Texas had nothing to lose Thursday, whereas TCU had everything. And they made a statement. First off, a big credit to the Texas defense for making a 20-3 score at halftime worrisome. Strong's unit left little breathing room for Boykin, and the running attack for the majority of the game. But TCU went a little old school Patterson on Turkey Day and got the win on defense.
The Empire Strikes Back
The defensive Empire that is. Again, TCU went old school Gary Patterson and got the win with the 4-2-5 defense. According to many talking heads, Texas upsetting TCU in Austin was a sure thing. It didn't quite go like that. How about holding the superb Johnathan Gray to 0 yards? How about holding former commit, and Pflugerville native, Daje Johnson to one catch for -2 yards? I said this at the beginning of the year, and even though the stats may not show it, this is as aggressive, athletic, and finely tuned as a Patterson defense has ever been.
The defense forced 6 turnovers, had 14 tackles for loss, and picked off Tyrone Swoopes four times. They defended the deep ball quite tremendously as well, and prevented big plays from that end. The only touchdown from Texas came, of course, on a big play--a bubble screen, peppered in with some bad tackling to be exact. However, capitalizing off big defensive plays; namely Terrell Lathan's scoop for the touchdown and Josh Carraway's pick-6 was the dagger.
Despite the TCU's defensive dominance, and Swoopes' bad day--don't count him out for next year. Swoopes made tremendous steps this year, and filled in a role he didn't think he'd overtake until 2015. It's not quite the same narrative as Boykin; no new coordinators, and likely no new scheme next year. But the experience will be there. And to say J.T. Barrett would be the same quarterback in Austin that he is at Ohio State is just a silly argument. Non-Swoopes fans, trust me, you got yourself a gamer. It even took Colt, and Vince Yong for that matter, a year to warm up. Patience is a fun virtue.
Hats off, David Porter
You're probably noticing a Star Wars trend by now. But David Porter, the lone senior in Boykin's weaponry, deserves his own spot. Porter has been everything that TCU needed him to be this year. His catch to close out the second half against Texas proved that. He's not only been great on the field, but has always proven to be one of the best off of it too. Porter will have two games left as a Horned Frog, and I beg you to cheer him loudly when he comes out of that tunnel for the last time on Saturday.
Return of the Jedi
From the stands, Boykin's performance looked so-so. But once again, credit the Texas defense. But re-watching the game, Boykin did everything he needed, and should've done to win--including the now signature "Boykin flip" into the endzone for the touchdown late in the 4th quarter. He may not win the Heisman, but plan for him to be a part of the ceremony in New York.
Josh Doctson and Kolby Listenbee were also Jedis. Both receivers had amazing plays that set up TCU scores, and Doctson absolutely bullied the typically brilliant Quandre Diggs.
This will be brief. I have no Nebraska connection whatsoever, but I'd just like to throw Justin Fuente's hat into the mix. If Nebraska, which, in the most Nebraska way to fire someone said "they'd like to go in a different direction"--why not Fuente? His offense produced a Top-10 rushing attack going into the Rose Bowl, as well TCU's finest offensive edition in the Gary Patterson head coaching-era in Andy Dalton. Fuente took Memphis from a cellar-dwelling team, to AAC Champions in his third year.
Per SBNation's Pete Volk:
"Fuente completely revamped what was an atrocious Memphis program, winning the AAC title in just his third year on the job (and in the Tigers' second year in the conference). Memphis won nine games this season, allowing just 17.1 points per game. The Tigers were also able to hang with some elites in non-conference play: they lost 42-35 to UCLA and trailed 7-3 to Ole Miss in the fourth quarter before losing 24-3"
Per our friends at Corn Nation:
Brian: This intrigues me the most. Fuente has taken Memphis to respectability in a school that hasn’t had it much since 2005 when the Tigers last had a winning record. Fuente was the Offensive Coordinator for Gary Patterson at TCU for three years, including the undefeated Rose Bowl season. If you’re looking for someone to develop QB’s, he made Andy Dalton a pretty damn good guy.
Ranchbabe: The more I read about him, the more I think this could be an intriguing option.
Attack of the Clones
Baylor would like you to know that it beat Texas by 21 points, and the difference between three points in a game really isn't that much.— David Ubben (@davidubben) November 28, 2014
I was at the game, so thankfully I missed Baylor's diatribe Twitter night. Maybe it was all the turkey, pie, and red wine they consumed that made them so salty on the wonderful social network. As we've learned, it's not too hard to mock Baylor's Twitter presence. #BaylorTwitter was in full force Saturday night as well, and the Big 12 bloggers once again poked fun at their saltiness.
TCU has led the country in forced turnovers most of the season. Wasn’t a fluke they did it again tonight.— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) November 28, 2014
Is it the Brazos river that runs through Waco or da Nile?— Stefan Stevenson (@StevensonFWST) November 30, 2014
A New Hope
After a rough showing in Lawrence, TCU's playoff hopes got new life Thursday night. Coming mostly in the last quarter, the Frogs got enough, and I hate the word, "style points" to impress the committee and further distance themselves from Ohio State. The unfortunate quarterback situation at Ohio State, as well as some magic in Oxford yesterday, put TCU in a prime position to retake that 4th spot. Baylor narrowly escaping a Patrick Mahomes Red Raider squad also helped TCU's case tremendously. Alabama losing would've been huge, but could you really see the committee leaving out an SEC team, even with two-losses? Yeah, it probably wouldn't happen.
The Frogs and Bears now sit at 4 and 5 respectively in both the Sunday polls. We know the Coaches Poll and the AP Poll aren't (completely) indicative of what we'll see Tuesday night, so Baylor could still very well remain two spots behind TCU. So will a win at Kansas State be enough to jump TCU? Will it have to be a blowout, or will it just have to be a win? No one knows. And that's what hurts the most.