Monday, November 16, 2009

Snow in the forecast for Laramie

Like any TCU fan, when I saw that the Frogs were scheduled to make a trip to Laramie in late November, my first thought was the weather. It can get downright brutally cold and snowy up there, especially at this time of year. As of now,'s forecast for Saturday calls for a high of 36 degrees with a 30% chance for snow during the day. We'll keep you up to date on the conditions in Laramie, but for now all we can do is hope that it doesn't get too bad and be thankful that the Frogs have already played a very cold game this year.

Final Thoughts on the Utah Game

What a day Saturday was. Game Day, the crowd, and of course the Frogs destroying Utah, 55-28. Here are a few of my thoughts on the game:

-When I fret about the 2010 TCU defense being without Hughes, Washington, Sanders and Priest, I always come back to Tank Carder. He is the cornerstone for Bumpas' hounds for the next two years.

-Speaking of Carder, how ridiculous was the student section after his touchdown when they played Sandstorm? I really hoped they got that on TV, but they didn't.

-Was I the only one who thought the new uniforms looked stupid last week? Everyone was so excited, I didn't want to say anything. But they looked pretty bad ass in real life. While the jersey and the helmet should probably remain a one-time only thing, those pants might have a future.

-Tyler Luttrell: YES. Gotta love seeing hits like that, especially from your walk-on's.

-Holding is legal when you're going up against Jerry Hughes. This apparently the sentiment of every officiating crew that has worked a TCU game this year. I guess it's only fair.

-Did anyone else think we'd actually hit 50,000? TCU's largest crowd ever before Saturday was 47,280 way back in 1984. And that was against UT, so you know there were quite a few Whiny Orange in the house that day. Not only did we beat that by over 3,000, but it was almost entirely TCU fans. Just to save you from doing the math yourself, 50,307 is 114% of the stadium's capacity and 579% of the school's enrollment.

Week 10 Recap.

This kid REALLY hates the BCS

So after dismantling your last true hurdle on the road to a conference championship and a likely BCS bid, as fans we shouldn't be too angry, right? WRONG! Fourth place just isn't good enough, not when your resume is equally as strong if not stronger than the current third place team, and not when your team is playing the best football of anyone in the country. Unfortunately for us, until someone else loses, 4th place will be our ceiling, and even worse, Cincinnati could jump us if they beat Pitt to close out the season. So, just like GP won't allow his team to pat themselves on the back for too long so they don't lose focus, the Utah victory was last week, the Sugar, Fiesta, Orange and Rose Bowls sound like Poinsettia, and I hate the BCS. Also, just in case you haven't seen this in regards to the above mentioned third place team, this should do the trick of getting your blood pressure all out of whack. All of the undefeated teams won this week, so all wins are bad.

#1 Florida 24, South Carolina 14. Sure, the Gators won, but how do you really feel if you're a fan right now? 10 points? Against a 6-5 team that was blasted by Arkansas last week and barely beat NC State earlier in the year? This is your #1 team, voters? Jeeeeeesus. And it was actually 17-14 in the fourth quarter until a late Florida pick. Florida was on upset alert this weekend and survived, but I continue to be underwhelmed by this team and if they win the National Championship I'll throw up. 199 yards Tebow? Attaboy. It should also be noted that Florida needed 3 USC turnovers to seal the deal. If their defense wasn't so good, this team would be Vanderbilt.

#2 Alabama 31, Mississippi State 3. Now that's more like it, Bama. After extremely close for comfort escapes against LSU and Tennessee, Alabama played up to the hype and blew out a team they were supposed to beat. Typically anemic QB Greg McElroy threw for 3 TDs and Heisman frontrunner Mark Ingram rushed for 149 yards and 2 TDs to lead the Tide. I guess I won't be too cynical about this one.

