As always, the entire Frogs O' War Crew (excepting Fungo, who will be busy with wedding stuff for this game and next week) will file in with their reactions of the TCU/LSU game. A lot of things happened in this one, some good and some bad, and we'll look at them all.
What a great defensive performance by the D-line and linebackers. That is a sentence that I did not expect to write so early in the season with Devonte Fields suspended, but the TCU defense front 7 was strong all game despite spending a huge amount of time on the field in the first half. TCU stymied LSU's running game repeatedly, which bodes exceptionally well for the team going forward. The downside of the defense's performance was shockingly TCU's star studded secondary, where LSU QB Zach Mettenberger was consistently able to pick up third down and medium/long yardage with throws. After all the analysts (myself included) said that LSU would struggle to throw the ball on TCU, the regularity of the third down pickups was absolutely shocking.
On offense, another sentence I didn't expect to write (especially so early in the season) springs immediately to mind: Trevone Boykin was by far the better quarterback tonight. I don't think I've been a "hater" when it comes to Boykin's abilities, but to see him make so many good decisions in the second half after Casey struggled in every phase of the game in the first half was an absolute shock. Boykin should be the starter against SE Lousiana and Texas Tech without a doubt to me, and that's coming from a guy who was privately hoping that getting Boykin some snaps wouldn't disrupt Casey's rhythm. As it was, Casey made more bad throws than good ones tonight, including a bad interception that led to LSU's first touchdown and he's going to be getting backup snaps against SE Louisiana to try and build his confidence back up. For the running backs, they put together a solid effort against a freakish LSU front and both James and Catalon had good moments that make me feel good about the unit going forward. Apart from two false starts by Halapoulivaati Vaitai, the TCU O-line held up admirably against a strong LSU unit. This is the best defense the Frogs will see all season by a mile, and TCU acquitted themselves well.
I really thought that without Skye Dawson our return game would be greatly improved. In a twist of fate, I was both right and wrong, as Brandon Carter contributed to the exhaustion of our defense by fumbling LSU's first kickoff while B.J. Catalon showed dynamic moves and balance the likes of which we haven't seen since Jeremy Kerley. Ethan Perry was fine, and Oberkrom did an excellent jobs on both kickoffs and field goal duties.
Overall... I think I'm okay. This loss didn't hurt as bad as the MSU loss because I think TCU was clearly the better team in that game, but still without those ten points from turnovers... I'm confident in the Frogs going forward, even if I do have to drop them in the power rankings after a loss.
Purple Wimple: call me no-longer-convinced that TCU's offense is much improved over last year. Sure, LSU is a top-grade defense (we think) but this evening felt to me like a time machine. Pachall didn't spread the ball around; Boykin throws a soft ball that gives safeties time to make a play, and TCU's receivers just aren't play makers. Add false starts, stupid penalties, muffed punts, and a lot of dropped passes, and the whole package was very . . . 2012.
Which means that unless something changes very quickly, we can expect TCU to do OK against OK teams; but top grade teams aren't going to have to worry too much about the Frogs. They especially won't have to worry about the Frogs' offense.
The stat that most worries me: LSU converted 13 of 19 third downs. (Let's just beat that dying horse and do the math: that's a 68% conversion rate.) That's not giving yourself much room for error, Horny Toads. Maybe it matters that Devonte Fields didn't play; or that Mettenberger to Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham suddenly looked like an all-world trio. But until the Frogs rise up and shut down a dynamic QB-WR tandem or two, I'm very worried about the plethora of Big 12 passing attacks.
Positives? Waymon James and B.J. Catalon are an improvement over Aundre Dean and B.J. Catalon; and I don't recall Aviante Collins getting flagged a single time. Marcus Mallet was in on a lot of tackles, but the linebackers generally didn't impress me as fearsome. Oh-- that's not a positive...
Oh well. Kansas, K-State, Iowa State, and maybe Texas Tech better be shaking in their boots when the Frogs come calling. But after that performance the rest of the Big 12 sure ain't.
As always, check this thread as the night and weekend goes on, as the rest of the Frogs O' War staff will check in with their thoughts and analysis. As always, Go Frogs!