Monday, October 12, 2009

Week 6 Recap

TCU wins… and drops two spots in the AP poll. Like spitpurple said, it doesn’t factor into the BCS, so fuck em, but it’s still unsettling. GP put it best though, saying that most of the voters are east coast guys who are going to give teams further that way favoritism, so let’s blame it on that. Regardless, the coaches got it right, elevating us to 8th, but we still sit behind Boise who gained a spot to 5th despite a bye week. I keep hoping the voters will drop these guys, but I’m starting to get a little unsettled. Anyway, let’s see what happened to cause the voters to bend us over as they did.

The Good.

#1/1 Florida 13, #10/10 LSU 3. Well Tebow played and the Gators won, which is pretty much what everyone expected. He didn’t look great, and he took a few hits that surely made Gator fans wince, but his 134 passing yards and a TD were enough to make the difference. More importantly, LSUs offense was finally exposed for the travesty that it is, only putting up 162 total yards at home in front of the largest crowd to ever witness a football game at Tiger Stadium. As LSU gets to the meat of their SEC schedule, look for them to drop a few more games. Even at 10th they’re still the most overrated non Boise team in the country.

The Meh.

#4/4 Virginia Tech 48, Boston College 14. Looks like VT is going to easily emerge as the ACC BCS representative at this rate. The 3 game losing streak is over after VT put up 441 yards of offense against a Boston College team that was riding high after dismissing Florida State last weekend.

#7/7 Ohio State 31, Wisconsin 13. Well I had hoped for an upset and it didn’t come. Much like Virginia Tech in the ACC, Ohio State doesn’t look like it’s going to have many problems in winning the Big Televen after a one year hiatus. Defense and special teams were the difference here as the Buckeyes returned two interceptions and a kickoff for touchdowns.

#13/16 Oregon 24, UCLA 10. Well apparently they were afraid of them and did not want to beat their asses. It’s funny how much the voters disrespect Oregon losing to Boise State, yet still keep the Broncos so highly elevated. Snoozer game as Oregon trailed 3-0 at halftime with QB Jeremiah Masoli on the bench. Unfortunately, their defense and special teams created a touchdown a piece and the Ducks rolled in the second half.

#14/13 Penn State 52, Tony Romo 3. Yep.

#16/14 Oklahoma State 36, aggy 31. Oklahoma State was missing their starting running back and best wide receiver and aggy STILL couldn’t beat them. Depressing if you’re a fan of the College Station High A team. Okie Lite put up 448 yards of total offense, including 130 yards on the ground from back up RB Keith Toston proving once again that A&M is Tech Lite when it comes to gridiron strategy. Oddly enough, aggy QB Jarrod Johnson had a solid day, tossing 3 TDs but he got no help on the other side of the ball. Starting to rethink that bowl eligibility talk.

#17/15 Kansas 41, Iowa State 36. In other overrated department news, this game happened. Despite school record breaking performances from Dezmon Briscoe and Kerry Meier, Kansas actually trailed this game entering the fourth quarter before they squeaked it out. Kansas still has to play OU, UT, Tech, Nebraska and Missouri in conference play, so expect them to drop into Alamo Bowl territory by mid November.

The Bad.

#9/11 Miami 48, Florida aggy 16. Looks like the media are back on the U bandwagon. Despite playing an MEAC team, Miami’s win was apparently enough to lift them past the Frogs in the voters eyes, although the coaches knew better. Miami actually trailed early, but QB Jacory Harris threw 2 TDs and the Hurricanes rolled to an easy win.

#11/12 Iowa 30, Michigan 28. Ugh, Iowa getting the prime time ABC slot twice already this season? Is that really what America wants? It's almost as bad as Obama's Nobel Prize, but that deserves a post of its own. After the TCU and LSU/FLA games ended, this is all we had, and since it was football and it was on, I watched. Michigan is not very good, but actually had a very legitimate chance to win this thing at the end until change of pace QB Denard Robinson threw a TERRIBLE pick in the closing seconds. Michigan had five turnovers and STILL had a chance to win. Apparently Iowa sneaking out of their own stadium with a win is what counts these days though as the Hawkeyes overtook the Frogs by a slot in the AP. They’ll likely stay ahead of us if they keep winning, but expect them to be pummeled by Ohio State next month.