#3 Texas 47, Baylor 14. All I can remember about this one is pulling up the score, seeing 40-0, dropping an F bomb, then putting it out of my mind. I didn't expect UT to lose this week, but a struggle would've been nice. Colt McCoy and Cody Johnson made sure that Mack could go out and run his mouth a little more this week about the BCS system, combining for 4 of the Horns 6 TDs. Baylor had 6 rushing yards. Great effort though, guys. Also, folks-including me-will try and get you fired up for UT heading to aggy on Thanksgiving Day as a potential season derailing upset. Just check the aggy/OU box score from Saturday if you'd like to get in a bad mood.

#5 Cincy 24, West Virginia 21. Not as close as it looks as Cincy was up 24-14 until 39 seconds in the fourth, but still a close call for the Bearcats. After a week off, they have a home game vs the Schultz' then the huge game at Pitt for the Big East Championship, and potentially National Championship if all goes well. Zach Collaros threw for 205 yards, but his numbers will be down because Cincy inserted Tony Pike in red zone situations as a way to ease him back in after being out with an injury. He threw 2 TDs on 2 completions. Good eye.

#6 Boise State 63, Idaho 25. Ah, would've been nice. After toying around with Louisiana Tech, Boise read some of their less than praiseworthy press clippings and absolutely unloaded on their in-state rival. A lot of the chatter re: Idaho turning the tables in Idaho died out in recent weeks, but it still would've been nice to see a bit more effort from the Vandals. We rip on Kellen Moore here on occasion, mostly because we hate hate hate his team, but check this: 22 completions, 299 yards, 5 TDs, 0 INTs. He is definitely the one guy with no Heisman hype that deserves it - RIP Case Keenum. It's a lot easier to give praise to Boise when they don't pose any sort of threat to your season.

The recap may have been a little more cynical this week, but after seeing how badly we dominated Utah Saturday night, I'm really, really pissed off that the Frogs have very little chance of playing for a national title. Two more games for everyone to turn the tables. If Florida State beat Florida, Auburn beats Bama or aggy beats Texas, drinks are on me for life at the Oui, so long as Annie Lennox and Lee Greenwood are still on the jukebox. Go Frogs!

Game Awards - TCU v. Utah

I wish it looked like this every game.

Defensive Player of the Game

Oh no you did not just try and run that wildute crap against Jerry Hughes. Does this guy love the big stage at home or what? I was having serious flashbacks to BYU last year. I have seen players get angry after a TD is scored on them. It happens all the time. But not very many can come back with a blazing furry and singly handedly make every single play on one series to completely demoralize an opponent. That is exactly what Frogzilla did at the end of the first quarter. He first took down Eddie Wide with partner in crime Wayne Daniels for a two yard loss. He next sprinted out to the sideline to make the tackle on the short pass by Wynn (and had the whole crowd into it by then). And for the icing on the cake, he dips around the edge and takes down Wynn like a bear attacking his prey (see the Aaron Taylor video for Wynn's reaction to Hughes sack). There was no possible way to top these three plays....right? Yes, by blocking the punt, but that's another award. Hughes finished with 8 tackles, 1.5 sacks and 3 hurries. I thought about splitting this one with Tank, but after his overall play I feel he is going to be getting this award often in the future.

Offensive Player of the Game

Can this be given to just one player? Maybe, but if you have been reading this thing all year, I like to spread the love around (unlike the BcS). The three headed monster known as Wesley/Tucker/and Turner strikes again. They combined for 267 yard on the ground with 3 tds. 138 of those yards belonging to Wesley who might have been our first 100 yard rusher of the season but I am too lazy to look it up. Does any one have any idea what we are going to do with all of these running backs next year? The world should be scared.

Special Teams Player of the Game

Was this reallllly happening? Were we really going to get Evansed again? No! Evans came back pretty strong after that first miss and nailed two from 30 and 42 and made all of his extra points. Good job, but not the special teams player of the game. This one goes to Tanner Brock and Tyler Luttrell. They combined for 6 of the first 7 tackles on kick off return and one forced fumble. These guys weren't just making tackles, they were on a mission to destroy who ever wanted to try and return the kick off.

Play of the Game

If Hughes started the demoralization (is that a word? Emanual Lewis come help me out here) of Utah, then than the Tank pick six was the kick in the stomach of a downed opponent. I have probably watched this play as much as the Aaron Taylor video, and I think that Jordan Wynn is still staring down his receiver John Peel. Could he have made it more obvious who he was going to? You can't do that against the Tank. I rank the pandemonium after that play right up there with the Great White Hit.

