Monday, October 6, 2008
8. Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz will be asked to step aside and will replaced by TCU head coach Gary Patterson.
Is there stank to this rumor? Who knows. We're used to this kind of talk... but, I'd have to think if the KSU job also opens up, as rumored, GP would hold out for that. I'm not sure he'd take the jump just for the sake of it... and since Iowa gave Ferentz one of the worst head coaching contracts ever, I'm not sure how they would fairly structure one for Patterson. Bottom line though, I think he loves FW and loves what he has going... he's not going to jump for the money. It'll have to be the right opportunity.
Well, I told you last week that I wouldn't be around for the post game review because of my absence this weekend, but I ended up being absent for another reason. Fiance Willis ended up going into the hospital on Thursday with an absolutely hellacious migraine and remained there throughout the weekend. She's doing a lot better and there isn't anything significantly wrong with her, but imagine if you took our your brain and and gave it to Henson for an afternoon to perform hitting drills on, and that's kind of what her head has been feeling like since last Monday. So, needless to say our Ark/Fla game trip was cancelled (not disappointingly so for those of you who saw the end result) and I've spent just about every waking moment at the hospital. The only silver lining of the whole thing though was that I was able to sneak off for a few hours on Saturday afternoon and watch the game at my apt., thus marking my first live mtn. viewing experience. The announcers were really not half bad and lyle lanley got some decent face time in which he was visibly verbally abusing someone on the SDSU sideline when we were up 41-7. That's my boy. Other than the terrible, terrible picture quality of the broadcast, and that Cash Sirois character, not an all around terrible experience and, judging from the very obvious attendance fail, probably not that much different than seeing it in person. Aren't these parents weekend things meant to generate attendance? Oh no, wait, TCU hates tailgaters and cancelled all student tailgates. My bad.
Anyway, my mind was kind of on other things during the game so this could be a pretty haphazard recap, but I will do my best. I don't know about you guys, but was this maybe the most uninspiring 41-7 victory ever? We won the battle of the backups, so maybe the fact that it was this situation made the game less interesting, or maybe it was the fact that SDSU is really, really bad, but I just never found myself getting really fired up about anything that was going on. Perhaps the slow start is to blame?
Offense - A. Well, I'm going to have to start off on a sour note just because the rest of the evening was pretty praiseworthy for our offense, but THE PENALTIES, MY GOD THE PENALTIES!!!!! 9-105 yards, including a cut block by Schlueter that negated a touchdown. Holds and false starts were BRUTAL. Also, a SIDELINE PENALTY?? NEVER seen that called EVER. It seems like every time we got a drive going early in the game, a penalty would pull us out of touchdown range. This has been our biggest problem every single week and it's actually getting worse as the season progresses!! GP, I know defense is your game, but if you can consistently condition one of, if not THE, best defenses every single season, surely you've got some magic left in the tank to discipline these offensive players. SO frustrating.
Alright, sorry for that tirade, but it needed to be aired. Other than the penalties, though, pretty good showing. Very, VERY slow start. I feel like this was the first game this season where we didn't generate points on our first possession (fact check?) so that definitely was a buzz kill as the result of being spoiled. Not having ole Red under center made me a little nervous, but Marcus 'Happy Feet' Jackson came in and, despite an uninspiring first quarter, did a great job rallying the team and running the Aztecs out of the stadium. Jackson was a little prone to keeping the ball on option handoffs, but once he hit that Reggie Bush circa USC era dive flip for a TD, that definitely made things ok. He ended up finishing with 27 carries for 131 net yards and two TDs. Through the air, Jackson had accuracy issues, but considering the lack of in game experience the guy has had this year and really throughout his career, there were bound to be some kinks to work out in this department. He ended up finishing 10-19 for 115 yards and one TD (FINALLY SCHULTZ!! WHO TOLD HIM WE HAD ONE OF THE BETTER TIGHT ENDS IN THE COUNTRY IN OUR LINEUP!??!?!?), but it's no secret that our offense was far more explosive when the ground game was doing the talking, and they turned in their best game yet. Jackson led all rushers, but Turner and Brown turned in quietly successful performances (each rushing for 66 yards a piece, with Turner adding another TD to his yearly total). bucknasty's favorite Ryan Christian finished with 57 yards on 10 carries followed by Jeremy Kerley with 4 rushes for 40 yards, not including the cancelled TD on Schlueter's cut block. Heck, even Jimmy Young got in on the action with a rush. Overall, 71 (!) carries for 383 yards on the ground. SDSU only ran 41 offensive plays total. Wow.
