Monday, November 23, 2009

Game Awards - TCU v. Wyoming

With the approaching abyss known as finals right around the corner, this edition will be brief.

Deffensive Player of the Game

I love how teams are so scared of Hughes they think it will be better to go against Daniels, bad move. Daniels was part of the dominating line that only allowed 84 yards rushing. WD had 6 tackles, 1 for loss, 1 fumble recovery, 1 sack, and one very nice block on the McCoy return TD.

Offensive Player of the Game

We have been waiting for a Matthew Tucker break out game all year and we finally got it. It is fitting that it came the week after Wesley had his most dominant performance of the year. This two headed monster is scary. Tucker finished with 134 yards on 11 carries with 2 TDs.

Special Teams Player of the Game

Greg McCoy stepped up nicely in the absence of Kerley in the first half. See below...

Play of the Game

I haven't seen a team that really knows when to crush someone's spirit like this one. Last week it was the three TD's in 2 minutes, and this week it was Greg McCoy taking back the kickoff to go up 17-10 on the way to scoring 35 straight.

Superfan of the Game

Well WWHD is now one game away from completing the epic quest of making it to every single regular season game. I believe it would take an act of god like the stadium falling into a sinkhole to keep him from completing this feat. He was accompanied this time by our own Texas Hammer and I am sure they represented us well.

Undefeated Bukkake - Recap AND Preview.

Mark Mangino at the Pregame team meal.

As expected, not much excitement out of the undefeated teams. Brief rundown.

#1 Florida 62, Florida International 3. The Gators rolled up nearly 600 yards of total offense and Tim Tebow broke the SEC rushing TD record with his 54th in the romp. In the words of the great Zack Galifianakis, "File that under who gives a shit."

#2 Alabama 45, Chattanooga 0. The backups got to get their hands dirty in a game that was decided long before the opening kick. Bama held the visitors to 84 yards of total offense. Hope the payday was worth it - I'm sure it was.

#3 Texas 51, Kansas 20. UT fans now have the lasting image of Colt McCoy firing the cannon and banging the big drum as he walked off Joe Jamail field for the last time to beat off to for eternity. All jokes aside, McCoy did set the NCAA record for wins with 43, passed for 4 TDs and nearly 400 yards, and went home and let Jordan Shipley fluff him before mounting his girlfriend in his last home game as a Longhorn.

#5 Cincy - bye.

#6 Boise State 52, Utah State 21. The end result may have been ugly, but this one actually wasn't decided until close to halftime. That may not sound all that convincing, but when you're playing a 3-7 WAC team in primetime and are fighting for an unlikely shot at the BCS, you need to get up in that ass from the opening whistle.

As a bonus treat, and because I've got an hour and change to kill before the end of the workday, I'm going to throw out a preview of the Thanksgiving week games just to whet your whistles a bit. So much for that work/deferring talk from earlier, eh?

#1 Florida vs. Florida State. Sat. 2:30PM CBS. Could be dual career sendoffs here - Tim Tebow's last game at the Swamp and what could be Bobby Bowden's last game as the HC at Florida State. All word out of Tallahassee is that Foghorn Leghorn saved his career by defeating Maryland this past weekend and getting the 'Noles bowl eligible, but, could a win over his archrival convince him to go out on a high note and cede the team to Jimbo Fisher in 2010? On the flipside, could Tebow and the Gators be looking forward to their meeting in ATL with Alabama next weekend and slip up against FSU? I'm thinking the Gators win here, but as with all of these rivalry games, it's best to stay away from hasty predictions.

#2 Alabama at Auburn. Fri. 1:30 PM CBS. Two things stick out to me about this game - one, Ark/Lsu has held the 1:30PM post Thanksgiving time slot on CBS for years and was the one bright spot on that Friday while you're trying to evacuate all of the turkey and dressing from the day before. As the Hogs usually got up for this game much more than any other the rest of the year, it definitely made for some interim-bathroom excitement. The second thing that sticks out is how Auburn habitually bitchslapped the Tide in the aught years, pre Saban, and with a semblance of an offense at times this year, could Gene Chizik completely derail Bama's championship hopes and elevate himself to god status? Probably not, but he's going to have to beat them eventually if he wants to keep that steady paycheck.

