Thursday, September 15, 2011

Measuring Sticks vs. ULM

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?

The Big Purple Headed Horned Frog Computer

I found out today that the Big Black Cowboy's Computer has a younger brother that used to work in the TCU library. With all the updates going on at TCU he became a little outdated and obsolete, so he reached out to me and asked if we might be interested in paying him a little extra something on the side to appear on our blog and talk sports with our readers.

He sounded pretty desperate and has acquired all sorts of Viruses over the years, so I figured we could help him out and give him a shot. Plus he asked to be paid in Free AOL subscription discs so he could get back to his pornography collecting, so I'm sure I have a couple of those laying around somewhere to give him.

Ladies beware... his sense of humor is a little sexist, but I don't have much control over what he says as his spam filters haven't been updated in years.

Thanks to Gordon Keith and the Musers for making his black brother so famous and allowing us to give Purple another chance at life.

Week 3 Players To Watch: Louisiana Monroe Warhawks

It's tough to assess the players to watch on a team like Louisiana Monroe because when matched against Florida State, a team we more closely resemble, compared to them matched against Grambling State, their second opponent, the results are like night and day, obviously. For the sake of making it interesting though, I'm just going to throw out the offensive stats against FSU (they were shutout) and try to analyze them based on their performance last year and against Grambling State last week. But enough already, I'll get to it.

Offense: Centarius Donald (Soph. RB 6'1, 216, #5)

ULM RB Centarius Donald

Ok, so that's not really his picture for those who weren't sure. It's just a centaur because of the obvious similarities in his name and I'm pretty sure he was named after one. Anyways, the Centaur, who is only a sophomore, has emerged as the go-to guy in the ULM backfield early on this season after only rushing for 66 yards as a freshman. As we've learned in the past, bigger backs tend to give us fits (Zach Line, Wisconsin's backfield, ugh, Terrance Ganaway), so containing Donald will be critical in keeping their offense off the field. Florida State accomplished that in their shutout of the Warhawks/Indians/Jindals, as the Centaur only rushed for 16 yards on 7 carries. However, the Centaur used his lower body horse strength to power him to 144 yards and a TD on just 12 carries the following week, which proves to us what we already all knew- it's tough to tackle a half man/half horse. Look for ULM to try and control the clock and keep the ball out of our hands with a heavy early dose of the Centaur, Jyruss Edwards (who leads the team in carries) and also QB Kolton Browning on the ground as well. Of course, if we take an early lead, that whole game plan will probably go flying out the window.

Defense: Darius Prelow (Sr. Safety, 6' 211, #37)

Prelow, a 2nd team All-Sun Belt performer last season, was second on the team last season in tackles (74), interceptions (2), and led the team in passes defensed with 9 and pass break ups with 7. So far this season he's already equaled his interception total with 2, has a sack and two passes defensed, so he seems to have picked up right where he left off a year ago. He didn't just accumulate all these stats against lowly Grambling, as he has a tackle for loss and a pick in both games so far this season, and he tallied a sack against FSU. Obviously I haven't seen much of ULM this season or any season for that matter, but I think it's safe to say that Prelow, a veteran safety, will be all over the field for this team and could create problems for Pachall, who despite being immensely talented and is off to an outstanding start, still has never faced a 3-3-5 defense that he will see this weekend from the Warhawks.

This Weekend's Games of Interest

Boise State (1-0) at Toledo (1-1) ~ 7:00pm Friday on ESPN
-If you are joining Toledo fans in getting your hopes up for an upset of the #4 Broncos based on the Rockets' near-upset of Ohio State at the Horseshoe, I'm afraid you're going to be disappointed. All we are going to find out from this game is that Boise State is much, much better than the perennially-overrated Buckeyes.

Colorado State (2-0) vs. Colorado (0-2) in Denver ~ 12:30pm Saturday on FSN
-Sophomore QB Pete Thomas has a lot of potential to do good things in his career in Fort Collins, but has yet to really take off. Good thing for him is that his Rams take on an 0-2 CU squad that has given up 356 yards of offense per game so far in 2011. However, the Buffs found their own offensive juggernaut last week against Cal when senior QB Tyler Hansen threw for 474 yards and 3 TDs....of which 284 of the yards and 2 of the TDs were to sophomore wide out Paul Richardson. Sounds like this year's Rocky Mountain Showdown will be a high-scoring affair.