Receiving, as mentioned, there weren't any spectacular numbers, and Jimmy Young didn't even record one catch, but I suppose different QBs have different talents, and letting Jackson throw short passes to Reagan and Kerley was a very conservative but effective way to move the ball. Reagan finished with 4 catches for 53 yards and the TD mentioned earlier, followed by Kerley with with 2 for 23 and Bart Johnson, Curtis Clay, Aaron Brown and Luke Shivers with one a piece. Seriously, Jackson overall did a fantastic job moving this offense and if he could get his passing a little more accurate would probably be our starter, but neither he nor Dalton will ever realize all the success they potentially have within them if this offense can't stop committing penalties. It will be very interesting to see what types of adjustments will be made in practices this week to crack down on this.
Defense - A+*$+++. Ah, the whole A plus star dollar sign plus plus plus. Man this defense is good. Should I go ahead and mention that Earl Campbell's son lines up in the backfield for SDSU? Should I also go ahead and mention that EC's son is similar to his father in name only? America's top ranked defense wasn't up for entertaining the son of a legend, holding the Aztecs to -13 yards rushing. Yes, that's right, -13. Seriously, would you take Blake and Ortiz over Panfil and Hughes? First play of the game, Hughes absolutely MAULED the SDSU right tackle, took down the QB and the D didn't let up once after that. Phillips led all tacklers with 8 and two QB hurries, followed by Hodge with 7 and Hughes with three. It should also be noted that two of Hughes' tackles were sacks. Johnson, Vess, Priest and Washington each totaled 2 tackles a piece and Matt Panfil and Cody Moore defiled the QB one time each. You might think it's curious that RH51 wasn't mentioned with the leading tacklers, but there's no reason to worry. Every superhero knows their limits and with the front 4 causing the destruction they did, he decided to defer to his partner in crime Phillips this week against such an inferior opponent, totaling one tackle. You can only harvest so many souls over the course of a season, you know? I look for a triumphant return this week against against the mountain goats.
You might think I'm giving a lot of attention to the run defense because of the short comings of the secondary, so I'll just put this out there. 98 yards. That's it, all she wrote. After a week in which our secondary got absolutely torched by Sam Bradford, these guys buckled in and held a similar offense (SDSU coach Chuck Long is the most recent ex OU offensive coordinator) to under 100 yards in the air. Given they had in their second string QB most of the game and obviously don't have anywhere near the athletes that Oklahoma does, but it's worth noting. Also worth noting: this is the second QB our defense has knocked out this season. You never want to hurt anyone, but I think this just shows the overwhelming speed and brute force these guys possess. One FR (stats do not list.. this happened, didn't it?)and no INTs, but when you can control the game defensively like we have all year, INTs are just for padding stats. All in a days work.
Special Teams - A. I'll be generous again this week. Ross Evans was 2-2 on field goals of 20 and 42 yards. Still hasn't missed a FG opportunity since week one. Kid is good. One of the stars of last year's recruiting class. Kelton had 4 punts for an average of 40 yards, and put two inside the 20. Couple of weak kicks, but the one he put inside the 5 was beautiful. Also, our offense had him kicking close to the 50 on most of his kicks, so there wasn't a whole lot of room to boom any punts. Combs had another decent day with 8 kickoffs for 63.2 yards on average and one TB. No out of bounds this game, although he kicked one DANGEROUSLY close that the SDSU return man was letting go until it took a very fortunate bounce back towards the middle of the field. Still a work in progress. Kerley had 10 different opportunities to return punts and fielded 6 for an average of 14 yards per. Window on a return TD is closing with the meat of conference play coming up. Don't make a liar out of me... As is the story most weeks, only two kick off return opportunties, both taken by Brown, for an average of 21 yards per. Good day for the special teams.