Bad week for the Frogs and the rankings. I’m sure our good pals overrated and pansy will come pile on about how TERRIBLE our conference is, but I’ll be the first to mention their team trailed Cody Hawkins at home at halftime and subsequently lost a spot in the polls to Alabama who pillow fought their way out of Oxford against the old most overrated non Boise team. As conference play begins, you have to think the top of the polls will start to shake up a bit as few teams in the major conferences make a full run unscathed. All we need to do is keep on keepin’ on. Don’t expect a lot of movement this week, but once we go up to Provo and break their magic sunglasses, expect us to overtake Boise.

Looking Ahead

As I mentioned last week, any talk of the BCS will be moot if the Frogs don't continue to take care of business week-in, week-out. But with the first official BCS standings coming out within a week, TCU fans are not alone in wondering what those standings will tell us. According to BCSguru.com's latest mock-standings, the Frogs still have quite a bit of ground to make up on Boise State.

This week's mock standings:
1. Florida- .9862
2. Alabama- .9453
3. Virginia Tech- .8262
4. Texas- .8108
5. Boise State- .7904
6. Southern Cal- .7120
7. LSU- .6995
8. Ohio State- .6727
9. Cincinnati- .6562
10. Iowa- .6492
11. TCU- .6424

So it looks like, even though the AP dropped TCU to 12th, the polls involved in the BCS did not penalize them for their narrow victory over Air Force. In fact, two of the computer polls involved actually already rank TCU higher than Boise State.

Boise's nationally-televised win over Oregon continues to be what is propping up their ranking. The Ducks have now reeled off five straight wins and are ranked 13th in the BCS Guru's standings. With every Pac Ten team's propensity to inconsistency and the Ducks having three difficult games coming up, that win could (hopefully) start to lost some of it's luster in the next few weeks.

The other good news is BYU moving up three spots to #19 in this week's mock standings, as well as Utah moving up eight spots to #26. If those teams can continue to win (other than when they play TCU), the Frogs could benefit greatly.

Think all of the national media is just automatically penciling-in Boise ahead of TCU? Think again- ESPN's Mark Schlabach has some nice things to say about this situation.

Strength of Schedule Watch: Week 6 recap


Let's get right into what went right and what went wrong this weekend with the Frogs' opponents:

What went right:
Virginia 47, Indiana 7
-Holy hell what is going on in Charlottesville? Are the Cavs making a comeback? After beating a heavily-favored UNC squad last week, the Wahoos came out and put up 536 yards of offense in an absolute drubbing of Indiana. I know Indiana isn't the toughest team out there, but beating anyone by 40 is pretty impressive. Hopefully this trend continues.

SMU 28, East Carolina 21
-Stop the presses! Bo Levi Mitchell went an entire game without throwing an interception! The bigger story here is that the Mustangs, at 3-2, now have a very legitimate shot at reaching their first bowl game since 1984 after knocking off one of the preseason favorites in CUSA's Eastern Division.

BYU 59, UNLV 21
-I don't know who the Defensive Coordinator for UNLV is, but he should probably start looking for a new job after the Rebels gave up over 600 yards for the second consecutive game. With the win, BYU moves to 5-1 and stays in the Top 20. That's good.

Utah 24, Colorado State 17
-If the Frogs are to jump Boise in the standings because of TCU's advantage in the SOS department, they really need both BYU & Utah to be ranked. That was in jeopardy Saturday as the Utes trailed Colorado State 17-3 late in the 3rd quarter in Fort Collins. They rallied to win, though, and are now 4-1 and ranked 24th in the AP Poll. Just keep winning, Utes (until you come to Fort Worth).

Wyoming 37, New Mexico 13
-New Mexico is just TERRIBLE. I think we're past the point of hoping they can turn it around at all, so everyone else load up a W against the Lobos! It was Wyoming's turn this weekend, and despite a close 17-13 score at halftime, the Pokes scored 20 unanswered in the second half to pick up their 4th win of the year and increasing their odds of making a bowl game.

UPDATE: Looks like UNM Head Coach Mike Locksley may not last the week.

