Oklahoma was a tough test, undoubtably, but Baylor might even be better. A sloppy fourth quarter, mistakes in the kicking game, and a few early blown coverages might not have spelled doom against the Sooners, but the same mistakes won't cut it against Bryce and his Bears. What do the Frogs need to key in on to ensure another successful Saturday against a top five opponent?
BRICK BY BRICK - Though McLane Stadium doesn't use real brick on their interior walls, that doesn't mean the Frogs don't need a strong foundation inside. If you've ever built a masonry wall (and yes, as a matter of fact, I have), you know it is a slow, deliberate process, that takes planning and commitment. That must be the TCU philosophy tomorrow. This is not a slow or deliberate offense by any means, and it doesn't need to be. But the calmness of those behind it, their patience and commitment, will be the difference. If the Frogs fall behind early, Cumbie, Meacham, and Boykin will need to stay the course, not just start chucking it deep in the hopes that something good happens. Keep a balanced attack, stick to the game plan, and trust a defense that has made the big play when they need to time and time again. Baylor is going to score points, that's a fact. But just because they put up numbers does not mean this has to become a shootout.
HOLD ON TO THE GOSH DARN BALL - The last six minutes of the game last week took a solid six years off of my life. If you play with fire long enough, you're bound to get burned, and frankly I'm still amazed the back to back fumbles didn't cost us that big win. The team that wins the turnover battle more than likely wins this game, and with two teams that play as aggressively on both sides of the ball as these two, the propensity for mistakes can be high. Boykin needs to be a patient passer and a protected runner, knowing when to lock up the rock as opposed to fighting for a few extra yards. This goes for receivers, running backs, and special teams, too.
KEEP THE LAUNDRY OFF THE FIELD - Dead ball penalties are drive killers, and if the Frogs spend too much time in third and long due to false starts, delay of game calls, and holding penalties, the Baylor D will feast. Communication will be a bigger issue than what TCU has faced thus far in the season, as I imagine the green and gold will make a little more noise than the Mustangs mustered, so the line being on the same page with the snap will be even more crucial. TCU has been penalized 29 times through the first four games of the season, for 255 yards. Seven flags a game is far too many, and very uncharacteristic for a Patterson squad; it will be important for the Frogs to win the flag party as well as the turnover battle. Especially when it comes to the unforced penalties.
YOUR BOY(KIN)'S (NEXT) BIG TEST - Trevone Boykin has stood up every time someone has asked him to sit down, whether it was the pundits handing the job to Matt Joeckel back in the spring, the fans clamoring against the number of pass attempts or the sailed balls early in the season, or even yours truly not fully jumping on the bandwagon until last Saturday, Deuce has continued to do work on the ground and through the air game after game. But each of those games brings a new challenge and a tougher test, and Boykin will have to be at his very best to bring down Baylor. If there is an achilles heal for the Bears, it is the running QB, as their aggressive front line is known to over pursue, opening up running lanes for Boykin, which will in turn open up opportunities for the running backs and in the passing game, as they focus their attention on #2. Best case scenario would be a couple of early big plays on designed runs or scrambles, forcing Baylor to either spy Boykin or not rush as many guys to the pocket, giving him time to find the speedsters down field.
YOU HAVE NOT ARRIVED: The Frogs have always been at their very best when everyone looks at them like they're the worst. Patterson is a master motivator, and has thrived in environments that have made TCU the perennial underdog. As jubilation reigned in the locker room after the "upset" of OU, Coach P was so quick to ask the team why they were so happy, all they did was what they had to do and they were going to have to do it again in a week. Most of the national writers give credence to the thought that TCU is sure to lose, due in part to the natural let-down coming off a huge win, and there was no way to get up for another game after that. Well, anyone saying that does not know GP, and does not know just how much disdain there is in that locker room for the Bears - but really, all that this game is is the next game on the schedule. The key is now, to not believe the hype. That top 10 ranking won't mean anything if the Frogs don't continue to win, and that starts on the road in Waco. Being the underdogs suits the Frogs well, and they are underdogs once again.
Be sure to leave your thoughts on what will be the keys to a TCU win in the comments, and as always, GO FROGS!