Even in a "rebuilding" year, Horned Frog fans have come to expect their team to be among the nation's best. We'll obviously learn a little more about this 2011 squad as the season progresses, but following Saturday's game against Louisiana-Monroe we can directly compare the Frogs to the #5 team in the country, Florida State, who beat the Warhawks 34-0 in Week 1.
On the defensive side of the ball, the biggest statistic is clearly the goose-egg on the scoreboard. But Jimbo Fisher's Seminole D also only allowed 191 total yards for the game- 92 passing and 99 rushing. Watching a Horned Frog defense hold an opponent to under 100 yards rushing isn't all that uncommon, but I think I speak for all of us when I say we'd be VERY pleasantly surprised if the pass rush and secondary were able to limit Kolton Browning and the Warhawk aerial attack to less than 100. If the Frogs were able to pitch a shutout this Saturday (after giving up 50 and 19 in the first two games), the pattern-recognition skills instilled in me by the series of meaningless standardized tests I've taken in my life would lead me to believe that they'd hold Portland State to -7 points next week.
When the 'Noles had the ball, they had no problem moving the ball with their passing game. EJ Manuel threw for 252 yards and backup Clint Trickett tacked on another 28 in mop-up duty. Casey Pachall is averaging 228 yards a game so far, so perhaps he increases that in his first home start? But the Warhawks also were able to hold the Seminoles to just 92 yards rushing- a performance followed by them allowing just 26 ground yards to Grambling State last week for a two-game average of (let me grab a pencil & paper real quick...) 59 yards per game. TCU's offensive success has long been built on balance, so establishing that running game will be important if the Frogs are to fair as expected in this one.
Did I just earn the post-game stats page a few extra views, or am I the only stats nerd out there?