John Rieger-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
TCU's penalties and turnovers haven't come back to haunt them, yet. If the Frogs don't clean up their game, they'll be looking at a long second half of the season.
It's not often a team wins when it commits 13 penalties for 140 yards.
It's even less likely that a team wins two games in a row when it commits 25 total penalties for 245 yards.
However, the Frogs have managed to do just that, with sloppy wins over Virginia and now, SMU. Now, I'll admit that there was some shaky officiating this past weekend, but that's really no excuse for multiple personal foul calls, an unsportsmanlike conduct call, and oh, the false starts and holdings galore.
The lack of discipline on this team has to be attributed to its youth. With 15 freshman starting, it's understandable that they'll be making mistakes. However, some of these penalties have come from veteran players, and that is inexcusable.
On the season the Frogs have committed 31 penalties. Here's a quick breakdown of where the penalties have come this season:
Offense: 17 Defense: 7 Special Teams: 7
The frightening part is that 11 of the 31 penalties called on the Horned Frogs have been of the 15 yard variety.
That needs to be fixed, and fixed quickly, heading into into the meat of their schedule (and make no mistake, the meat of the schedule starts this week with Iowa State).
If the Frogs aren't committing a penalty, they're just handing the ball back over to the other team.
Sure, the Frogs have a +4 turnover margin on the season, but when you realize that they've forced 13, that number starts to look less impressive.
TCU has fumbled eight times this year, including four times against Kansas in their Big 12 opener. Casey Pachall has only thrown one interception, but it came in the red zone, along with five of the fumbles. If holding on to the ball continues to be an issue, the Frogs can expect to lose several games like the Cowboys did this past Monday to the Bears. It won't be pretty.
On the flip side, TCU is tied for second in the country (with UCLA, Alabama, Mississippi State, Tennessee and, wait for it, UTSA) with nine interceptions this year, to go along with four forced fumbles.
Interceptions start with putting pressure on the quarterback and forcing him to make bad decisions, something TCU has excelled at in the early going. They've recorded 10 sacks in four games, with Devonte Fields racking up five of them. And, of course, that pressure also leads to fumbles.
I fully expect the Frogs to get these things corrected, while continuing to put pressure on opposing offenses.
Hopefully we see it all come together this Saturday.
Next on the docket is Iowa State. For a more in depth look, check out Fungo Frog's preview from earlier this week.