What went wrong:
Southeast Louisiana 51, Texas State 50 (OT)
-Yuck. The Bobcats are now 2-3 after missing a PAT in overtime. Gross.

Game Awards - TCU v. Air Force

Not much to say about this one outside of Jimmy "Luxury Tax" Young finally having a break out game. Otherwise it was cold, snowing, ugly, and most importantly, a W. Lets move on to CSU. With a high of 65 and a 0% chance of rain for Saturday I am sure our boys will be happy to not have to battle the elements as well as the opposition.

Defensive Player of the Game

I'm giving this one to our two linebackers Washington and Carder. They have both stepped up this season in replacing the Henson/Phillips duo. Against the Falcons they combined for 18 tackles (2 of those for loss), 2 pass break ups and a sack. Not massive numbers, but very consistent as usual. If these guys can keep it up, this season will continue to go well.

Offensive Player of the Game

It's about freaking time someone (someone being our OC) realized that we have one of the best receivers in the country. Luxury Tax was finally able to get his break out game of the season against the Falcons. He had 113 yards on only 6 catches. And they weren't all easy, the catch at the three in the first quarter to set up the Turner TD was a thing of beauty (even if the jack ass CBS college guys said that it reminded him of his go ahead td catch against Clemson...idiot). I just hope that this is the spark that he needs and the reminder to Mike Schultz Jr. up there that he is one hell of a talent. Also credit is due to Turner who once again put up a solid day. With his first quarter TD set up by LT he passed Kenneth Davis for fifth on the career rushing touchdown list (24). Now if he can just hold onto the football.

Special Teams Player of the Game

I will begrudgingly give this one to Evans since he was named MWC special teams player of the week. His two field goals of 38 and 27 yards ended up being the difference in the game, and given that it was 27 below zero, I guess he deserves some credit.

Play of the Game

With 15 seconds left Dalton kneeled the ball and the game was over. Thank god.


Game 5: Air Force Falcons

It's funny that the Air Force is decidedly not gay,
yet two of the people most often associated with it are now gay.

After the game, a wise man said to me – well, lyle – that “Hey, in 15 degree weather, a win is a win,” so I guess that’s something ot take away from all of this, but man, why did it have to be so close? Who would’ve EVER thought that Kerley would be the one who almost blew it for us? Was Ross Evans really the player of the game? I understand the weather factor and how in sub freezing temperatures that football is like a really slick rock, but it sure didn’t slow down the Academy. It felt a lot like 2007 and fortunately enough, we ended up on the right side of the 20-17 score this time. It may have felt like a hollow victory, but the great teams win these types of games and keep rolling.

Offense – B-. The bottom line here: Three turnovers, including two inside the five. We were fortunate enough to rebound this week, but that isn’t going to get it done in two weeks, Frogs. Heck, the way Wyoming is playing, and with the overwhelming chance of terrible weather for that game, it might not get it done then. Still, I won’t be too harsh, because the weather obviously played much more of a factor that we thought it would inititally and, let’s be honest, it looked MISERABLY cold. The biggest disappointment for me though might have been Jake Kirkpatrick, if only because the Star Telegram wrote an article praising him the day of the game, and I saw him get beat badly for 2 sacks. Our O-line was overwhelmingly larger and better than their defensive line, but still got to Dalton three times. Our protection has been great all year, so I don’t see this being a major issue, but that definitely played a role in this ugly offensive performance inside the 20.

In all fairness, Red stayed the course and played the game just as he has all year, going 16-28 for 198 yards with no TDs and an INT, although the INT wasn’t all his fault as it was a fair throw that bounced off of Evan Frosch. I’d use this time to say that perhaps this is why Dalton doesn’t throw to tight ends, but the later first down play to Logan Brock was SO clutch and hopefully silenced the Red haters out there. Red also rushed 10 times for 57 yards. Most importantly, though, was the reemergence of the Dalton/Young hookup. After coming into the game with only 7 catches for 2 TDs, Dalton ended up hitting Young 6 times for 113 yards, including the first play of the game. Dalton also hit Young on a beautiful turnaround catch down the sidelines that set up our first score of the day, a Turner TD. Young moved into 10th place all time in receiving yards for TCU with the big day. If you’re going to give an offensive MVP, it’s gotta be Luxury Tax.