#3 Texas at aggy. Thurs. 7:00PM ESPN. In another game that went from a Friday morning staple to a Turkey Day Sneak Treat, UT looks to close out a perfect season in Kyle Field for the second time since 2005. Several variables here - one, aggy actually gets pretty fired up for this one and has pulled off upsets when they've had no business doing so - read: 2 of the last 3 years. Second, 10 years ago the aggys foolishly constructed bonfire collapsed, killing a handful of students in the week leading up to the game. aggy went out that week and beat UT... then lost the next six years straight. Could the 10 year anniversary of said bonfire plus the chance to destroy UTs season and Colt McCoy's Heisman dreams at the same time be enough inspiration to pull the upset? I'm actually not counting the aggys out of this one - mostly because I really, really, really want Texas to lose so much that it has completely clouded my rational methods of deductive reasoning. It's very unlikely, but if aggy pulled this off and spring boarded the Frogs to Pasadena, I swear I'll never say anything cross about the dog worshippers ever again.

#5 Cincy vs. Mike Schultz, PHD. Fri. 11:00AM ABC. In the game that you will watch only until pregame for Alabama/Auburn starts, Cincy gets a pillow fight at home before heading to Pittsburgh for the conference championship next week. The Illini are 3-7, but actually put together a 2 game win streak over conference foes Michigan and Minnesota before falling to Northwestern this past weekend. What bearing does this have on this game? None. Will Schultz win one for the Frogs? Nah. Cincy will win by a lot.

#6 Boise State vs. Nevada. Fri. 9:00PM ESPN2. In the game that was the biggest game of the year in the WAC in the preseason, quickly went off the map after Nevada was smoked by Notre Dame, and is now once again the defacto WAC Championship once Nevada figured out they had legs and could use them, the Wolfpack will travel to the smurf turf hoping to curb stomp the Broncos season. Boise is likely headed Poinsettia-way, or even, gasp, the Humanitarian Bowl, but a win here would at least keep them in the race for a BCS at-large bid, pending an Okie Lite loss to OU on Saturday. This one could potentially be a scoreboard shattering affair, especially as the last time the two teams met in Boise the game went to 4 OTs and ended 69-67 in Boise's favor. Normally I'd love to see Boise go down here, but I think having two no loss non AQ teams throws another wrench in the system and bodes well for the MWC in the future should the Broncos be asked to join. Regardless, I probably will not watch this game.

Last chance for a miracle folks, or "armageddon" as some folks like to call it. Aggy is our most direct chance to Pasadena, but don't count out an SEC upset by any means. Should be a fun weekend and there is a great slate of games to watch outside of the top 6. Perfection Week continues. Go Frogs!

Strength of Schedule Watch: Week 12 recap

While the Frogs took care of business again, it was also a mostly successful week for Frog opponents:

Clemson 34, Virginia 21

-With the win, Clemson wrapped up the ACC's Atlantic Division and will play Georgia Tech on December 5th with a trip to the Orange Bowl on the line. They also moved up to #18 in the BCS rankings. Nice work, Tigers!

BYU 38, Air Force 21
-Max Hall threw for 377 to top 3,000 passing yards for the 3rd consecutive year as the Cougars notched their 9th win of the year and moved up to #19 in the BCS rankings heading into The Holy War against Utah.

Utah 38, San Diego State 7
-Speaking of the Utes, they coasted to their 9th win of the year with a blowout of San Diego State, which eliminated the Aztecs from bowl consideration. Utah is #21 in the BCS rankings.

New Mexico 29, Colorado State 27
-The Lobos finally found a legitimate offensive weapon in Freshman tailback Demond Dennis, who ran for 133 yards, and UNM kicker James Aho kicked a 27-yard field goal with :12 seconds left to give the Lobos their first win of the year. Not that a 1-10 team coming to Fort Worth this weekend is really going to boost the ol' SOS, but at least it's not an 0-11 team, right?

Texas State 28, Sam Houston St. 20
-Bobcats QB Bradley George threw two touchdowns in the second half as Texas State came from behind to beat Sam Houston. With the win, Texas State ends the season 7-4, coming up just short of making the 1-AA Playoffs.

Marshall 34, SMU 31
-With a CUSA Championship Game berth within their grasp, the SMU rush defense decided to take the day off, as the Thundering Herd trampled the Ponies for 262 yards on the ground. SMU still has a sliiiight chance to win the Western Division of CUSA, but more likely appear headed for the Hawaii Bowl.

Game 11: Wyoming Cowboys

Godspeed, Wyoming-Fan-In-Barrel.

