Yeah, it's really easy to look ahead and think about all the negative connotations that will come from this win... but it was a win. And yeah, we struggled with a Kansas team that has won three conference games in three years... but we won. And ALL credit goes to KU - we weren't sharp by any means, but my gosh did they play absolutely out of their minds. They played their best on their senior night, for their interim coach, and for three quarters, they had the win in hand. But in the end, the Frogs were the better team, the better athletes, and that won out. Coach P just said no to style points at the end, taking a knee if the red zone with the clock winding down, and daring the committee to care.
UP: AARON GREEN - Green has been an absolute monster the last two weeks filling in for the injured B.J. Catalon. Green rushed for 128 yards and two touchdowns, averaging almost seven yards per carry. And once Cumbie and Meacham decided to, you know, give him the ball, in the second half, he took charge and led the comeback. Green also hauled in four receptions for 26 yards, giving him over 150 yards on the day, and he was also effective in pass protection and in picking up the blitz.
DOWN: PLAY CALLING - Just like the last time the Frogs played in inclement weather, the o coordinators insisted on trying to stick square pegs in round holes for a half, trying to throw deep on a day where the cold was clearly impacting the offense. The Frogs ended up with 36 rushing plays and 36 pass attempts, but most of the rushing calls came after the break. I am sure the fact that Trevone Boykin couldn't get anything going on the ground didn't help (11 attempts for two yards), nor could Kyle Hicks or Trevorris Johnson make anything happen - then again, they only got one carry a piece to try. Boykin ended up with 336 yards on 26 completions, but it never felt like he was effective passing the football, and drives stalled out with too many first down incompletions leading to a plethora of third and longs.
UP: CAMERON ECHOLS LUPER - Luper had the play of the game yesterday, scoring on a 69 yard punt return in the third that gave TCU their first lead, and one they wouldn't relinquish. Luper had over 100 return yards in the game, despite the fact the Kansas did everything in their power to keep it away from him. He has been a little up and down this season, but on a day where the offense couldn't get much going, CEL provided a much needed spark and score.
DOWN: THE D - The defense just couldn't get off the field against what had been an absolutely inept KU offense. The Jayhawks scored on their opening drive, an 18 play, 75 yards masterpiece that set the tone for the game. They followed that with a 14 play, 89 yard touchdown drive, and picked apart the Frog D with a mix of short passes and run plays. Tight end Jimmay Mundine was an impossible cover on the day, hauling in seven receptions for 137 yards and a score. Nigel King had a banner day as well, going five catches for 128 and a score. KU only had 76 rushing yards on 36 carries, but seemed to convert on every third down early and got every bounce. The Frog D was flat and missed on several opportunities to get the Jayhawks off the field, and a couple fortuitous bounces going KU's way didn't help things. I don't blame them on that Nigel King touchdown - because that was as good a catch and run I have ever seen, but they made Michael Cummings look like one of the best QBs in the conference, as he threw for 332 on only 19 completions. The Frogs did have two sacks and six TFLs (but four of those were for two yards or less). A late Chris Hackett interception put the game away, but it took a half for D to do anything positive it seemed, and they will need to play a lot better against Texas to keep the Frogs slim playoff hopes alive.
UP: TY SLANINA - Slanina had his best game as a Frog, as he was a bright spot on an otherwise gloomy day for the TCU receiving core. Ty had six receptions for 95 yards and a score, and his 27 yard catch and run on the opening drive was a thing of beauty. His best play of the day, and the best play for the offense all day, was the third and 20 completion conversion that saw Slanina bob and weave through the entire KU defense after pulling in a short pass in the third, keeing the drive alive. Green would eventually score to pull the Frogs to within three, the D would force a three and out, and Luper would run the ensuing punt al the way back for the score and the lead.
DOWN: LOOKING AHEAD - This goes for the players, the fans, all of us. Seeing TCU come up in the four spot was an incredible feeling, knowing we (likely) controlled our own destiny for a playoff position. And with two bad teams and one winnable game against a decent one left, it seemed all but certain the Frogs would be a part of that final four. But going and playing their worst game of the season when the lights were the brightest might have ended the dream before it even started. I, like all of you, will be very interested to see if style points really do matter, or if the committee will recognize that these are young kids, playing on the road, in the cold, against a desperate hungry team on their senior night, and maybe, just maybe, the pressure got to them a little. The fact is, the Frogs won. And on a day when top ten teams ASU and Auburn both fell victim to big upsets, and FSU almost did the same (ps they won by four on the road against an unranked team, too, what will the committee do with them?), I will take that win. Baylor has already been all over Twitter talking about their margin of victory over that same Kansas team - but I will counter with the fact that we won the game we played the worst in, and they did not (at WVU). We can't control much with how this all shakes out at the end, so like Coach P says, we just need to keep winning and see how everything else plays out. I for one am hopefully that the SEC self destructs and both the Bears and Frogs make it in to the post season, on a collision course for a National Title battle that would certainly captivate the country.
What were your UPs and DOWNs on the day? And where do you expect to see TCU ranked Tuesday?