Super Fan of the Game

All of section X takes this one. From the guy who stole the Utah flag from the top row (not once but twice after they made him put it back the first time) to the first ones on the field after the game, all of X was fantastic. There was a bit of a lull midway in the 2nd after we up by like 80, but when Utah came back and scored, X started rockin again. Who would of thought that we would see a game where 90% of the people would stay in their seats through half time.

Rate this impression of Jordan Wynn by Aaron Taylor

Trust me, this is a must watch. I think I have watched it around 50 times since Saturday and it is hilarious every single time.

Game 10: Utah Utes

This revenge victory was for you and your mustache, George Custer

I know I’ve run the Anchorman, “well, that certainly escalated quickly” reference into the ground this season… but, that certainly DID escalate quickly, did it not? I mean, yes, I thought we’d cover the spread, but definitely didn’t expect it to play out the way it did. For one, Jordan Wynn’s final numbers will not end up being the best of his career, but, despite the crushing pick six, Utah has found a fantastic player and I’m already grumpy about having to face him for three more seasons. I thought he’d be a complete deer in the headlights and Jerry Hughes would be teeing off on him, but his offensive line did a pretty solid job protecting him and he moved the ball as effectively against our defense as anyone has all season. Other than that though? Yeesh, rough night for the Utes. Like many of you, it had been a LONG day of preparation for kickoff, and sneak treats were flowing in the stands, so when I looked up at the scoreboard with 10 minutes left in the second quarter and saw that we were up 35-7, I had to nudge my neighbor and make sure I wasn’t asleep in the parking lot somewhere dreaming it. So much for that 31-6 final score prediction. Like 99% of the people that read this site, I’m a complete homer fan so this might come off as such, but seriously, who in the country could beat us right now? Alabama, Florida and Texas all have great defenses, but very little offensive consistency. Honestly, out of those three, Texas is the only one who has shown signs of offensive life in the past month, and they’re ranked behind both. If we don’t get a chance to play one of those three in a BCS bowl, it’ll be the greatest travesty since the cancellation of Arrested Development. Let’s go ahead and relive the pounding that occurred Saturday night at Amon G.

Offense – A+. Just to put it in perspective, Utah came into this game giving up 16 points and 300 yards per game; the Utes ended up giving up 38 points and 382 yards… in the first half. buck, I know how much of a Schultz apologist you are, but I don't think you can argue with those numbers. Given, two of those touchdowns were the result of a pick six and a blocked punt, but it also doesn’t show how we should’ve had at least 3 more points had Ross Evans not missed a chip shot field goal. That moment should’ve given us all brain whiplash thinking back to last year and the eerie similiarity, but with the stadium so fired up and the team making the opening drive look incredibly simple, I don’t think anyone seriously feared a repeat. Scoring 55 points on anyone is quite an accomplishment. Scoring 55 points against a top 10 ranked defense in your biggest home game in decades is quite another. For all of the people out there who thought Patterson was crazy not to tuck tail and run to Auburn or Clemson after last season, I guess this serves as your comeuppance, although I don’t think even GP knew how explosive the other side of the ball would be. Co-coordinators Fuente and Anderson have created one of the most well oiled offensive attacks in all of college football and made TCU into the most complete team of the Patterson era.

As it usually does, this one starts with the ground game, which netted 342 total yards and accounted for 5 of our 7 touchdowns and no one had a bigger impact than Ed Wesley. Ed finished with 12 rushes for 138 yards – an 11.4 yd avg – and a TD, which made him only the second 100 yard rusher on the season for the Frogs and also included a 64 yard gain to set up Matthew Tucker’s second TD. Speaking of Tucker, to quote Borat, wah wah wee wah! He may not have been given a whole lot of credit out of high school for being the 3A player of the year, and was even overshadowed in his own recruiting class by Waymon James, but my goodness that guy is good. His 41 yd TD rush on the opening drive pretty much set the tone for the night and he finished it up with 8 rushes for 69 yards and 2 bookend scores. Overall, we had 8 players touch the ball on the ground, including Joseph Turner (11-63), Andy Dalton (9-48), Jeremy Kerley (2-6-1TD) and Antoine Hicks (1-3-1TD), who is finally back to his, “everytime I touch the ball, I score” ways. Another big night for the run game; another big win for the team.

