"You got one guy going boom, one guy going whack, and one guy not getting into the endzone." - John Madden
Mr. Madden has always had a way with words, and this quote pretty much sums up SMU's gameplan Saturday and season so far. There were players on the field lined up against TCU, but even when they were presented with chances to score, SMU was not able to put a single point on the board. It may have taken the Frogs longer than anticipated to pull away in the first half, but they have outscored SMU 68-7 in the second half over the past two years.
Let's start by stating the obvious, TCU scored 56 points which is always an impressive feat no matter who you are playing. We know that it is early in the season and facing the Oklahoma defense next week will by far be the toughest matchup, but TCU has scored 134 points in non-conference play. This is 31 more points than non-conference play last season. The maturation of several position groups in the Horned Frog offense has clearly shown every other week that TCU has played (I do not like our bye schedule).
Diving into the statistics, TCU is averaging an absurd 532 yards (according to gofrogs.com) on offense per game so far this season, and they are 15th in the country in that category. This statistic is much improved from 2013, when they finished 107th with 345 yards per game. The Frogs were able to thrash the SMU defense for 265 yards rushing and 349 passing. The offense continues to be balanced, not only in yards gained, but also in the variation of ball handlers. TCU had four players with 4 or more carries that totaled at least 20 yards. They also had nine different receivers with a reception, and seven of them had 20 or more yards receiving.
Trevone Boykin again had a great week throwing for 4 touchdowns, which brings his total to 8 on the season. He has already surpassed his total from last season of 7. The passing game has been majorly improved from TCU's 2013 campaign. The Frogs are averaging 320 passing yards per game, which is nearly 100 yards better than their 226.2 per game last season. On the season, Boykin and Matt Joeckel have completed passes 15 different receivers. 6 of the 15 have recorded a touchdown, which ties the amount of players that recorded one all of last season. The Frogs did not have a single receiver averaging more than 40 yards a game last year, which they have currently have four in 2014 (Josh Doctson, Deante' Gray,Kolby Listenbee, David Porter) TCU has a lot of weapons in the passing game, and the new offensive coordinators are making their opponents bear witness.
We finally got to see the "wow factor" from our very own B.J. Catalon as he was able to razzle and dazzle for 114 yards on 19 carries, with an average of 6.0 yards per carry. All three of these numbers were season highs for Catalon as he earns the "Inside the Numbers" shout out this week. Boykin is still the leading rusher with 183 yards, but Gary Patterson has to be confident in Catalon as his top option in a stable of running backs. TCU has averaged 211.3 yards rushing per game this season, which compares to a surprisingly low 118.6 yards per game last season. The total average per carry has also dramatically improved from 3.5 yards per carry in 2013, to 5.7 so far this year. With Joeckel being the only senior to carry the ball for the Frogs this year, the running game should only continue to grow this season and into the next.
We knew that SMU was an inferior team and that this game was most likely going to be a blowout, but SMU has not been shutout at home since 1999 in a 20-0 lose to Hawaii (that took some digging). It was also TCU's first shutout in over two years when TCU beat Grambling State 56-0 at home. Even if the score did not shock anyone, the defense came to play. TCU forced 3 turnovers on Saturday and extended their turnover margin to +6 on the season.
The "Inside the Numbers" shout of the week definitely goes to the junior defensive end, James McFarland, who basically lived in the SMU backfield. McFarland recorded 3 tackles, 3 sacks for a total loss of 14 yards and 2 forced fumbles. The 3 sacks were a career high for him, and he has already tied his season total from last year. McFarland's sacks were only one-third of the total 9 sacks recorded by TCU Saturday. 9 sacks are a season high for the Frogs and it is also higher than last season's record of 7 sacks versus, you guessed it, SMU.
For the third straight game this season, TCU has held their opponent to under 100 yards rushing (SMU had 89). They have only allowed opposing rushers 2.1 yards per carry. Coming into this season there was a lot of attention on the Horned Frog secondary, but the big guys up front showed that there is little room to run. There were only 2 rushes that went for over 10 yards on Saturday and one of them was a quarterback scramble.
If there was a disappointing aspect to the defensive results it would be the passing defense. Even though SMU's starting quarterback Garret Krsitch was only able to complete 47% of his passes for a total of 142,127 yards of those came in the first half. Primarily the slot receivers for SMU were able to find holes in the middle of the TCU secondary. This is a statistic to pay attention to. TCU repeatedly put themselves in a deficit last season heading into the second half, and allowing a 4th string quarterback to throw for 94 yards in the second quarter is a little worrying. Now I know I sound pessimistic and it sounds like an overreaction, but the numbers show that there was a portion of the game where the defense was not in sync. That will be something to keep an eye on this coming week versus Oklahoma who has an offense that can exploit that and score points quickly.
I do not think that TCU special teams players are a fan of morning games. Jaden Oberkrom was not able to convert either of his field goal attempts on Saturday, as he missed a 45 and 28 yard field goal. To be fair the 28 yard attempt was blocked and the coverage was poor, but it was still very uncharacteristic for the junior. Okberkrom did not miss from inside of 40 yards all of last season, but I am personally not worried. Oberkrom will continue to be a weapon for the Frogs as the season goes on.
In the punting game Ethan Perry looked to have an off day as well. He recorded 3 punts for 80 yards. One of his punts went off the side of his foot and out of bounds for a net gain of 10 yards. A total average of 26 yards is not what TCU expected from their talented kicker this week. Not to repeat myself, but I do not see either of TCU's special teams kickers continuing this trend of disappointing play next week.
The special teams bright spot was Cameron Echlos-Luper as he was able to put a highlight return in motion for 47 yards. There were two monster hits on the return, which got the majority of fans in the stadium (that were wearing purple) to their feet.
Interesting Stat of the Week:
TCU has not allowed a team to get past their 41 yard line or score a point in the 1st quarter so far this season. Both Minnesota and Samford have reached TCU territory, but they have not gotten past the 41 yard line. That is about all Patterson can ask from his defense to begin a game. We will see if the stout TCU defense can continue that streak versus Oklahoma at home this week...