Wyoming (2-0) at Bowling Green (2-0) ~ 11:00am Saturday on
-The Cowboys may have found their offensive identity in last week's 45-10 win over Texas State, when they rushed for 382 yards as a team- led by junior Ghaali Muhammad's 123 and sophomore Brandon Miller's 101. That will be tested this week on the road, as the 2-0 Falcons are surrendering just 104 rush yards per game...albeit against the likes of Idaho and Morgan State.

San Diego State (2-0) vs. Washington State (2-0) ~ 5:30pm Saturday on The Mtn
-Did I really say UNLV had a chance against Washington State last week? Yowch! Wazzu backup QB Marshall Lobbestael came off the bench to throw for 361 yards to torch the Rebels, but the Cougars may want to think about running the ball against the Aztecs...after they gave up 403 yards on the ground in a 23-20 win at Army last weekend. Side note: this is the first time SDSU has hosted a Pac 12 team (other than Utah, obviously) since 2005.

New Mexico (0-2) vs. Texas Tech (1-0) ~ 2:30pm Saturday on Versus
-Well, I'm glad to see that Tech didn't cancell ALL of their games against the Mountain West. How'd they choose to keep the game with New Mexico over TCU? Hmmmm, that's a tough one. This one won't be close, but it will be closer than whatever kind of biblical blowout the "braintrust" in Lubbock expects.

UNLV (0-2) vs. Hawaii (1-1) ~ 9:00pm Saturday on The Mtn
-Oh, boy. UNLV's defense, so far in 2011, is giving up 554 yards of offense and 55 points per game. How is Hawaii's offense, you ask? They are averaging 365 yards a game having only played Pac 12 schools so far. Hawaii's QB, Bryant Moniz, is averaging 317 total yards per game himself, so if the Rebels have got to find a way to contain him.

Air Force (1-1) is idle this weekend with FCS Tennessee State headed to Colorado Springs next Saturday.

TCU non-conference opponents:

Baylor (1-0) vs Stephen F. Austin (1-1) ~ 6:00pm Saturday
-The #19 Bears have had a full two weeks to bask in the glory of their win over TCU, but still have a few weeks before beginning their (final?) Big 12 conference schedule. This week they welcome the Lumberjacks of SFA, who scored 82 points in their season opener against Division II McMurry before losing to FCS power Northern Iowa last weekend.

Portland State (1-0) vs. Northern Arizona (1-1) ~ 7:00pm Saturday
-Like Baylor, Portland State is also playing the Lumberjacks this weekend- the Lumberjacks of Northern Arizona, which I erroneously thought was the alma mater of Craig Kilborn (he went to Montana State...thanks, wikipedia!). NAU is coming off a win over something called Fort Lewis.

BYU (1-1) vs. Utah (1-1) ~ 8:15pm Saturday on ESPN 2
-This game used to be played in late November, usually in snow flurries and almost always important to the MWC standings. Now, it's just another non-conference game played in September after Utah accepted an invitation to the Pac 12 and BYU got butt-hurt and took their ball home to play by themselves. Neither of these teams have been overly-impressive this season so far, but it'll be worth watching just to see how hate-filled a stadium of 65,000 fueled by lemonade can get.

SMU (1-1) vs. Northwestern State (1-1) ~ 7:00pm Saturday
-After their UGLY opening loss at A&M, the Mustangs looked pretty meh again last Saturday- but these days that's good enough to beat UTEP, 28-17. Junior running back Zach Line looked good again, though- he's got 242 yards and 3 TDs through two games. Northwestern State lost 49-3 at LSU last week.

West Virginia (2-0) at Maryland (1-0) ~ 11:00am Saturday on ESPN U
-WVU was asleep through the first half of their game against FCS Norfolk State last week, trailing by two as they went into the locker room. I guess Dana Holgerson probably let loose with a few "golly's" and maybe even some "dadgum's" in his halftime speech, because the Mountaineers roared back to win 55-12. Junior QB Geno Smith threw for 349 yards and 4 TDs, giving him 620 yards and 6 TDs (and no INTs) so far this year. Let's all pray that Maryland doesn't wear the same uniforms they wore against Miami two weeks ago.