"My childish opinion is that their defense is a lot stronger than Texas'. They weren't as successful against our defense in the first half, but our defense is strong. What they were able to do defensively was a lot more than Texas..They are the fastest team we have played all season." - Wyoming quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels

I just wanted to go ahead and throw that out there for all the Dick Justice’s and Purple Pansy’s of the world. In fact, I bet you could ask all three Wyoming QBS the same question – yes, much like last year’s game, we forced Wyoming to turn to their third string QB in order to gain some momentum, albeit not due to the QB eating Robert Henson this time – and you’d get the same response. Oh, I’m sure they’ll say, “Well, they’re just saying that because that game was SO long ago and because it speaks highly of their conference,” but if you’ll recall, Utah Coach Kyle Whittingham said something similar last week, so that logic only goes so far. I plan on doing a brief recap here momentarily, but I think we need to take a few minutes to reflect on this season and look at the week coming up.

Right now, the team is tied with last year’s team for the season record in points scored. Presuming we can eke out just a safety this weekend, or just kick extra points instead of field goals to level the playing field a bit, they will hold the record outright. Andy Dalton is one game behind the team QB record for victories in a career. He can tie the record with a win this weekend and break it with a win in the bowl game… or, if for some reason that fails, he, you know, has 12 more shots at it next year. So yes, given the juggernaut that our offense will likely be next year as well, Dalton could potentially beat Sam Baugh's record by 13 wins. Not too shabby for the ginger red man, especially since he still has his share of detractors out there. Also, with a win Saturday this group of seniors will overtake last year’s group by one win for the winningest senior class ever. I’m just pointing this out because half the student body just got on the bandwagon during Utah week and was probably unaware. So, even though the prospect of an undefeated season and BCS berth are the main storylines to think about this week, I just wanted to point out that there are several other major culiminations at stake.

As for the game this past weekend? About as expected, although it sure didn’t look that way at first. I only have one day of work this week, and when you combine that with there actually being progress related tasks I need to accomplish before heading out today, I’m going to have cut corners with the recap and make it similar to lyle’s final thoughts piece. So for that I apologize in case any of you forgot there was a game and solely depend on my biased statistical rundowns to catch up.