After a string of above average games for Andy Dalton, you might be surprised to see that he not only threw an interception, but that he also only directly contributed to one TD – a 16 yarder to Ryan Christian, which went the distance mostly due to a great move by the receiver. No matter, 55 points in 55 points, and, regardless of the way things shook out, the run game doesn’t put up the numbers they did without Utah respecting the pass. Overall, Dalton went 17-29 for 207 yards, 1TD and 1 INT, but he did hit Jimmy Young on a huge 28 yard gain to the Utah 1 that, at least to my wobbly eyes, looked like it should’ve been for 6. He also hit Bart Johnson for 37 on a drive that ultimately ended with a tip ball interception on the Utah 0, but seeing as how the score was already 35-7 at that point, I think all will be forgiven. The blessing of having such a balanced offense is that Dalton doesn’t have to be on fire week in and week out, and I don’t think any of us should take that for granted.

Receiving, as evidenced by Dalton’s night, wasn’t the difference making part of the gameplan. Ryan Christian once again led all receivers with 5 catches for 48 yards and a TD, with Jeremy Kerley (4-35), Jimmy Young (3-48) and Bart Johnson (2-51) following suit, but, like I said, this night really belonged to the ground game, and there’s little reason not to completely acknowledge that. Just a phenomenal evening for the TCU offense.

Before I leave it though, the offensive line absolutely needs to be commended for their work Saturday night because without them, none of that would’ve been possible. Utah came into the game averaging over 2 sacks a contest and left Amon G with 0. Dalton had all the time in the world to find an open receiver, and running backs were moving the ball untouched for most of the evening. We averaged 6.7 yards a carry and 6.9 per play which, against that defense, is unbelievably commendable. Maybe the most dominating offensive line of the Patterson era, and certainly the best in the conference.

Final Numbers – 549 total yards (342 rush, 207 pass), 3 fumbles/1 lost, 1 INT, 34:07 TOP, 7/13 third down, 6-8 red zone, 0 sacks.

Defense – A. I think everyone was a little surprised that our defense gave up 28 points to an offense that was good but not great, but as usual, no need to argue with the end result. As I said earlier, Jordan Wynn is a much better QB at this point in his career than I thought he would be and he rarely looked unsettled in the pocket. Even when the pressure got a little too close for comfort – and it happened several times – he had the sense to pack it in for a short pass or throw it away altogether, two things that are typically foreign to a young QB trying to prove his worth in a big game. However, this segment isn’t about what Wynn did do but what our defense did to contain him, so onward we go.

The man, the myth, the Zilla was every bit as ferocious as we thought he’d be and that Utah tackle who talked all week about how fired up he was to be going against him is probably walking a little funny today because Hughes absolutely ripped him a new one. 8 tackles, including 2.5 for a loss, 3 QB hurries and 1.5 sacks – not Hughes’ best game, but definitely not the Utes’ either. Oddly enough though, Hughes wasn’t even the brightest spot on our defense this weekend – that would have to be Tank Carder. Carder had already achieved some serious status by his play on the field even before we all read about his life threatening wreck that would’ve derailed most football careers. After Saturday night though, I don’t think there can be any doubts about how good this guy will become. I think his 15 yard TAINT – touchdown after interception, sorry to use a Bill Simmonsism – will be remembered by most of us as the play of the game, but at the same time I think it may have overshadowed what he did the rest of the game. 9 tackles, 1 for a loss, 1 pass breakup and 1 QB hurry. Pretty good night for a guy who hadn’t seen much of the field before this season and was still fighting for his starting role with Tanner Brock in camp, no? Daryl Washington has played extremely well this year, but if you had to give a linebacker MVP award, wouldn’t you at least have to think twice before just handing him the trophy? Speaking of D Wash, he finished third on the team with 7 tackles, including one for a loss, and, I can’t remember the exact play, but I think he may have killed a man on one of the tackles. Kelly Griffin had 5 tackles, and was in on the other half of the Hughes sack, while Tanner Brock and Nick Sanders finished with 4.

