much. This game was all about the defense and the ground game and I'll give them their moment. Regardless, the things our passing attack is going to do to SMU this week are SCARY.

Defense - A. Aside from one play of sloppy tackling, the Frogs defense put up another typical, smothering performance against a lesser opponent. 193 yards against, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 interception (biggest play of the game you could argue, and I will). Toby Gerhardt was supposed to be this big, brusing back who would thrive on pounding the ball in the rain... his final numbers? 15 rushes, 52 yards. Ouch. Total rushing numbers for the Trees was a solid 29 - 71 which, if you do the math, is 2.4 yards per rush. Whoops! Looks like someone didn't read their scouting report and realize that TCU has one of the best front 7s in all of college football. Maybe they should've located Nacogdoches on a map and asked them about it. Note: 38 of those came on the Baldwin play. So, you make that tackle and that number drops off by 20-30 yards. You might look at the number and think "wow, that's impressive against a team who thrives on their ground game" then you realize that it's 11 more yards than TCU has given up on the ground ALL YEAR. All week we'd been worrying about Jason Phillips and what he would do coming off an injury... so he decided to come out and rack up 10 tackles (8 solos) including a HUGE 4th and 1 stuff that helped seal the win. Henson, as you'd imagine, came in second with 7 tackles and a 4th down stuff which led to a FG and pushed the score to 24-14, followed by Stephen Hodge with 6, Matt Panfil with 5 (4 for losses and 2 sacks and a pass break up. All in a days work) and Jerry Hughes with 2 (2.5 for loss and 1 sack). Panfil's late fumble recovery led to Dalton's rushing TD and pushed the score to 31-14, pushing the game further out of reach and sending Stanford back to their trees and books. When you only give up 71 yards on the ground, it makes sense that your defensive team leaders are going to be up front.

So, when the ground game isn't working, obviously you try and switch it up and go to the air, right? In this regard, Stanford didn't do TOO bad (11-21, 122 yards) but they didn't produce any touchdowns and took themselves out of contention with a late INT in the end zone by Stephen Coleman. Coleman and Nick Sanders each had 4 tackles, including a pass breakup from Coleman, followed by Rafael Priest with 3 tackles, and Daryl Washington and Corderra Hunter with 2 a piece. No truly gaudy numbers from anyone, but Coleman's third INT of the season is definitely his biggest and maybe the biggest play of the game, which was set up by the only halfway decent play our lowly special teams produced all day...

Special Teams - D. Whoa, guys. I know GP hates special teams, but good lord! Something HAS to be done! It looks like Combs may have been out working on his kickoffs, average 59.8 yards per kick with a touchback although this could be attributed to the wind being at his back. Kevin Sharples (??) also had one kickoff for 50 yards. Ross Evans connected on his one field goal (23 yards), making it a two possession game. So, you might be wondering where that D factors in? Everywhere else. Anson Kelton had 7 punts for a 42 yard average (understand the wind factor, but gotta get that up), but had the one blocked for a TD which shifted the momentum to Stanford by tying the game before the half. What happened to the left side of the line? I don't think they know either. Then, who could forget the Baldwin return, which was fortunately negated by the other biggest play of the day. Longview's other favorite son, Corderra Hunter, laid out and nudged Baldwin just enough to force him out of bounds inside the 20, thus negating a near TD. Still, Stanford was given the ball at the 13 yard line only down by 7 points with plenty of time remaining in the 4th. If I were the special teams, I'd offer to be Coleman's slave for the rest of the week as he COMPLETELY saved their asses with that interception. Pretty sure there aren't any questions about who should be filling the FS position now. We won the game, but I feel pretty bad for these guys considering what GP is likely going to do to them this week in practice. The one flaw with this team.

