Monday, October 27, 2008

GP Props

ESPN recently did an article ranking the Top 25 college football programs of the past decade. Thanks in part to Fran and in full to GP, the Frogs sit at 24th on the list.

Jimmy Young co-offensive player of the week

Another MWC teams leaves Amon G crying

Apparently Amon G is not a friendly place for TCU opponents. Austin Ward, staff writer for the Casper Star-Tribune, decided that instead of writing about how his team was absolutely manhandled, given the brokeback history maybe that was a poor choice of words, rather he decided to focus on the completely clean hit that knocked his QB out of the game. Comments aren't as amusing as those from the fighting Joseph Smith's, but the article is just as ridiculous.

'Uncalled for': late hit leaves QB Sween unconcious Casper Star-Tribune

For the record it was a clean hit.

Game 9: Wyoming Brokeback Mountains... what else would it be?

Wyoming Defense: "I don't know how to quit you, Jimmy Young."

Jimmy Young, meet world. World, meet Jimmy Young. How he hadn't had a game like this before, we'll never know... but the wonderful truth is that we know what he's capable of, and he did it when we needed him to. The guy had been averaging 13.2 yards per catch and had already tailled a couple of 100 yards games this season, but just was not able to find the end zone until this past week. With Jeremy Kerley out, we needed another playmaker to step up. Enter number 88. Touchdowns were easily caught. Receiving records were shattered. Frogs win. Again. With two Sugar Bowl reps in the house, the TCU offense showed up in a big way, especially in the second half. There's plenty here to talk about, but I'm going to save it for the recap section.

Great day for a football game, eh? Perhaps it could've been a bit cooler, but that's just being anal about the whole situation. The truth is, it was a beautiful day for homecoming and a perfect opportunity to have a 5 o'clock kickoff. I Decided to up the ante today and break out what will surely become known as one of the greatest tailgate inventions of all time following the advent of beer and the cooler: The Freedom Grill. How American sounding is that? It's no coincidence that this device was created following 9/11. The missus gave me this contraption last year for Christmas and what it is is a grill that fits onto your trailer hitch and rides on the back of your car. The positive: you don't have to sacrifice car space. The negative: it only swivels out so far, so if you have the back of your car open, your interior smells like a cheeseburger for the next 6-7 weeks. Is it worth it for drunk halftime yum yums though? Absolutely! In fact, without that cheeseburger resting happily in my gullet, I'm not sure my mitochondria could've produced enough energy to power me through the second half and the rest of the evening. (Side note: Yes, I did look up mitochondria on wikipedia just now). However, my only complaint about these one sided beatdowns courtesy of the Frogs? None of my beer survives the game! Seriously, why is it so hard to come into a football game even for a few minutes, especially when there are Sugar Bowl reps in the press box: I.E. THEY WANT TO SEE BIG ATTENDANCE NUMBERS AND PASSIONATE FANS? I generously allow people to share cooler space and have stopped dictatorily locking said cooler up at halftime, and this is the thanks I get? I'm not in college anymore... I don't have to let girls drink all my beer to get laid (well, if I wasn't engaged, this would probably be a shocking false statement.) All I want to do after the game is come back, sit in my chair, watch the night game and have a few dranks. My generosity is waning.

Well, after that diversion, let's get on with the game, because there's a lot to be said.

Offense - A. George W. Bush once said, "Fool me once.. shame on.. shame on you. You fool me, you can't get fooled again." Apparently, while this may be a saying in Texas and Tennessee, it must not be that way in Wyoming. I have not had time to rewatch the game extensively yet and mostly fast forwarded to the scoring drives and big defensive hits, but I know I counted four seperate times that Jimmy Young ran the exact same seam route to the exact same result. FOUR. Three of these four went for TDs and one went all the way to inside the 5 yard line. Final tally for Young? 5 receptions, 226 yards, 3 TDs and the TCU single game receiving record, last set by Jimmy Oliver (what's in a name?) against Tetch in 1994. You knew he had speed... but man. The guy ran about 5 steps and was WIDE open in the secondary, giving Red enough time to take about a 3 step drop and zing the ball in there. Heck, the Lambda Chi award winning intramural football team (true story: When we were freshmen apparently the Rambdies 2 IM flag football teams made the championship. They made T shirts for the game that said, "Finally, we have some competition. And they wonder why no one likes them,) could've made the plays. Even Brad Johnson could've completed the throws... well, maybe I won't go THAT far. Anyway, all in a days work, Jimmy Young. All in a days work. On a day when we knew the Wildfrog wasn't going to be a major factor (more on that later), and where the run game was struggling, Dalton and Young came out on a mission to destroy the 12th ranked pass defense in the nation, although it looks like we went ahead and knocked those numbers back to reality. Wyoming isn't a great football team, but they have typically played us close and, aside from a special teams gaffe in the first half, would've only carried a 10 point deficit going into halftime. GP clearly could not have been pleased, even with a 24-7 lead, and it really showed after the break.