As a whole, the Frogs finished with 6 tackles for a loss, which likely explains why Utah RB Eddie Wide, who came into the game having gone for 100 in six straight, finished with 14 carries for 31 yards. As a team, the Utes only finished with 65 net yards on the ground, although Shaky Smithson did score twice on runs out of their version of the Wildcat. Great name for a runner, by the name. WR David Reed ended up with 111 yards on 6 receptions and TD, but 88 of those came on back to back plays on the Utes second scoring drive. I suppose even a broken clock is right twice a day. Utah may have reached their season average in points scored, but they were held to 100 yards below in total yards and, you can’t deny that 65 yards rushing against one of the best ground games in the conference.

Final Numbers - 284 total yards (65 rush, 219 pass), 59 total plays, 1 INT TD, 25:53 TOP, 4/15 third down, 1/2 fourth, 3/3 red zone, 2 sacks.

Special Teams – B. I’m going to start this one off by talking about an aspect of the special teams that is rarely, if ever, mentioned and that is the coverage units. I think they are overlooked mainly because it’s a hard thing to measure and, much like the offensive line, is only called out when something really good or really bad happens, but fortunately this week it’s the former. I think you’ll all remember the whole 21 points in 3 minutes thing that happened for the Frogs early in the second quarter. Well, 7 of those points were directly related to Greg Burks who complemented a bone crushing hit on special teams last week with a punt block this week. Seeing Tanner Brock go airborne each week and come up just short, I always figured he’d be the one to do it this year, but Burks came around the end and stuffed the Utes deep in their own territory, setting up Kerley’s rushing TD and putting the Frogs ahead for good.

Typically one special teams turnover is great, but two is phenomenal, and before the Burks block, Tyler Luttrell absolutely crushed Utah return man David Reed, forcing a fumble and setting up the Frogs with a very short field. Yes, Evans missed the field goal, but I think that play definitely made the Utes realize that they weren’t just going to come into Amon G and have their way.

Now that we have a bone jarring coverage team to complement our phenomenal return game, if we could only get a consistent punter/kicker combination, we’d be a complete team. The devolution of Anson Kelton just continues to baffle me. That guy was so good last year, but a 31.7 yard average, including a 14 yarder, in the biggest game of the season? That punt led to the Utes first scoring drive and tied it up, which made quite a few people around me a little unsettled. Fortunately that drive was followed up with 28 straight Frog points or Kelton would’ve been drowned in a urinal post game.

After the initial miss, Evans made amends by making all 7 of his PATs and his remaining two FG attempts, but it was pretty obvious that last year was still on his mind early in the game. Lucky for him, there’s nothing like a good 4 TD cushion to ease the nerves and the team really bailed him out in this one. That miss shouldn’t be any sort of setback in his growing up process and I don’t expect any issues from him the rest of the year.

As for you, Jeremy Kerley: 2 straight home games without a return TD? CUT HIM! Obviously, I’m kidding there, but even with this “drought,” don’t you still feel like he’s going to take it back every single time he touches it? He finished with 5 punt returns for 56 yards, but it was a 39 yarder in the second quarter that was the biggest as it set up our fourth TD of the night. He and Burks also returned a kickoff a piece, with Kerley taking his for 13 and McCoy 17.

Final Numbers – 2/3 FG, 62 PR yards, 30 KR yards, 7/7 PAT, 31.7 yard punt average, 1 inside 20, 1 blocked punt, 1 forced fumble.

