This just in: Baylor is STILL not very good at this game you can "Foot Ball."
Before I begin, for those of you who haven’t yet checked out our “question exchange” with theebears.com – not sure their level of interest as every single comment I’ve seen on there has been from our readers – I HIGHLY, HIIIIGHLY recommend it. Their catty responses to our answers were just the beginning; they absolutely knock their responses to our questions out of the park. Apparently someone missed out on theesarcasm. FYI Baylor fans – making fun of our basketball team does not hurt our feelings. In fact, we welcome it. Pretty sure they’re a little bit more impressed with our two star recruits this morning.
As for the game itself? What more could you have asked for? The defense was stunning, the offense was better, Baylor couldn’t have accounted for more than 7,000 of the second biggest ever crowd in Amon G Carter history – see Baylor, we don’t need our opponent to fill our stadium. That’s what happens when you’re the #4 team in the country – and, to top it all off, Ross made a field goal! Winners all around. After hearing all week how ready Baylor was and how, at least according to sources at theebears, TCU will never “out-athlete” Baylor, I loved the touch GP showed by pulling out the all blacks on a crisp, near 100 degree afternoon and basically saying, “We’re going to make the elements a factor for ourselves and still kick your ass.” And we did. I didn’t make the Tennessee Tech game, but I don’t see how it could’ve possibly been much uglier than that. But without further ado, let’s take a closer look at The Feeding.
Offense – A+. Really, as much as a homer as I am, I try to keep a semi-level head when breaking down the game because only rarely is a team absolutely perfect in any one aspect of the game. But, after re-watching the majority of our offensive series yesterday afternoon, I’m not really sure how I can justify not giving them a perfect grade because they were absolutely unstoppable. When your team is able to call the dogs off before halftime, you know you’ve done something right, and Saturday it all started with AD for Heisman. I’d been calling for Andy to have a breakout game, and while I thought it might be last week, the fact that it happened against the Bears works out well for me. I’m sure you’ve all read the stat-line, but take another gander. 21-23, 267 yards, 2TDs/0 INTs. Highest completion percentage in a single game in TCU history. Didn’t have an incomplete pass until almost halfway through the second quarter. And of his two incompletions, one was an overthrow in the end zone that may have been intentional due to the coverage on Dawon, and the second didn’t come until 3 minutes left in the third. Dalton was so good Saturday, that I’m not even sure what else to say about it. On the first TD to Kerley, the safety bit HARD on the play action, fell down and Dalton made maybe the easiest TD throw of his career. The TD to Kerley in the fourth would've been an interception if a lot of guys had tried to squeeze the ball in there, but Dalton put it on a dime where only Kerley could get his hands on it and put the 45th nail in Baylor’s coffin. Oh yeah, and just for good measure, he outrushed Robert Griffin on less than a third of the attempts. In his postgame interview, Dalton kept classy as you’d expect, but the shit eating grin on his face said it all. He knows he was almost single handedly responsible for crushing the souls of all the Baylor faithful and sending them back to the drawing board, and he couldn’t have been more thrilled. Sorry Dan Jenkins, Sam Baugh was a hell of an athlete, but I'm not fully on board with your assertion that Dalton doesn't even come close.
So when I say Dalton “almost single handedly” beat Baylor, I have to clarify because once again his partner in crime, Ed Wesley, destroyed any slim chance the Bears might have had of a late comeback. We’ll all remember his first touchdown where he ran through the defender and walked it in for 49 yards. I just remember watching the safety on that play; he was CONFRUSED. Apparently they didn’t see that kind of speed against Buffalo. For the day Wesley had 165 yards on 19 carries and 2 TDs, plus one of the greatest hi top fades you’ve ever seen since the early 90s. I think this could be the reason for his outbursts this year. He had 4 TDs last year. He already has 4 this year. I feel pretty confident he’s going to have a new career high by the time this thing is over.
Also having a standout day on offense was Jeremy Kerley who hauled in 6 passes for 69 yards on two TDs. That first TD was only 28 yards, but for the record, didn’t it seem WAY longer than that at the time? Maybe it was just me. Even more so than in the past I feel, we’re running a true spread offense, so the days of Jimmy Young having near 1000 yard seasons are probably over, but I’m not complaining. Long TD bombs are fun – and Antoine Hicks has yet to get in on that game, so look for that in the upcoming weeks – but the results we’re getting from short out routes is getting the job done and with the speed of our receivers, chances are they’re just as liable to break an 8 yard pass for a big gain as they are to blast one down the sideline on a deep route.