Red, who coming into this game only had 2 passing touchdowns on the season, decided it was time to go ahead and play to his potential, completing 16/22 passes for 334 yards, four TDs and 0 INTs. Now this is going to sound like a thinly veiled man crush and will be littered with sports writer cliches, but man... that kid throws an absolutely beautiful ball. Frozen rope! Seriously though, it always comes out quick, hard (just ask Shae Reagan after last week's goal line drop/concussion power facemask smack) and on target (.... that's what she said). He doesn't float the ball, he fires it in there. I really noticed this last week while rewatching the game and noticed it even more in this game. Not that he didn't do well in previous weeks, but all six of his TDs on the year have come the past two weeks, and have come on deep, accurate throws. Maybe it's the confidence that the offensive staff is FINALLY giving him by allowing him to air it out that is making him better? Maybe it's his offensive line giving him all SORTS of time to throw? Maybe in the two weeks off he had following a big loss something just clicked in his head? Regardless, over the next two years when we have Bart Johnson, Jeremy Kerley and Jimmy Young lined up out wide with more seasons under their belts... watch the F out, Mountain West. Dark Horse Heisman candidate under center. Mark my words. Seriously, we get these guys for two more years. Big, big day from Red.

On the receiving end of these 334 yards... well, you've seen where 226 of them came from. JY. Word. Following Young, you had two catches a piece from Curtis Clay, Bart Johnson, Walter Bryant, Justin Watts and Ryan Christian, with Watts catching a goal line TD pass. Aaron Brown also had one catch.

As mentioned, running the ball against these guys surprisingly didn't work out very well for us. Given they had one of the better pass defenses, and one of the worst everything else defenses, you'd think we would've run all over them. However, it looks like Joe Glenn's team decided not to play to their strength and stacked the box. Well, we see how that turned out. Congrats on stopping the run... no congrats for whatever else you gameplanned. Joseph Turner led all rushers with 10 attempts for 76 yards. Following him was Antoine Hicks who filled in on a handful of Wildfrog snaps for the injured Kerley. Hicks, who everyone knows came to the Frogs from UT under less than honorable circumstances, has really been embraced by the student body and games like this won't do anything to hurt his standing, as he had 6 runs for 23 yards and a near touchdown as well as a blocked punt that, fortunately for Donnie Darko, went for a safety. Nice. Rounding out the run game were Brown (7-24), Dalton (6-22-1), Jai Cavness (5-9), Christian (2-7), Jercell Fort (2-1) and Marcus Jackson who had one four yard scamper for a score once the game was well in hand. Not big numbers, but it got us 14 points, which was twice what we needed to win.

Overall, 444 yards (334 passing, 110 rushing), 18 first downs, no fumbles, 7 of 14 on third down and 29 minutes TOP, which I believe is the first time we've lost this stat all season. Regardless, when you score quickly on long passes, and you're playing a running team, this can happen, but I suppose you have to ask yourself would you rather have 45+ minutes with the ball or 54 points?

Defense - B-/A. I've been told by some that my recaps are a bit too sugar coated, which is fair and unfair because when your team is 8-1 and ranked 12th in the country, if you still find things to be critical about, you're just being an asshole/a UT fan... which are generally one in the same. Despite this, I had to drop our defense out of the A category for the second time this season. The split represents first half performance vs. second half because, let's face it, even though I personally never doubted we'd win the game, it wasn't exactly in hand until late in the second quarter. Even though we thought it'd never happen, the Frogs defense gave up its first 100 yard rusher on the season, as Wyoming's Devin Moore rushed for 114 yards. including a 42 yard TD, and the Cowboys netted 113 overall (mostly thanks to a 26 yard sack/grounding in the third quarter by none other than Jerry Hughes). For those of you TCU football historians, at least from last year, this shouldn't be a surprise as Moore rushed for over 100 on the defense last season in Laramie. Henson claimed that this was "hands down the best back we've seen this year," which, statistically, yes he was, although runners such as OU's DeMarco Murray and BYUs Harvey Unga get the national recognition. The kid was fast and powerful and earned all the yards he got.