Running the ball, TCU was outgained for the first time all season, only gaining 195 yards on 52 attempts. The slick field conditions definitely played a role in the low total, as well as the 3 Dalton sacks. Turner led all rushers with 73 yards on 18 carries and a TD, but his one fumble, which occurred inside the Air Force 5, was inexcusable and kept the game a lot closer than it should have been. Ed Wesley and Matthew Tucker also rushed for 49 and 29 yards, respectively. Jeremy Kerley rushed twice for 5 yards, but it was his second of the day that played the biggest impact. Late in the fourth quarter after the Frogs had held Air Force to a 4 and out, Kerley took an outside handoff to continue icing the game… and fumbled it right back to Air Force, leading to a touchdown that pushed the score to 20-17. Fortunately AF ran the worst two minute drill in the history of the game on the drive, but ouch, what a terrible time to have your second fumble on the year. Perhaps this is why the Wildfrog has been pretty quiet this year? You can bet the coaching staff is going to work on his carries this week before giving him any more touches.

As mentioned, Jimmy Young led all receivers with 6 catches for 113 yards. Everyone else, though, was pretty quiet with Jeremy Kerley catching 3 balls for 26 yards, Antoine Hicks catching 2 for 27, both of which went for big first downs, and Bart Johnson, Logan Brock, Curtis Clay and Ed Wesley with 1 a piece. The Brock catch was arguably the highlight of that bunch, but Curtis Clay continues to impress as his catch was perfectly timed and he caught the ball right as he turned around. Overall, not a great day for the offense with the three turnovers and sacks, but they scored 3 more than the other guys, and that’s 2 more than GP asks of them.

Final Numbers - 23 First downs, 393 total yards (195 rush, 198 pass), 3 fumbles – 2 lost, 1 INT, 8/16 third down conversions, 4/6 red zone, 33:25 TOP.

Defense – A-. The 229 rushing yards given up by our defense is going to look like a lot, especially considering we came into the game onwing the #1 rush D in the country, but Air Force also didn’t meet their season average of 291, so I guess everybody wins… except the Falcons. Seriously, though, the defense looked phenomenal during the first half, holding the Falcons to 124 yards and only getting beat on a well timed halfback pass that, had Rafael Priest not slipped, may have been broken up in the end zone. However, when you turn the ball over three times, it keeps your defense on the field well longer than you’d like and eventually an offense like Air Force is going to break a big play, which they did several times, including a reverse play to Mikel Hunter that went for 36 yards. We did slow the pass down as Connor Dietz went 6-17 for only 42 yards, but he’s their backup QB, so that’s supposed to happen. Another thing that sticks out to me is that we only had one sack, but when the ball is handed off every single play, it’s hard to get to the QB quick enough. Also, with up to 4 guys setting up in the backfield, you can’t be overly aggressive in your blitzing because the ball could be going anywhere. Still, the defense played a great game and was the key difference in the game as the offense simply couldn’t put the ball in the end zone with great frequency.

Once again, Daryl Washington lived up to his billing, recording 10 tackles, including one for a loss, but he wasn’t the only linebacker making noise as Tank Carder – still wearing those arm bands, even with sleeves – had 8 tackles himself, including the team’s only sack, and he broke up 2 passes. The paper may have listed Washington as the breadwinner on defense, but they obviously didn’t watch what Tank was doing out there. Tekkerin Cuba, getting his first start due to Alex Ibolye not making the trip – any news on that one, guys? – played a solid game, totaling 7 tackles, as did Tejay Johnson. Wayne Daniels continues to be a machine on the line, coming up with 6 tackles, and Cory Grant and Kelly Griffin did their part with 4 a piece. My main man from the 903 Corderra Hunter came up big in the fourth quarter, breaking up a key first down pass as well as making a big stop to force a fourth and long which the Falcons didn’t convert. It’s a shame Kerley turned the ball over on the next play or Hunter’s stop would be remembered among the best of the game, if not the best. It should be noted that Nick Sanders sat for the second consecutive game.

Overall, a solid defensive performance, despite the score line, as they held the Air Force offense to only 287 total yards and 17 points.