Kerley also was the team’s second leading rusher with 49 yards on 4 attempts, including a huge 4th and 1 end around for 16 yards that led to our 4th TD on the day. Fullback Luke Shivers also got in on the fun, scoring from 2 yards out on his only carry. Backups Aundre Dean and Waymon James saw action late, but perhaps the most impressive of the non-starters was Casey Pachall on what will likely be just called “the stiff arm.” Pachall took an option left, kept it himself, and bulldozed the Baylor corner for a short gain, prompting lots of “oooooooooooohs” from the crowd. We’ll all miss Andy when he’s gone, but this kid is going to be a lot of fun to watch… and fun to listen to announcers mispronunce his name
Also catching passes were Jimmy Young, Bart Johnson and Josh Boyce, who caught 3 a piece, and we finally got the tight ends involved in the air attack as Evan Frosch and Logan Brock had a catch each. Nothing ridiculous from Skye Dawson or Antoine Hicks this week, who also had one each, but just give it time. There are just so many weapons on this team that not everyone can get their numbers week in week out. Also, you have to ask yourself: Until proven otherwise, do you want to take the ball out of the hands of Wesley or Kerley? Didn’t think so.
558 total offensive yards and SEIS touchdowns against a team that, as we well know, hadn’t given one up all year. Scored on our first five drives. The Frogs had ten more minutes of possession on the day and only 3 penalties for 25 yards, which is a serious improvement. Only 3 of 8 on third down, but when you’re scoring as quickly as we did and averaging 8 yards per play, you don’t have to convert too many.
Before I move on though, I just want everyone to realize how unbelievably talented our offensive line is. Baylor, despite what you saw Saturday, has a decent front 4, including an absolute beastmaster at nose tackle, and our guys absolutely shut. Them. DOWN. When I was watching the game yesterday, rather than focusing on the skill players I spent the majority of my time watching both of our lines play, and given my amount of offensive line grading expertise boils down to my days as a tight end at Foster Middle school, I can still say that our line can compete with anyone in the country. I truly believe that. Marcus Cannon and Jake Kirkpatrick may get most of the attention, but I’m not so sure Kyle Dooley and Josh Vernon aren’t as good. And did anyone notice redshirt freshman Ty Horn? Dude is HUGE and looked like he’d been a starter from day one. Just an all around phenomenal job.
Defense – A. So when you look at the stat sheet and see that the defense held Baylor to 263 total yards, 15 first downs, only one score and basically killed any of Robert Griffin’s dreams of leading Baylor to the promised land, you’ll likely wonder why they don’t get the A+. Well, I have to nitpick on Greg McCoy, because that’s three times he’s been burned for scores this year and I’m not sure what’s going on there. He’s supposedly the fastest or second fastest player on the team and you’d think he could keep up with just about anyone. It was hard to tell on the play whether he got turned around or not or what exactly happened, but he was at least 3 steps behind the Baylor receiver and just got burned. Fortunately it hasn’t cost us a game yet, but that is definitely something that needs to be worked on in practice this week because you know June Jones is going to try and exploit it Friday.
But enough of the bad, let’s talk about the greatest player in division one football history, Robert Griffin the third. Sorry bro, thanks for playing! On the broadcast, they showed a quote from ole RG3 this week that I somehow missed that was condescending towards TCU’s players, suggesting that they lack talent and that they’re basically a bunch of “world beaters.” I think it’s safe to say he regrets those accusations. Dude got absolutely OWNED. Has he had a worse game in his career? I honestly don’t want to go back through all of his splits, but at least this year he hasn’t come close.16/28 on passes for 164 yards and one score. But hey, at least he didn’t throw an INT. Running the ball, he had 21 yards on 14 attempts. A dual threat QB indeed. He was also sacked thrice. So what happened? Well, much like my grading of the offensive line, I’m not well versed in defensive strategy, but basically GP and Bump were like “Dear defense, make Robert Griffin’s life a living hell this afternoon” and they were like “Yes sir.” He was running for his life all afternoon and never knew where the blitz was coming from. DJ Yendrey and Kelly Griffin each got him once, while Stansly Maponga and Cory Grant combined for a third. On Grant’s sack, he came from absolutely out of nowhere around the end and caught Griffin before he had any chance to react. And Grant is a large man. Speed, indeed. Late in the game, Griffin was dejectedly sitting on the bench by himself when we started a rousing chorus of, “Rob-ert-griff-in” in Section V, to which he turned around and started raising his hands in a taunting gesture. Way to be, RG3. Way to be. Thanks for making my afternoon more enjoyable than I could’ve possibly imagined.
