I guess we won't hear anymore of that "TCU doesn't belong" talk coming out of Lubbock from here on out, as the Red Raiders will head back west with their tails tucked firmly between their legs after an absolute thrashing Saturday in Fort Worth. It's going to be hard to limit this to three great performances, and harder to find three negatives!
UP - TREVONE BOYKIN - Any thought that the Heisman talk might be premature is out the window, as we will find out how the young QB handles life in the spotlight going forward. 433 yards and seven touchdowns in three quarters is absolutely ridiculous, and I didn't think a QB Rating of 208.9 was possible. Coach Patterson said before the game that Boykin was one of the guys that didn't look ready in pre-game warmups, and insinuated that maybe some of the attention was distracting him. Well, we will see if that's the case, as Boykin is certainly in the Heisman convo and will remain so as long as the Frogs keep winning. And with an incredibly tough test ahead, in potentially terrible wintery conditions, with GameDay on hand, keeping his mind focused and on the game ahead will be paramount. I have total confidence in the kid as a player and a leader, so I'm not worried, much. That said, Boykin once again had an amazing day, answered every punch thrown in the first quarter (while Tech was still throwing punches), and put the Raiders away in a third quarter where he led the team to 31 points. Boykin is averaging almost 380 yards per game, which plants him firmly in the top five in the country in total offense. And the Frogs are the only FBS team averaging 50 points per game, even having faced three ranked teams this year, with Boykin at the helm. He's been good, very good, and even great. He will need to be magnificent in the weeks ahead to take down WVU on the road and K-State at home.
DOWN - INJURIES IN A BLOWOUT - Matt Joeckel may have torn up his knee. Davis Webb didn't look much better. And Josh Doctson's status for Saturday is in doubt. I hate seeing guys get hurt, I especially hate it when the game is well in hand. One of the underrated aspect's of TCU's success this season has been their ability to stay healthy, and while those two early bye weeks contributed to that, it would be nice to have one going forward (other than the kind of bye before Texas) to allow those guys that are getting nicked up to heal.
UP - DEANTE' GRAY - If Doctson is hurt (here's to hoping he's not) having a guy like Deante' Gray (and Kolby Listenbee, Ty Slanina, Emanuel Porter, Cliff Murphy (CLIFF MURPHY?), etc sure does help. And when you can throw an eight yard curl route from your end zone and see it go for 92 and a score, well, you have options. Gray has been an absolute revelation this season, and boy is he fun to watch in the open field. Speed kills, and this wide receiving core has it in spades. Gray finished with four catches for 165 yards and two scores, and his ability opposite Listenbee's is a little for any defense to handle. Then you put Doctson out there too, and who are you going to try and take away? Kevin White is incredible, and he is going to be a handful for our defense next week for sure, but TCU's wide receiver by committee attack is pretty special, too.
DOWN - GETTING BEAT DEEP (STILL) - Speaking of Kevin White, if we can't contain Tech's receivers on those mid slants and deep balls, White is going to eat us alive. The defense has made some good adjustments over the course of the season when it comes to the deep ball, but it's still too easy for opposing offenses to exploit that weakness. Tech kept it close in the first quarter by simply hitting guys in stride going across the middle, and then allowing their receivers to turn a short to mid-range pass in to a huge gain when the Frogs missed tackles or took bad routes to the ball. Clint Trickett is too good, and Kevin White too dangerous, not to get this fixed before next week's game in Morgantown.
UP - PRESSURE, LOTS OF PRESSURE - While Webb was only sacked once, he was harassed all day long, to the tune of eight knock downs, two picks (and a third that was reversed on a penalty), and two fumbles. The D Line was in his face on every play, and he never had the chance to get comfortable in the pocket. Webb threw for 300 yards, but half of those came in that disaster of a first quarter, and Tech did next to nothing in the second half. Tech's very good running back, DeAndre Washington, was held to 77 yards and was never really a factor, as there weren't a lot of holes opening up for him. Terrell Lathan had the lone sack, and he is quietly starting to come on in a big way as the season progresses.
DOWN - PENALTIES - Ten flags is far too many. It's easy to say it didn't matter, because when you win by 55 points and put 82 on the board, it's hard to complain. But this team has shown a propensity to hurt themselves with flags, and that has to change. WVU beat Baylor in large part due to the Bears being penalized for a record number of yards, and the stripes will certainly lean towards the Eers in Morgantown. Additionally, the most costly flag could cost Chris Hackett a half next week, as he was given a personal foul and ejected for throwing (what might be a phantom) punch late. Coach P will certainly be emphasizing discipline in practice this week.
BONUS UP - RUNNING OUT OF FIREWORKS - The title makes this sound like a down, but the fact that TCU ran out of their fireworks supply for the season, in the fifth home game, just solidifies how incredible the offense has been. A Baylor student on twitter pointed out that we must not have had high expectations to start to have already run out, but we all know scoring 239 points in five home games, after only managing 185 in all of last season, could never have been expected.
There are several UPs that I didn't mention, so feel free to leave yours (or the DOWNs) in the comments. Great win, now it's on to West Virginia!