Pitt (2-0) at Iowa (1-1) ~ 11:00am Saturday on ESPN 2
-Junior Ray Graham is the Panthers' new workhorse running back, following up his 201 yard, 3 TD performance on opening day against Buffalo with a 121 yard, 3 TD performance in a 35-29 win over Maine last week. Hopefully the pink locker rooms at Kinnick Stadium will create some motivation for the Pitt D, but I'd expect something high-scoring in this one.

Syracuse (2-0) at Southern Cal (2-0) ~ 7:00pm Saturday on FX
-The Orange followed up their opening-night, comeback OT win over Wake Forest by just going through the motions in a 21-14 win over Rhode Island last week. USC, coming off close wins over Minnesota (who then lost to New Mexico State!) and Utah, may not be USC...but they're still USC. I'll be hoping that our future conference brethren in this one, but I'm not expecting much.

South Florida (2-0) vs. Florida A&M (1-1) ~ 6:00pm Saturday on*
-Junior QB BJ Daniels threw for 359 yards as the Bulls rolled past Ball State, 37-7, and moved up to #20 in the polls. Florida A&M, who you'll remember was where Casey Printers transferred after he completely quit on the Frogs in the 2001 Bowl against Texas A&M, turned the ball over three times in a 23-17 loss to fellow FCS team Hampton State.

Louisville (1-1) at Kentucky (2-0) ~ 6:00pm Saturday on ESPN U
-Going into this rivalry game, the Cardinals will be looking to erase the memory of their loss to a Sun Belt team last Friday night. Granted, Florida International may be replacing Troy as the class of the Sun Belt, but that's still no bueno for a team in a BCS league. The Wildcats are 2-0, but they've been fairly unimpressive in their wins over Western Kentucky and Central Michigan.

Cincinnati (1-1) vs. Akron (0-2) ~ 2:30pm Saturday on*
-After scoring 72 points against an FCS team in Week 1, the Bearcats helped create a Rocky Top legend as they allowed Tennessee's sophomore QB Tyler Bray to throw for 405 yards and 4 TDs on them in a 45-23 Volunteer win. The bright spot for UC was senior running back Isaiah Pead (that's right, "I. Pead"), who ran for 155 yards on just 11 carries. Akron is still looking to get into the endzone for the first time this season following losses of 42-0 and 41-3.

UConn (1-1) vs. Iowa State (2-0) ~ 7:00pm Friday on ESPN 2
-Freshman tailback Lyle McCombs had his second straight 100 yard game, but the Huskies gave up a fourth quarter lead as they lost to Vanderbilt, 24-21, in Nayashville. The Cyclones are now Iowa State Champs after defeating Northern Iowa and Iowa in the first two weeks of the season, and watch out for them because they are playing with the desperation of not wanting to end up in the MAC when the plug is finally pulled on the Big 12. They'll be trying to impress Big East brass in this one.

Rutgers (1-1) is idle this week after losing a 24-22 heart-breaker against the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill last week. They'll be back in action next week against Frank Solich and the Ohio Bobcats.

Morning Dump

TCU's quarterback Casey Pachall has more to learn, but he's taking the lead

TCU's Gary Patterson: 100th victory 'not a big deal to me' Dallas Morning News

Athletic Department:
Notes on a scorecard

Make 'em Squeal Like a Piggy

First I'd like to apologize for the lack of a video post last week. I had dreams and aspirations of a nice "Danger Zone" themed highlight video with a splash of greased up macho men volleyball and a smidgen of Iceman teeth chomping, but the short week made it hard on me and I couldn't get to it.

So, in honor of the Monrononites comin' all the way up from the swamps of the deep south, I give you this weeks directorial masterpiece.

I call it "Make 'em Squeal Like a Piggy" because that's exactly what Patterson and Co. plan on doing to ULM Saturday afternoon.

Feel free to comment on how many times you think Pachall is going to bend them over and make them go Reeeeeeee! Reeeeeeee!