Overall - Typically listing all of the game stats is filler, but as you will see, these are definitely worth noting.
TOP: 43:29 vs. 16.31.
First Downs: 24 vs. 4.
Total Offensive Yards: 498 vs. 85.
Net Yards rushing: 383 vs -13.
SDSU third down conv.: 1-11.
Red Zone scoring: 6 of 7 vs. 1 of 1.
Total Plays: 90 vs. 41.
I could probably go on and on, but those are the most noteworthy. Looking back, what a great game, but for some reason watching it on TV just didn't grip me the way our games do most of the time. Like I said, under the circumstances I probably didn't have my head completely in it, and while I'm glad I got to see it, I wish it hadn't been this way. Regardless, when you absolutely crush a team, it's never exciting. Except for smashing SMU. That's always exciting. Especially in Dallas. and especially when they got creamed by Tulane who just got absolutely defiled by Army.
AP rank #30, Coaches rank #27. You can't honestly tell me that Ball State is a better football team than us with a straight face, can you?
Game Ball - MJ, who else? Asked to start a game for the first time all season, Jackson came in and did exactly what he needed to do to get us the win. It definitely helps when you have a defense as talented as ours backing you up, but compiling 246 yards and 3 TDs gives him some serious style points. Thank you for continuing in the footsteps of TCU backup QBs of the past.
Other Games of Interest.
#15 Utah 31, Oregon State 28. After taking down #1 USC last week, Oregon State looked well on their way to stunning the Utes on the road and, had it not been for some last minute heroics from Brian Johnson and Louie Sakoda, they would've done so. Still, I just can't completely fear a team whose most notable player is a hybrid kicker/punter.
#8 BYU 34, Utah State 14. Thanks for effing up my parlay, Joseph Smiths.
Colorado State 41, UNLV 28. Wait, what? Looks like after getting thrashed by Nevada, UNLV's luster is beginning to wear thin. Dangerous confidence building win for the Rams with the Frogs coming into Fort Collins Saturday. But not THAT dangerous.
Air Force 27, Navy 33. uuuh... ooohhhh.
New Mexico 24, Wyoming 0. Welcome to the basement, pokes.
#13 Vanderbilt 14, #20 Auburn 13. Real Auburn game scores this year: 3-2, 14-12, 14 -13. And they also just added the "guru" of the spread offense as their OC. Tigers Football, catch the excitement! Also, they just lost to a bunch of NERDS!
#8 USC 44, Oregon 10. Thanks for the your spot in the rankings, Dogg.
Hawaii 32, Fresno St. 29. And yours.
Next Week - Traveling to Fort Collins to take on the 3-2 Colorado State Rams. Hard to gauge this team. They lost to who they should've lost to (Colorado, Cal) and won the game they should've (Sacramento State. Barely) but the wins against Houston and UNLV are curious. Houston is actually not a terrible football team, but perhaps UNLV gave it their best shot too early. After back to back losses, and the way the top 3 teams are playing, it looks like another cellar year for the Rebs. This C-State team though, this game makes me somewhat unsettled. Sure, we grind out the win, but that thin mountain air can play curious tricks on an unconditioned team. Hopefully the Rocky Mountain thin air will only increase the speed of our sniping defense and push this game out of reach before it even gets started. Still, with BYU looming the following Thursday, dangerous game to overlook. This isn't going to be like overlooking SMU for OU 2 weeks ago... this is an actual football team with actual coaching and actual athletes. GP needs to keep the guys level headed this week. Still, with a healthy Dalton and an ever improving ground game, I look for the Frogs to pull away.
The Pick: TCU 37, CSU 14
Horned Frogs in good hands with Marcus Jackson ~Star Telegram
Horned Frogs get back to basics against San Diego State ~Star Telegram
Horned Frogs shut down Aztecs 41-7 ~Daily Skiff
What we learned from the Independents and non-BCS, week 6 ~ESPN
TCU #24 In New CFN Poll ~Scout
Eye on ... TCU at Colorado State ~Denver Post
Aztecs routed, lose QB to boot ~Union Tribune