Of course, with most TCU defensive performances, there's a silver lining in all of this in that the Frogs only gave up 10 yards on the ground after halftime. I will probably never witness one of GPs fiery halftime tirades, but I feel like they must make fire and brimstone look like puppies and cupcakes. After the game, GP said something along the lines of, "you could feel it coming down the tunnel last week... this week, I couldn't feel a thing," which shows that the Frogs may have come out taking this team lightly in the first half. Fortunately this was not the case in the second half as the D forced two turnovers, blocked a punt and generally helped the team rack up 30 points in the second half. The only thing I worry about is apparently the two back sets that Wyoming was showing are being blamed for throwing off the TCU first half performance, and Air Force and, more notably, Utah often show these same sets. Given, we'll know what we're playing for by the Air Force game, but you have to feel good that this team has gotten a good dose of what they will likely see against the Utes in a couple of weeks and know how to stop it.

Naturally this blog is going to give preference to Henson's on-field performance, no matter if he has 1 or 20 tackles, but I definitely have to talk about what the guy did this week. Now, the big stink about him is that he hit Karsten Sween "unnecessarily" in the third quarter, knocking the QB unconscious and out of the game. This is one of those plays that I rewatched several times yesterday afternoon and, while his shoulder definitely made contact with Sween's head, I don't think you can say it was dirty by any means. It was really just an unfortunate incident: Sween was forced out of the pocket and running upfield and went into his slide right as Henson lowered his shoulder to make the tackle and they just arrived at the exact same time on the spot. Now, had it been me, it would've been lights out for Sir Wesley (not my real name, mind you, although if it were Sir Demarco and I would have the exact same initials, SDB. Interesting?) I would've curled up into the fetal position and died. Seriously. It looked REALLY painful. But, we all know football is a violent game and this is a by product, especially when you're getting hit by the hardest hitting player on one of the fastest and most hard hitting defenses in the country. Fortunately, it looked like Sween will recover just fine. Troy Aikman had like 37 concussions in his career, no? Anyway, all the hit really did was make Joe Glenn come across as a baby and a sore loser and give Sween an early trip to the locker room. No qualms here and I hope Sween is able to come out this week and play.

Continuing on, we can't stop here with the Henson praise. On the very next Wyoming possesion, Henson had another big hit that forced a fumble and, according to the Star-Telegram, removed backup QB Dax Crum from competition. Confirmation on this? Maybe these guys are a bunch of sissies, or maybe Henson just has a thing against dudes with terrible names (seriously, Karsten and Dax, go back to Laguna and sip mai tai's with Spencer Pratt.) Regardless, though, on the fumble creating hit that Henson put on Crum, I seriously feared for his life. There was a play in the Colorado State game where Henson was zeroing in on the ball carrier and just baaarely missed absolutely dynamiting his soul... well, he connected on this one. Unblocked with a clear lane, Henson absolutely made Crum get died, setting up the Dalton to Watts TD. For brevity's sake, RH51 ended the game with 9 tackles (2 for loss), a sack, a forced fumble, and a cruel and unusual punishment torture lawsuit from the Wyoming QB staff. Seriously, dude made Guantanamo look like Disney World.

There are other players on our defense? What? Despite Henson's dynamite performance, Jason Phillips ended up leading all tacklers with 11, including one for a loss, followed by TJ with 7 tackles, 2 for losses, Steven Coleman with 6, and Stephen Hodge with 5, with one for a loss. Wayne Daniels, Daryl Washington, Matt Panfil, Nick Sanders and Sir Demarco Bledsoe each had 2, with Daniels getting credited with the fumble recovery on the above hinted to Henson play. Jerry Hughes had a quiet night only recording one sack. With such a lead, lots of our backups got the opportunity to play with 20 different players recording at least one tackle, and Greg McCoy getting his first career INT late in the game.

Final numbers show that the D gave up 221 total yards (113 rushing, 108 passing), 13 first downs, a FF/FR, and a sack. These numbers would be respectable for any defense, but assuming everyone saw the slow start, you can see why the first half rating was a little low. Regardless, hard to argue with seven points given up, a fumble recovery, and interception and a blocked punt for a safety. Go Frogs.