Overall – The story of the game is obviously going to be all of the hoopla that surrounded it. It all started bright and early with Gameday, which the crew called the rowdiest they’d seen, although I think they may have said that at BYU, and ended with a mad rush to the 50 yard line post game. In between, a whole lot of tailgating, a likely conference championship sealing win and a record crowd at Amon G, all wearing purple. For those of us who attended Gameday, I think we can say it went as well as it could’ve possibly gone. The crowd was fired up, the signs were in abundance and far more humorous than they were at BYU – I’m looking at you, “Hey Coach Leach, My girlfriend isn’t fat, she has a thyroid problem” – and Corso’s switcheroo may have been the least controversial in history and I don’t think anyone in the crowd took the bait, including the brave souls who made it in from Salt Lake. Though the crowd thinned at halftime – an absolute disgrace, even with the score being what it was – it was 90% full an hour before kickoff and section X was like nothing I’ve ever seen before, including the Fiesta Bowl chip game. The unis looked much better in person than I would’ve imagined and the team definitely didn’t let it distract them. Heck, GP even cracked a smile post game and gave the fans a pat on the back! I think everyone was a bit skeptical on rushing the field against a team you were favored to beat in a game that doesn’t decide anything, but having Patterson and the AD demand it eventually won everyone over. As with all rushing the field instances, once on the field, no one really knows what to do and kind of wanders aimlessly, but fortunately I managed to run into one Jerry Hughes, Jr and sneak in a photo op – a photo op which apparently slipped my mind until the next day when it arrived in my email. For everyone that was there, how fantastic was it to see ACS filled to the brim with purple? You could tell the team was completely feeding off the energy of the crowd and I don’t know how you could possibly have come into this game and ever stay at a tailgate again. Those Orange and Fiesta Bowl reps sure had a show put on for them and, at least from their quotes after the game, it doesn’t sound like they’d even consider denying the Frogs a place in their game in lieu of a two loss AQ team. The timing of the New Mexico game is completely unfortunate and I have few attendance expectations for that one, but for those of you who can make the trip in, you absolutely must. My family has been long planning a trip to Colorado for the holiday and I didn’t even think twice about requesting for it to be cut short so I could come see my team make it 12-0. Some sacrifices are completely worth it. Go Frogs!

Strength of Schedule Watch: Week 11 recap

Clemson 43, NC State 23
-CJ Spiller did it all on Saturday in Clemson's win over the Wolfpack. He ran for a touchdown, caught a touchdown pass and even threw one himself. With the win, the Tigers have now jumped into the BCS Top 25 and are just a win away from a trip to their first-ever ACC Title game.

SMU 35, UTEP 31
-Remember when SMU used to always be a drag on the Frogs' SOS? Not anymore, because when freshman QB Kyle Padron hit super-star WR Emmanuel Sanders for the game-winning 37-yard touchdown with 4:34 remaining on Saturday, the Ponies are now two wins away from hosting the Conference USA Championship game.

BYU 24, New Mexico 19
-Whoa, what got into the UNM defense? They held BYU to just 41 rush yards and nearly pulled off the big upset, which would've been their first victory of the season. With the Cougar win, however, BYU remains in the BCS Top 25.

Air Force 45, UNLV 17
-The Falcons racked up 431 rushing yards en route to a blow-out win over UNLV, giving them 7 victories on the year.

Good news either way:
Wyoming 30, San Diego State 27
-This one probably would've been worth staying up for, as the winner of this game would be in good position to make it to a bowl game. The Aztecs led 27-6 entering the 4th quarter, but the Cowboys rallied with 24 unanswered points, including a 43-yard field goal with 23 seconds remaining to seal the comeback victory.

Boston College 14, Virginia 10
-Oh man, UVA came real close to pulling off the upset in this defensive struggle. They actually led 10-7 in the 4th quarter, but a QB sneak by BC's Dave Shinskie proved to be the difference.

McNeese State 30, Texas State 27
-McNeese kicked a field goal with about a minute remaining to beat the Bobcats in San Marcos, essentially ending Texas State's Southland Title chances and their I-AA playoff chances.

The Other Namesake Speaks

It would appear that this is certainly my year with the Frogs. My main namesake Andy Dalton is having the season of his life, and now EDSBS has unearthed a show of love and support from my other namesake, Wesley Willis. The Prophet has spoken. May he rest in peace.