1. The Ponies came to play, and they can actually play this year.
SMU's showing in the first half against Baylor was a wake-up call and fair warning for this game. It took them just over 3 minutes tonight to score on the very first drive of the game. Matt Davis was 17/31 tonight with 330 yards. SMU actually had possession a majority of the game. They took advantage of every opportunity, including an interception and 19-yard return by Horace Richardson in the 3rd quarter. Three plays later, the Ponies were celebrating in the end zone. Freshman Wide Receiver Courtland Sutton had 4 receptions for 115 yards tonight and 1 touchdown. SMU's biggest fail of the night may have been their poor timeout management. They used their last timeout with 5:05 left in the game and TCU up 49-37. When TCU got the ball back at 3:30, SMU had no way to stop the clock and TCU finally got to take a breath while they ran the clock down.
2. TCU's defense is still working out kinks
Defense made some major mistakes tonight. But we're starting freshman in key positions (namely safety and corner), and we're fortunate that they're quick learners and we haven't faced our toughest opponents yet. Bryson Henderson had a great sack in the 4th that made every TCU fan want to parade him around the field on their shoulders. That started a great defensive series that kept SMU from getting into the endzone and limited them to a field goal. The best defense of the night came in the 4th quarter, with some perfect reads that limited SMU's yardage. Patterson made it clear after the game that the defense still has work to do.
3. Stop with the penalties already!
A major part of SMU's successful first possession was the yardage we gave up in penalties on that drive. We gave them 30 yards for free on a pass interference and personal foul penalty. At the half, we had 4 penalties for 55 yards. That's not including the penalty that was declined as the clock ran out and Josh Doctson got caught holding to let Aaron Green try to sneak up the sideline before being forced out of bounds. And we didn't stop there. We ended the night with 9 penalties for a whopping 115 yards. By comparison, SMU ended the night with 4 penalties for 39 yards. In some ways, we were our own worst enemies tonight.
4. Injuries will be our biggest threat this season.
Ranthony Texada went out in the second quarter, reportedly with a knee injury. And now it sounds like he's potentially out for the season, based on this Tweet. Then in the third quarter, Kolby Listenbee had a great grab on a jump ball and landed badly on his hip. He was clearly in pain on the field and was seen on the sidelines getting examined by the trainers. Listenbee didn't return. Stay tuned to Frogs O' War for updated information on his injury. In the post-game, Patterson said "You gotta find a way to win" when asked how the slew of injuries has affected the team's play.
5. Boykin for President, Turpin for Vice
I'm pretty sure Turpin goes into every game with one goal: made the opponent's kickoff team wet their pants. And you can add SMU to the list of those that have. Turpin continues to be consistent on returns, and he was a huge sigh of relief for Frog Fans tonight. He had 4 returns for 105 yards, 2 offensive receptions for 79 yards, and 1 touchdown. With the exception of the aforementioned interception, Boykin had a great game and ended the night with 454 yards. He went 21/30 and had 5 touchdowns, including this crazy dance move that led to a dive into the endzone and had everyone asking what just happened. And since our best defense of the night was clearly our offense staying ahead with touchdown after touchdown, I'm making Docston our Secretary of Defense. He stepped up, especially after Listenbee went out, and got us all on our feet with a touchdown with 6:32 left in the 4th quarter. Doctson finished the night with 5 receptions for 171 yards. And just for kicks, I should mention that Aaron Green had 21 carries and rushed for 164 yards tonight. He had 2 touchdowns, making him our Secretary of State (for repeatedly getting us into Pony territory).
The Frog and Pony show ended with another "W" for TCU, but it was tense one. No one let out a breath until that clock ran all the way down to 0:00. It was a good test for TCU, who showed they can continue to push and adjust for injuries. Looking ahead to Big 12 play next week, the Frogs should be focusing on two things: blocking and healing.