Special Teams - A-. As evidenced each week, I really never know where to rank the special teams because, like my mentor Gary Patterson, I don't care much for them. It seems like they are never clicking on all cylinders like our defense and offense consistently do. This week, the return and kicking games were great, yet the kickoff and punt games were weak. Aaron Brown... well, it was bound to happen eventually, right? Just when the Cowboys had scored a long TD and were maybe gaining a little momentum, AB went ahead and took the ensuing kickoff 85 yards to the house. Like Young's breakout game, how this hadn't happened yet, and how it hadn't happened since 2005 at that, we'll never know, but it did when we needed it most. After taking one 75 yards for no score and one 56 yards for no score in previous contests, Brown delivered, finishing with 3 returns for a 50 yards average! Wow! Brown also assumed punt return duties, returning 2 for 14 yards, with Antoine Hicks taking 1 for 11. Ross Evans nailed his only FG attempt (24 yards) and got a real leg workout while connecting on all 7 EP attempts after missing 2 last week. Pretty sure I know how his practices went this past week. Also, as mentioned above several times, Antoine Hicks blocked a Wyoming punt near the goal line which bounced out of the end zone for a safety.

Negatively, and there always is one, Drew Combs had 8 kickoffs for a 52.1 yard average (which is short) and one out of bounds. It looks like this is a part of our game we are going to have to live with because we're going to score touchdowns and field goals which inevitably result in kickoffs. Fortunately, our coverage teams have been great and our defense has been better even while being forced to deal with less than stellar field position.

Also negative was Anson Kelton who, despite being one of my favorite TCU newcomers, had 4 punts for a 41 yard average and only one inside the 20. Regardless, everyone has an off day and the kid has been better on the road which I'll take great days over UNLV and Utah over one against Air Force anyday.

Overall. Great day, great second half, great Homecoming weekend. No gameday experience would be complete without post game gluttony at Ocean Rock followed by the win or lose dance-off at the Oui that even Charlie Daniels the bartender could enjoy. Opting to get a hotel room for the evening and sleeping comfortably rather than curling up on someone's undersized couch/floor proved to be the difference maker in driving home feeling AND smelling like hot garbage and driving home only feeling like room temperature garbage. Probably my favorite tailgate scene thusfar this season, although as mentioned I had to miss the SDSU game due to Ms. Wesley's hospital fun time, so I can't speak for that. The weather was great, the burgers were great, and the cops actually backed off. Before the game a TCU official rode up on his golf cart and pleaded with us to be agreeable with any officials that happened to wander up, and this never ended up being an issue. Perhaps TCU asked the federales to back off.. or perhaps it was the conversation theredbarron and WWHD were seen having with said policia before the game, but it was definitely the most relaxed atmosphere at ACS this year. I hate to have to wait a full month before the next and last home game, but we've got two huge ones coming up in the next 10 days and, after that, we're going to need a breather. Go Frogs!

Frogs - 12th AP, 12th Coaches, 13th BCS.

Game Ball. Lots of different ways to go with this one so, again I'm going to split it. First and foremost you have to give Jimmy Young recognition for what he did. Sure, Dalton fired in some great passes, but Young created the separation and, had it not been for one defender only getting partially annihilated, would have had 4 TDs. Setting a school record is one thing. Setting a school record against the 12th best pass defense in the nation is another. Doing so coming off the biggest win of your career against a cellar dwelling conference team who no one is fired up to play is even better. Hats off to JY88 and we look forward to three more huge ones.

Secondly, and obviously, gotta give Henson his props. Big day, big hits, big plays. I had a post earlier in the week showing a fired up Henson coming out of the tunnel against BYU while the rest of the team looks on a little more solemnly, and it looks like he carried that energy over to this week. After the game, while standing on the railing and singing the school song, we got a "Ro-bert-Hen-son" chant going which got the faintest smile from the man himself. After a game like that, you deserve it man. (Sorry, that sounded reeeeally queer/Peter Kingesque. Umm... TCU Football Rules!)

Other Games of Interest.

#1/1/1 Texas 28, #9/10/9 Oklahoma State 24. Since this is Colt McCoy's #1 fansite, this game gets recognition. Despite fighting the good fight, T. Boone's boys couldn't take down the still unbeaten Longhorns, but at least they made it very interesting. We knew this wouldn't drop OSU behind us with a loss, but with Oklahoma and Texas Tech still left on the schedule, a loss in either of those games (preferably to OU I guess) would do the trick. Unfortunately we have to tip our hats to the Horns because they are OU's only loss and this roundaboutedly helps our strength of schedule.

