I'm still pretty crushed, guys. That was brutal. I kept waking up throughout the night, sweating from the nightmare of ONE MORE STOP. WE JUST NEEDED ONE MORE STOP. Or one more first down, or one flag to go the other way (and yes, it should have - and not even Frog fans are the only ones saying that), or one less fade route... you get the idea. As much as much as I never want to think about this game ever again, we went on the road, in a game we were double digit underdogs, and had every opportunity to win. The season isn't over, and the Big 12 title is still an achievable goal. Let's start with an up!
UP - MARCUS MALLETT - I love these linebackers. We have had some outstanding LBs in the Patterson era, but has there been a more athletic, exciting duo of Mallett and Paul Dawson? Mallett's 49 yard return of a Petty pick put TCU in the driver's seat... for a while. Consecutive INT returns for scores by these two beasts in the middle almost led to back to back upsets of top 5 teams, and the Frogs will need more from the middle of the D, especially if a disturbing trend along the front line continues. Which brings us to...
DOWN - THE D LINE - Petty doesn't need much time to get the ball deep, but he had more than enough yesterday. Hunter, Tuaua, and company were a non-factor, showing an inability to get pressure on the Baylor QB and letting Shock Linwood and co gash them up the middle to the tune of 272 yards on the ground. Though Petty put up gaudy numbers, it was what the Bears did on the ground that ultimately did the Frogs in. Having to bring guys up in the box to protect against those long runs made it easy for Petty to go over the top to the receivers, and those long bombs kept finding their target in the end zone.
UP - JADEN OBERKROM - He's back! After a couple of weeks where the kicker didn't play his best, Oberkrom was back to his consistent, accurate self. Krom nailed three field goals and seven extra points, each a no doubter. His kickoffs were deep (though not many were touchbacks), allowing for better kick coverage than we have seen. I really thought he was going to get his chance at the game winner... but... it wasn't to be.
DOWN - THE SECONDARY - Wow, the DBs were bad. Baylor has a lot of talent at wide receiver, and a special QB, but the Horned Frog back end sure did make it easy on them. The guys on the outside just got plain BEAT. These weren't complicated routes or ridiculous back shoulder throws, this was line up and out run you, and we got plain out ran. I'll be honest, it was hard to see exactly who was out there from my perch in the 300's, but it didn't seem to matter who was lined up, they each got their chance to get burned. That was bad. The second half adjustments that had worked so well a week ago were no where to be found, and Petty and co feasted to the tune of 500 passing yards. That's not going to win you many games, especially against a great offensive team. Sure, there were a couple of questionable (understatement) pass interference calls, but if the Frogs had shown the ability to cover the Bear receivers at all, maybe we would have gotten the benefit of the doubt.
UP - POINTS! - There sure were a lot of those. TCU put 58 points on the board, and 99.99% of the time, that would equal a TCU win. Even against Baylor's "improved" defense, this TCU team continued to show they can score in a lot of different ways (including on special teams and defense), and if the Frog D gets back to playing the kind of D we are used to, they will win a lot of games going forward. When we hit 51, I thought the game was in hand, as I haven't seen TCU give up a 50 spot in a long time... welp...
DOWN - FADE ROUTES - What the heck was up with the play calling? If I never see a fade pass thrown in to the end zone or two the sideline again, I'll be fine. I especially hate the fade to the corner of the end zone, at any level. I understand that Josh Doctson has great ball skills, and that the coordinators felt they had an advantage there, but when it didn't work oh, say the first 10 times, maybe it was time to try something different. Two really bothered me; the end zone fade route on third down (I think) after the long time out, where certainly they had time to come up with something a little more creative, and the side line fade on fourth and three, where I would have much preferred to see a rollout for Boykin with a run pass option or something quick in the slot to one of the speed guys. Don't throw it up and hope for a call, especially on the road and on the opponent sideline. The play calling was very questionable throughout the game; the Baylor D was solid up front, but Cumbie and Meacham never really gave the running game a chance to get going outside of trying to force lanes for Boykin, which wasn't effective. Boykin didn't have a great game either, but I don't feel like the calls played to his strength, or forced the D to make any real adjustments.
Leave your ups, or vent out your downs, in the comments, and after we get this out of our system today, let's get ready for Okie State and sweet revenge!