  • What is the deal with all of these red zone turnovers? This has been an issue all year – see: Air Force, Utah – and is just absolutely astonishing. We would’ve obliterated the scoring record weeks ago without them, and we’re very fortunate that our defense is stout enough to hold off opposing offenses until our own can get on track. Not that anyone should complain about a 45-10 win, but it easily could’ve been 59-10 in the third quarter without even breaking a sweat. A few lapses like that shouldn’t be a difference maker against the Lobos, but they would hurt us in BCS game and, let’s face it, who expects us to lose one of those this year?
  • · Round peg, meet round hole. That’s pretty much been how our running attack has fared this year, as it seems like each week someone new steps up and takes charge. Most weeks it is Joseph Turner, but last week Ed Wesley took charge, and this week, with Wesley struggling a bit, Matthew Tucker was the guy to get it done. 134 yards is great. 134 yards and 2 TDs on only eleven carries is quite another. Probably not coincidentally, Wesley got his 140+ last weekend on only 12 carries. If you watched Tucker’s 33 yard burst in the first quarter, not to mention his 48 yard TD run in the third, a significant amount of praise is due to the O line who, it should be mentioned, had 0 penalties this week. On the first run, Marshall Newhouse absolutely devoured two linemen and blasted open a huge hole making it extremely easy for Matthew to pick up the yards. Also of note should be Andy Dalton, who, along with his great protection, took what the defense game him – read: a lot – and gashed the Cowboys for 88 yards on the ground, a personal best. Joseph Turner also rushed 9 times for 69 yards and two scores.
  • I know I have mentioned it before, and the Star Telegram ran a great piece last week about them, but there isn’t enough that can be said about our offensive line this year. I think they’ve given up 9 sacks this season, which is less than 1 per game for you math whizzes out there. There were no penalties for the entire team this week – a first this season – but, seeing as how false starts and holds are your most common penalties, a lot of credit should be given to these guys who came into the season with a lot of question marks. Josh Vernon did leave the game with a knee injury – did he return? I don’t recall – so hopefully that is something that can heal before the bowl game, but I have no doubt that if he isn’t able to play, his replacement won’t miss a beat. We have now rushed for 300+ yards in four straight games as well as rolled up over 500 yards of total offense in those same four games. The best part? We only lose one of them next year, although it is Marshall Newhouse who is the anchor of the line.
  • Another dominating day for the defense as well. Overall, the Cowboys offense, who was admittedly not much to rave about, tailed 178 yards. Yes. 178. In fact, throw out the 81 yard scoring drive – their only one of the day – and it’s less than 100. As Gil LeBreton wisely pointed out, this was 95 yards less than Texas gave up to the same Wyoming team who was far worse then than they are now. Again, just some food for Pansy. Daryl Washington led all tacklers with 11, but the player of the game may have been Jerry Hughes bookend Wayne Daniels who had 6 tackles, but one of those was a sack and he recovered a third quarter fumble which led to a score and put the game out of reach. The D also forced the Cowboys to punt 9 times, forced the above fumble, and had an INT. Oh yeah, and they only allowed five first downs all game. The scoreboard won’t show a shut out, but this was about as close to one of those as you can get without it actually being one.
  • The return game – but not how you imagined it. I think everyone has been waiting for Greg McCoy to do something big seeing as how most teams are smart enough to kick away from Kerley, and he made the most of it this week. With Wyoming having just returned an Ed Wesley fumble 98 yards for a score, tying the game at 10, team and fan morale was at an all time low and, although you had to think we would pull away eventually, I don’t think anyone could help but have flashbacks to tragic games of the past. Enter Greg McCoy, he of the 81 yard kickoff return for a TD, not to mention a late game acrobatic interception. Watching the replay last night, McCoy wasn’t even touched on the way to the end zone. GP will be the first to tell you that the team REALLY needed that and that it was absolutely the spark that ignited the team to victory. It fired the defense up on their next series to hold Wyoming to a 3 and out, and then the Kerley TD on the next play essentially ended any hopes of a Cowboys upset. Speaking of Kerley, pretty sure everyone watching the game thought he was going to break that punt return in the third, but was tripped up right at the last minute. I also bet most of you had to change your underwear after you saw him writhing in pain in the end zone after the Dalton INT. Fortunately it wasn’t anything major.
  • Dalton’s haircut. By now I’m sure everyone realizes that Dalton got the Ryan Christian treatment on his skull due to losing a bet with Kerley, but whew, what a strange sight to see before having that knowledge. If he can continue winning games like he does, dude can get a Justin Timberlake perm for all I care.
  • Kickng Stock: Kelton down, Evans up. Ross only had one FG attempt all game, but he made good on it, and made all of his extra points. Kelton, on the other hand, did not do so well, punting thrice for a 31.7 yard average. The only way this is acceptable is if he made a deal with the devil where the defense can be impenetrable all season, but his punting will be abysmal. I’m actually banking on this theory.
  • The new GP. I wanted to save this for last just because it’s been such a shock to see, but have yall watched GP in his post game interviews as the season has progressed? Sure, he was as hoarse as ever at halftime of the game, but afterwards… was, was that a smile I saw there, Gar Bear? That’s right, GP has not only been praising his team in post game, on field interviews – something that every coach in America hates – but he’s actually cracked a few smiles. This after he railed on the team in practice this week for their sloppy execution. Could he be turning over a new leaf? Let’s hope not – I like my Patterson like I like the wings I enjoyed during the game: spicy, gristled, and leaving opposing teams/intestines running for their lives after 3 hours together on a Saturday. Still, seeing how satisfied Gary is with these guys makes me feel a little bit more grounded in my extremely biased assessments.

Really, a routine win for the Frogs, although it had no business being close early on. Seriously, and I’ll never speak another ill word of him again, but Dalton has now thrown 3 INTs either in the end zone or right outside of it, and that is just something a championship QB cannot do. His vision is usually so crisp and he rarely makes a dangerous throw, but I think Fuente and Anderson need to reevaluate their play calling when deep in the red zone. I mean, it’s not like we don’t have a top notch rushing game with a brusing back in Joseph Turner who is a yard after contact machine. Also, all of his INTs down there have come when we’ve tried to jumble the middle of the field and hopefully catch the defense off guard, when Dalton obviously has more success throwing a swing pass or a fade in those situations. That’s all I’m going to say though, because I love the guy and can’t wait to have him back for another season.

Heading west for the holidays starting tomorrow, so the odds of getting both an undefeated preview and a game preview are very slim, but if I have to defer, it will obviously be to the game preview – although how much is there to preview of a 1 win team? Regardless, if I don’t get anything back out this week, hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving and see you all Saturday.

Morning Dump

TCU's success exceeds preseason expectations Star-Telegram

Fiesta's fine for the Horned Frogs, but is sugar sweeter?

Horned Frogs' success a boom to area businesses
FW Business Press

Steady play of QB Dalton leads fourth-ranked Horned Frogs

BCS at-large bids up for grabs in final weeks AP

Can TCU horn in?
Denver Post

Texas Christian focuses elsewhere in the state Los Angeles Times

Top 3 hold steady; Frogs prepared to leap
Baltimore Sun

BCS can cover itself no matter what TCU does Sporting News

Non-AQ power rankings, week 13 ESPN