Final Numbers – 287 total yards (229 rushing, 58 pass), 14 first downs, no INTs, 26:05 TOP, 5/16 third down, 2/3 fourth down, 3/3 red zone, 1 sack.

Special Teams – A. As David Letterman taught us last week, sometimes you have to man up and admit you made a mistake, and I’ll admit, I made one. I’ve been very hard on Ross Evans this season based almost solely on one failing performance in the clutch and his habit of missing extra points which, while not excusable on his part, isn’t exactly fair. However, after Saturday night, I’ll ease up on the guy. Those field goals, in those conditions, were HUGE and the situation was almost as big as Utah last year – not quite, but in the same ballpark. Like most of you, I assumed he’d miss at least one of those field goals and was mentally getting back on defense, but he came through big and is reason 1b why we won that game. You’d like the offense to put the ball in the end zone and avoid those situations, but if he can continue to do that, then god bless him. Great job, Evans. Congratulations, you’re off the hot seat.

Continuing last week’s trend, Jeremy Kerley continued to shine on special teams, racking up 120 return yards, including a 52 yard kickoff return to set up Evans’ second field goal on the night, the winner, mind you. No TDs this week, but I suppose we shouldn’t be greedy. Speaking of ?kickoffs – why go back with Sharples and risk a bunch of penalties? Evans can go out there and kick the ball to the five or ten yard line every time and he typically keeps it in bound. I hope we aren’t wasting a scholarship on that guy. Still, maybe TCU should bring back men’s soccer simply for the sake of finding a guy who can kick the ball to the end zone? I’m just sayin…

Anson Kelton had a pretty mediocre evening, punting for times for a 41 yard average, but he did manage one for the highlight reel. Clinging to a 20-10 lead, the Frogs were stopped deep in their own territory and were forced to give it back to Air Force, who was playing with a ton of confidence at the time. Kelton’s punt didn’t look great coming off his foot, and the Air Force return man apparently felt the same way as he let it bounce over his head, expecting a kickback. Instead, the ball took a very friendly TCU kick and rolled to the Air Force 9 yard line, 72 yards after it left Kelton’s foot. This led to the big 4 and out series for the Falcons and, although they ended up scoring soon afterwards, played a big part in the outcome.

Final Numbers – 2/2 Field Goals (38,27), 2/2 extra points, 41 yard punt average, 6 yard punt return average, 32 yard kick return average, 63 yard kickoff average, no touchbacks.

Overall. I thought this one would be close –I just didn’t think it'd be THIS close. I hope we don’t’ have to depend on the kicking game to win us too many games from here on out, but for now I’ll take it. It’s always a part of these recaps to think about what could’ve been and, let’s be honest, it should’ve been 28-7 early in the third quarter and out of reach. However, when our offense falters, it seems to ramp up our defensive effort as they played a fantastic game for the most part and kept Air Force out of the end zone almost all game. I have to think Air Force is going to look at that last drive and think about what could’ve been as they wasted close to 3 minutes off the clock in order to drive 54 yards, which allowed TCU to simply kneel out the game after the failed onside attempt.. I guess you win by the run and you die by the run. Regardless, you have to give Air Force tons of credit as they aren’t the biggest guys, and most of them probably wouldn’t be playing college football at another school, but they’re really a pretty good football team. I fully expect them to knock off either BYU or Utah this season and finish in the top 3 in the conference. As WWHD said, it’s hard to cheer against a service academy, and now that this week is over, I’ll certainly be pulling for them the rest of the way. Great win for the Frogs in their third straight bad weather game and let’s hope that this week brings clear skies and allows our offense to run smoothly. Go Frogs!

Morning Dump

Pollsters, weather unkind to Frogs Star-Telegram

TCU's win over Air Force doesn't impress AP voters Star-Telegram
-Doesn't factor into the BCS, so fuck 'em

TCU men's coach finds time for team and family Star-Telegram

TCU slides to No. 12 after dicey win over Falcons AP

CSU primer: TCU Horned Frogs Denver Post

Rams at pivotal point in season with bout vs Horned Frogs looming Coloradoan

BYU's task this week: don't look ahead to TCU Salt Lake Tribune

Non-AQ power rankings, week 7 ESPN

Admit it, the MWC just stinks Deseret News

Around the MWC USA Today