Yeah, that's basically what happened.
Well NOW what are we supposed to think? I think we were are reeling a little - no strike that, a LOTTA - bit after the SMU game and while the Frogs performance against SDSU eased the pain some, I'm not sure what we all really expected. Don't get me wrong - clearly we expected to handle New Mexico and handle them easily... but THAT? A history making performance, the first of 3 in the DFW sports realm this weekend? Pretty remarkable. 69-0 should probably never happen between two Division 1 programs even in an SEC/Sun Belt situation; double that for an in-Conference matchup where the winner is a team clearly in a learning year. We knew New Mexico had issues, but yeesh. They're like pre-SMU Jones bad, which is a bad I wasn't sure we'd ever see again in our lifetimes. At some point during a rout like that you actually start to feel a little bad for your opponent, but even when we let up - which was EARLY - they couldn't catch a break. Perfect example: Our third string QB turned third string Safety turned back to third string QB Rick Settle scored on a run play that was not designed to score a TD, at least according to his Coach. It was just that kind of day.
But while the Coaching staff openly admitted that they were pretty much just going to burn these game tapes and dive headfirst into BYU, I have a duty to you, the readers, so let's take one last brief look at Saturday's feeding frenzy.
- Welcome back, Johnny Fobbs! TWO forced fumbles, both of which set up the Frogs first two scores, and it was never close from there. Fobbs has taken a lot of grief this year for not always playing his best, but for at least one afternoon he was on top of things, although it should be noted he also played well against SDSU.
- In Game Experience. lyle informed me earlier that every non-injured/non-redshirting player on our roster got experience Saturday afternoon, and I'm not going to try to dispute that. Quickly running through the highlights - Aundre Dean and Jercell Fort 5 carries, Cam White 1 reception, Rick Settle 1 TD, and lots of guys on defense, including Jon Koontz, Jon Lewis, David Stoltzman, Chris Scott and Ray Burns. Heck, we even got a backup kicker into the game! One major contributor who stuck out was Left Tackle James Dunbar who has been so neglected this year that there were rumors suggesting he was no longer on the team at all. Jeff Olson has been a fine addition at Left Tackle, but having offensive line depth is what separates many good teams from bad ones. Dunbar's activation could be very important given our next point...
- Braylon Broughton and Michael Thompson. I missed the Broughton injury - certain issues had me leaving the game at halftime and catching mid-3rd Qtr on at home - but the radio broadcast said his X rays were negative and he could have potentially played in the second half. However, Michael Thompson's injury looked serious on the field and, sure enough, will have him sitting the rest of the year. While Thompson wasn't necessarily an integral part of the rotation, he had seen solid playing time all season and added to that whole "offensive line depth" thing I mentioned above. I don't think his absence will be the difference between 10-2 or 9-3, but you never want to lose a young guy who is hungry for minutes. Hopefully we will heal nicely and be ready for spring drills.
- Unis of Death. I'm not sure the exact math, but it seems like we play our best games when busting out the black tops and purple pants. Of course, I recognize the caveat here that this particular combination didn't really come of age until the Dalton years, so of course the results are skewed, but its worth noting. However, the biggest factor here - other than New Mexico being comically incompetent, of course - is the re-addition of the Horned Frog to our helmets. It was hard to tell at first, but yes, those are the new matte finish helmets we've been wearing all year with the different logo. A lot of people were pleased with the new, all letters look, but there was something reassuring about seeing the little critter back in the fold. We'll see if these hold going forward.
- Deryck Gildon and Antonio Graves. Clearly Deryck Gildon is THE next great linebacker under Gary Patterson at TCU, but perhaps his special teams work has gone a little under the radar. Or, at least under the radar by everyone not named that SMU receiver still seeing double from the ear-holing Gildon laid on him. But Saturday's blocked punt/recovery was great to see, not only because it was our first of the year and led to points, but because it was created and recovered by two freshmen. The future, it's bright.
- Devin Johnson. Ok, so I was wrong. There have been times this season where I see Devin Johnson on the field and, after first racking my brain to remember his name, get disgruntled at the fact that he's out there at all. It's not really anything personal, it's just that I'm entirely old fashioned in that I have a hard time trusting under the radar guys whom I'm unfamiliar with. I'm super fickle like that. But Devin Johnson has earned his starting role at SS, beating out Trent Thomas, and the defense has been better for it. Saturday he led the team with 6 tackles, including 3 for a loss and contributed on 2 sacks. Not bad for a converted CB buried on the depth chart when the season started. He's not the biggest guy - 5'10", 188 - but he has clearly added some sort of spark to a secondary that has looked half dead most weeks. Speaking of that secondary...
- Secondary Steps up. Yes, pumping up a win against New Mexico is similar to what the Cowboys are doing after beating a TERRIBLE Rams team yesterday. Yes, the hyping up of UNM's receivers may have been a product of the GP hype machine intended to inspire his team to play hard. But still... 21 yards total yards, 11 of them coming on one play? I mean.. what? That'll do, pig.
- Early Start. Clearly one of, if not THE, biggest complaints about the team this year were the slow starts out of the gate. And while it likely wouldn't have made a difference against Baylor, you can't help but wonder, "what if?" about the SMU game. No matter who you are playing, a slow start can doom even the best teams, something Oklahoma learned the hard way Saturday night. But at least for 2 games, TCU has taken that out of the equation. After jumping to a 14-0 lead that was imperative in holding off SDSU two weeks ago, the Frogs jumped out 14-0 with only 6 minutes off the clock and led 20-0 after one on the way to a 41-0 half time margin. I'm not expecting THAT kind of explosion the next 5 games, but it goes without saying that against BYU and Boise we better put up early points if we want to have a chance. For the day the Lobos had 85 yards of total offense.
- Matt Brown. We've seen what Matt Brown can do with his legs on a handful of occasions this season, but it was nice for him to get the opportunity to air a few out, which he did to the tune of 2/4 for 76 yards. 54 of those came on a nice post route to freshman Cam White. However, Brown's current role in the offense is pretty clear: the read option. For whatever reason, Pachall just doesn't have Brown's quick reaction and first step, which I think was a shock to us all early but also something we've come to accept. The only issue I see with this going forward is that, when playing a defense like BYU or Boise's that will not only know what is coming but know how to stop it, it might not be as effective. But, Brown is a dangerous weapon on his feet, rushing 9 times for 52 yards and 2 scores. Like I said, it may not always work, but it's a nice OPTION to have. Speaking of that run game...
- Running Backs. Well, it wasn't as lofty as the three 100 yard rushers suggestion I had in the preview, but 7 rushing TD's was nice, as was Ed Wesley's Jeremy Kerley impression early in the third quarter. There was also a nice, even distribution of carries between all the backs.
- Poll Climbing. Finally, you may not have noticed it, but TCU got some SERIOUS love in the Coaches' Poll Sunday, climbing from 1 total vote to 33 and sitts at 28th. With BYU also getting votes, it's not completely unrealistic to think that a win Friday could move us back into the Top 25, although it would need to be convincing and we'd need some help. Could the Movement Watch make an early return this week?
I dont' think there's a whole lot more to say about this one. It was the performance we expected against ULM and Portland State but didn't get. Better late than never? Despite all the words I've wasted, I don't think we should read too much into this one. A convincing win against the worst team in Division 1. I'll leave you with the most fun stats: First downs - 22-5; Total yards - 515-85; Total plays - 65-48; Kickoffs - 1-11; Third down conversion - 8/11 - 1/12; Red zone chances - 9/9-0/0.
Now, prepare your minds, bodies and souls for Hate Week, part 3.