Leading the team in tackles were Colin Jones and TeJay Johnson who had 7 a piece, and it looks like Jones has certainly recovered from his season ending injury last year. The two combined for 2 tackles for loss. Following those two was Tank Carder who was all over the field Saturday, finishing with 6 tackles, and Jason Teague had 5. Tanner Brock and Maponga had 4, Alex Ibiloye had 3, and a whole host of guys had 2 a piece, including backups Jurrell Thompson, Kenny Cain, Greg Burks and Travaras Battle. Wayne Daniels was mostly quiet, tallying 2 tackles and one for loss, but I think he’s shomer shabbas and was observing the traditional day of rest to try and keep the game competitive. A noble gesture, but it didn’t work.
For the day, Baylor was 2 of 12 on third down conversions and averaged less than 5 yards per play. If Art Briles doesn’t choose to use the game film as a “learning experience” on what it’s like to play with the big kids, he can always submit it as the latest installment in the Faces of Death DVD series.
Special Teams – A+. Jeremy Kerley and Greg McCoy. SO CLOSE. SO SO CLOSE. If you haven’t watched lyle’s posting of the Kerley near-punt return TD, stop reading now and scroll down to it because it’s worth checking out. And even if punter tackle saving special teams TDs aren’t for you, the block Greg Burks lays to spring Kerley around the edge is AWESOME. For the day, Kerley returned four punts for 84 yards, including the aforementioned 45 yarder to set up a TD and did not return any kicks. You know, because Baylor didn’t get to kick off much. Greg McCoy took his one kick return 31 yards and ALMOST broke it to the end zone, but it was ultimately called back on a penalty. No matter, just 10 more yards for our offense to pad some stats as we scored on that drive as well.
Legging the ball, Anson Kelton, Kevin Sharples and Ross Evans all did their part. Kelton has certainly busted out of his slump from last year, punting three times for a 48 yard average and downing 2 inside the 20. Sharples got some serious action on 8 kickoffs, putting one deep for a touchback and averaging 63 yards. He had a few that were short, but when I started screaming my displeasure I was informed that they were into the wind, so I’ll let it slide. And Evans, as mentioned earlier, was perfect on on his PATs and kicked a 23 yard field goal to push the lead to 38-3.
The coverage team let Baylor get some pretty decent yardage on kickoffs, but never let them bust a huge return and the defense did their job to keep them out of the end zone despite the field position. The Bears also only returned one punt for 8 yards.
Overall Impression. A very nice win for TCU and although we didn’t move up in the rankings, we picked up some points on Boise and now only sit about 50 points behind them. That could all change with a win in Dallas Friday and a Boise loss to Oregon State the next evening in front of the Gameday crew. Nine of our last ten wins have been by at least 27 points and we've won 15 of our last 18 against supposedly superior BCS competition. The Baylor fans – totally broken, by the way – were nowhere near as prevalent as anyone expected them to be. In fact, I can probably count on my hand how many I saw before the game started hanging out tailgating or walking around. But, when your team is riding sky high expectations and gets punched in the mouth that early on, it’s a tough pill to swallow. Baylor is always going to nay say TCU no matter the results on the field. It’s just in their genes so we may as well get used to it. But if their “superior athletes” aren’t going to back it up on the field, then it’s all just a bunch of empty threats and silly aggression by a bunch of timid, broken fans. Still, I wish them well the rest of the year – we need the strength of schedule boost, after all – but honestly? This looks like another 4-5 win season max for Baylor and another Christmas season at home. Art Briles may eventually turn that thing around, but I bet he’s wishing he’d given more consideration to the Lubbock job this off season.
Next up on the schedule is SMU this Friday night on ESPN2. Opening line is 17.5 points. The Ponies started slow this weekend before pulling away from Washington State 35-21. In the past we’ve pretty handily taken over their stadium and made it Amon G Carter east, but this year the Ponies are much more enthused than normal and I expect a fierce home atmosphere. Or at least as fierce as 32,000 folks can be. Should be a great one and I’ll have a preview up at the end of the week. In the meantime, let’s enjoy the victory this weekend a little bit more, but realize that there’s still a lot of work to do to finish this thing out. Patterson will have the boys ready. We better be as well.