Overall - "We wanted to make a statement and come out and show them what kind of football we play here in Fort Worth," TCU linebacker Jason Phillips said. "Because half of them didn’t know where they were anyways. I think that line from Phillips pretty much sums up the game. It's funny because these guys thought they had seen TCU football last year, but that was nothing by comparison. Fact is, we came out, smacked 'em around, and took an easy victory. It wasn't always pretty, but it was convincing nonetheless. Henson called up WWHD after the game to come by the tailgate and he shared pretty much the same sentiment. He just made it sound like this team refuses to get rattled and are just starting to realize their potential. Loved the atmosphere. Loved how the cops weren't completely overbearing this week (if you haven't heard, ask WWHD about his conversation with the Frog Club. Bottom line: TCU hates our fans.) Big win to bring over to my neighborhood this weekend and bitchslap the Ponies. Love this team and definitely love our chances to bring the MWC championship back to Cowtown.
Game Ball
A lot of ways to go with this... You could go with Dalton for controlling the game and TOP. You could go with Christian for playing his best game yet. You could go with Henson for putting together another solid performance and coming up with a huge stop. This week, I'm going to go 75-25 with it in favor of Phillips with some love to Coleman. Phillips gets the nod because he came off his injury and played out of his mind. The numbers speak for themselves and having his leadership on the field really sparks this defense. Coleman didn't put up huge numbers, but his interception completely switched the momentum to our sideline and we never relinquinshed it.

Other Games of Interest

With Colorado State having an off week, the MWC decided to go 7-1. As usual, San Diego State is really, really bad.

UNLV 23 Arizona State 20 - HA! Maybe the greatest victory on the day for our conference. UNLV, a team that hasn't ever even sniffed a MWC championship, rolled down to Tempe and got 15th ranked Arizona State to crap out (see what I did there?). These guys kept it close with Utah last week until the end of the game so they might be a team to watch out for.

BYU 59 UCLA 0 - Not a typo. The same team that beat Tennessee got absolutely BLASTED by BYU. How's that seat feelin', Neuheisel? It's a little harder to win when you haven't had time to stock your sidelines with a bunch of rapists. I give it a few years before he turns LA into the city of Brothely Love.

Air Force 31 Houston 28 - In a game that was moved to Dallas because of the Hurricane, an airplane always beats a big cat.

Wyoming 16 ND State 13 - Not Notre Dame, mind you, that's North Dakota State. Not even the University of. After getting blasted by AF last week, Wyoming lays a near egg against a D-II opponent. They say they have the "best home atmosphere" in the conference, but that's not going to last long with games like this.

New Mexico 36 Arizona 28 - It was only a matter of time before UNM pulled out a game/The Mike Stoopses stopped playing the Idaho's of the league.

Utah 58 Utah State 10 - The less holy rivalry.

San Diego State 10 San Jose State 35 - Thanks a lot, Aztecs. Montezuma's revenge, indeed.

Tetch 43 SMU 7 - Seven points against Tetch's turrible defense? Hmmm... I can't wait until we cannibalize that Freshman QB. I was asking Henson about it after the game and he had a pretty good laugh about how lopsided it's going to be. Pony Down.

Ohio State 3 USC 35 - I don't care about the outcome, but I just wanted to post it so everyone could give a collective "ouch!" Sweatervest de-nied.

Next week

The battle for the almighty Iron Skillet. Now, I really hate to get ahead of myself about any of our games, especially one against our rival who has beaten us when they had no business doing so. You might look at the schedule and say "TRAP GAME!!" with OU coming up the next week... but you also would've thought we wouldn't have gotten the jump on SFA that we did with Stanford coming in the next week. However, that'd be an insult to SFA to compare them to SMU wouldn't it? Fact is, this team is great and I'm not completely sure I've been this excited about a Frogs team since I came to TCU. While I'm not completely writing off SMU, I just don't see how this team could have too many struggles. As most TCU/SMU games are in Dallas, it'll practically be like a home game for us as far as attendance, and, seeing as how it's SMU parents weekend, what are the odds that any kids actually bring their parents into the game? The seniors on this team will remember the debacle of 2005 and would never let that happen again. If this team puts up more than 10 points against our defense, that'll be their biggest highlight of the season. SMU keeps it close early, but ultimately...

TCU 35 SMU 3

Have not hashed out any plans yet for this game, but the SB Dallas contingent will definitely work something out. Let us know who is going to come over and we'll plan accordingly. Go Frogs!

Morning Dump

TCU Horned Frogs leave Pac-10 team all wet Star-Telegram

TCU special teams had rough going against Stanford Star-Telegram

Stanford no match for TCU San Jose Mercury

Mountain West Conference teams are winning big games Desert News

AP vote head scratchers Sporting News

Mountain West Conference shows it can play with Pac 10 teams Star-Telegram

Around the MWC USA Today

This Week's Opponent

High Five: TCU-SMU Dallas Morning News