#3/3/3 Penn State 13, #13/12/13 Ohio State 6. Watched the end of this one. Typical, boring Big Televen matchup. It looks like Joe Pa's deal with the devil is finally paying off as he has a pretty clear path now to the Big Ten championship as well as the BCS national title game.

#4/4/4 Oklahoma 58, Kansas St. 35. Keep those victories coming, cheaters.

#6/7/5 Texas Tech 63, Kansas 21. I only bring this up because I thought this was going to be a huge mental block for the Raiders. Apparently I was wrong. How fired up are these guys going to be to get UT into Lubbock this weekend? I still think they lose, but wow... who would've thought that the UT/OU game would now be the third most hyped game on their schedule in any season?

#8/6/8 Georgia 52, #15/15/19 LSU 38. Called the upset here, but wow, it's amazing that the Dogs did that to LSU in their own house. Can't wait for the Cocktail party this weekend.

#11/11/11 Boise State 33, San Jose St. 16. Well, our biggest hope for a BSU loss is down so now we're counting on the rest of the lowly WAC competition to be our deux es machina. This does not make me comfortable.

#16/15/16 Florida State 30, Virginia Tech 20. I was hoping big time for a Florida State loss here to keep us way ahead of the ACC leader, but the Goiters were unable to pull the upset. Still, two steps ahead in the almighty BCS rankings is nice.

#24/23/24 South Florida 20, Louisville 24. Somehow called this upset despite a dire lack of knowledge of both teams beyond our CUSA days. Great for us because we are now 10 spots ahead of the Big East leader with no one else in sight. It should be noted that the Wannstache's were raped out of the top 25 by Rutgers, who is bad. Also, I told you so.

#17/17/20 BYU 42, UNLV 35. HUGE scare for us and the Cougars in this one. Note the game was being played in Provo. Note that UNLV had the lead late in the game and had a chance to take it to OT had it not been for a last second INT by BYU. Obviously BYU had the wind taken out of their sails after last week, but geez! Hope our guys watch this tape before heading to Vegas.

Air Force 23, New Mexico 10. After an absolute nuclear thrashing of San Diego State last week, the Lobos couldn't carry that momentum on a short week. Air Force refuses to go away in the MWC standings, although November 22 should be a judgment day.

Colorado State 38, SDSU 34. If a tree falls in the woods, and no one is around to hear it, does anyone give a f*** about this game?

This week. Fun game coming up against the UNLV Rebels in Vegas. Wish I could join you guys there, but when you get out of college and road trips aren't on the parents dime anymore, it limits your options. I know a good amount of our readers and posters are going, so I wish you all luck and I hope you actually do make it to the game as I as well as anyone understand the limitations of outdoor/non gambling related activity while in Vegas. Full slate of games including Georgia/Florida in the afternoon and our game and UT/TTU at night so I suggest you get your bets in to the sports book early, and please remember that we pretty much always cover the spread. UNLV gave BYU a big scare, although I'm willing to bet that BYU wasn't exactly giving it their all. TCU is SO close to doing something that has never been done in being a one loss BCS busting team. I know their minds will be on the Utah game, as happened with the CSU/BYU conundrum, but as GP would say, you've gotta win your conference games if you want to get to the BCS. Lots of distractions out in the desert, but at this point in the season if the team can't be focused for a game, then there are big problems. Could be a sluggish one, but look for UNLV to be depeleted after such a heart breaking loss to the Cougars. Opening line is Frogs -13.5. I'll take that.

The Pick: Frogs 35, UNLV 13.

Not sure how or if the recap will happen next week. Unfortunately I'll be down for the count with a wedding during the entirety of the game and I'm not sure what my replay status will be on Sunday afternoon. Regardless, I will post something, even if it's just pictures of Jerry Hughes showing his manhood to opposing QBs, like so:

Be back later in the week with the Top 25 analysis. Go Frogs. Go America. Beat Vegas.

Morning Dump

Gary Patterson happy to see adjustments paying off for TCU Star-Telegram

The hopeful team,s but probably only one bid New York Times

This Week's Opponent

Rebels nearly upset cougars KTNV