That was... something, wasn't it? The Frogs surrendered 17 first half points, 20 unanswered in the third quarter, and lost yet another defensive starter in the process - starting corner Ranthony Texada. Terrell Lathan and Kolby Listenbee also missed the second half of the game, and their replacements had mixed results. Let's take a look at some of the best, and worst, performances from Saturday night against SMU.
UP - Trevone Boykin: Boykin turned in a Heisman worthy performance that was largely overshadowed by the defensive miscues and the huge games had by Davis and Sutton on the other side. But, Tre's star shone brightest of all under the lights at AGS, as he accumulated over 500 yards of offense and six touchdowns on 21-30 passing and 11 rushing attempts. Boykin continued his impressive scoring streak of 18 straight games with a touchdown, and had nearly 300 yards passing by halftime. Patterson knew how special of a night his senior QB had:
Bumped into Patterson on way out. Don't let the injuries overshadow the way Trevone Boykin and the offense played, he said.
Bumped into Patterson on way out. Don't let the injuries overshadow the way Trevone Boykin and the offense played, he said.— Carlos A. Mendez (@calexmendez) September 20, 2015
While he only had 50 yards on the ground on 11 attempts, he made one of the most impressive plays you'll see at the QB position, and a perfect example of what makes him so special in this 20 yard scoring run:
Things might look less than ideal on the defensive side of the ball, but as long as Trevone Boykin is taking the snaps on offense, the Frogs will have a shot in every game.
DOWN - Torrance Mosley: Speaking of less than ideal, Mosley had a night to forget Saturday against the Ponies, and more specifically, Courtland Sutton. Flagged for pass interference three times, and getting burned deep several others, the sophomore out of Louisiana struggled when the ball was in the air. Despite having good technique on the break, he was one of multiple backups pressed in to big minutes that Patterson referenced "panicking when the ball is in the air", and that seemed to be his downfall Saturday night. Unable to get his head around on the deep ball, Mosley will have to be better against the aerial assault of Texas Tech next week for TCU to have the opportunity to continue their winning ways.
UP - Josh Doctson: Once Listenbee left the game with some type of back/cramping/tightness issue, and things got a little tight on the scoreboard, Boykin went back to old reliable, targeting Doc early and often in the second half. Josh, who has played well to this point in the season but hadn't had one of those signature performances as of yet, broke out in a big way against the overmatched Pony D, going off for 171 yards and two scores - on only five receptions. He also provided a SportsCenter Top Ten moment, pulling in a circus catch in the end zone on a Boykin jump ball:
The most under-appreciated star in the country, the senior wide receiver has the full package when it comes to what the pros will be looking for come the 2016 draft, and if he continues to play as fast and as physical as he has so far in 2015, he could be angling himself for a first round phone call.
Special Mention: Ty Slanina had himself a game in the slot Saturday, hauling in five receptions for 58 yards, several of which were drive extenders on big third downs. Never a star, Slanina continues to make big plays when the pressure on, and it's clear that Boykin trusts him implicitly. With his toughness, instinct, and high football IQ, am I the only one that would love to see him play some corner or safety as the injuries mount? As good - and important - as he is on offense, the need is clearly greater on the other side of the ball. He was, after all, named a first team Al-American on defense by MaxPreps as a senior in high school, and with sub 4.4 speed and experience in the secondary, is it really that much of a stretch?
DOWN - Michael Downing: I love Downing's story, I really do. Clearly one of the hardest workers on the team, the practice squad player of the year from 2014 has been pressed in to service as the injuries mount in the secondary, taking over the starting role for Kenny Iloka. And while I think he is a smart football player, and has pretty solid technique, he's just overmatched by the pure speed of the receivers he is going to have to match up with once Big 12 play begins - something that was highlighted by Matt Davis and SMU. Downing, who is by all accounts a great teammate and solid practice player, seems to always be around the ball - but just a step slow in getting there in time to make the play. Patterson seems to think he can be coached up enough to be effective, and if you go by the past players GP has had in the defense, we know that scheme can make up for a lack of pure speed with a high IQ, something Downing seems to possess. As he gets more snaps, his reaction time is bound to improve, but for now, I would imagine there are some true freshman at the position that will be getting plenty of reps in practice this week.
UP - Aaron Green: Oh hey there AG, nice to see you again, 22! After a quiet start to his season, and a quieter first quarter Saturday night, the senior out of San Antonio had a monster game for the Frogs, compiling 164 yards on 21 carries and finding the end zone twice. His running against the Ponies was reminiscent of his last game under the lights, as he ran all over SMU in the same way he wreaked havoc over K State a year ago. It was vintage AG; quick cuts, field reversals, bouncing off of contact and dragging defenders for those precious extra yards. And with time ticking down late in the fourth, he made one of the best plays of the game - sliding down before contact after picking up a first down, making sure the clock kept running on the Frog's final scoring drive. He was the bell cow for Cumbie and Meacham on that final drive, as he carried the load all the way to the end zone, keeping that clock moving and slamming the door on any hope SMU had of a comeback (so apparently we did learn something from the fourth quarter in Waco last year). If the defense is going to struggle to hold up under the relentless air attacks of the Big 12 - and at the moment that appears to be the case - TCU is going to have to find ways to speed up the game and keep the D on the sideline as much as possible. While you clearly don't want to slow down the tempo attack of Boykin and co, having a guy like Green alongside Boykin, that can take over a game late and run out the clock, will prove invaluable as the games get tougher and the competition fiercer.
DOWN - Penalties: The Frogs were flagged nine times for 115 yards, something we are not used to seeing in Fort Worth. While the pass interference calls were absolute killers, the ones that were the most frustrating as a fan were the ones against the offense. Doctson was flagged three times for holding - one of which was dubious - and the offensive line picked up a couple additional ones as well. Late hits, unnecessary roughness, and the other big chunk flags are what kept the Ponies in the game early, and allowed them to make a run late. Drive killers on offense and drive extenders by the defense are a sure recipe for disaster in Big 12 play... just ask our friends down I-35 who had their perfect season ended by a penalty filled loss to West Virginia. You can excuse young guys getting beat, you can understand being overmatched, but there is no right answer for why a veteran stacked offense can be called for that many flags that had that large an impact on the game. I have a feeling blocking technique will be a point of emphasis in practice this week, lest Kliff Kingsbury be given the opportunity to speak of Patterson in the same way he did Bret Bielema.
THE KAVONTAE TURPIN OH NO HE DIDN'T UP OF THE WEEK: You know how every parent says they don't have a favorite kid - but they all do? That's kind of how I feel about the man they call #TurpinTime. The true freshman wide receiver/kick returner/point returner/lightning bolt does at least one thing every game that has the crowd losing their minds, and has become my favorite freshman in the process. I watched his Hudl film when he verballed, dug a little deeper when he signed, and by fall camp, knew we had something special. He has done nothing to move me off that stance through three games this season. So the inaugural KT OH NO HE DIDN'T play of the week goes to... well, KaVontae Turpin - because how can you not give the first one to the guy it's named for? He earns this for his 61 yard catch and run score in the first quarter Saturday night, where he took a short dump off pass in space to the house. You aren't going to catch Turp from behind, period.
Like Coach Patterson said early Sunday morning, the TCU defense will play better next week. And hopefully better the week after, the week after that, and on through the end of the season. The offense will score, and hopefully score big, and the D will need to make a few timely stops. I am interested to see if DeShawn Raymond, Arico Evans, and Niko Small start getting snaps on defense - Raymond has made it out on special teams, but he is too big and too fast to not be in the rotation in the secondary - I mean, he has to be at least as good as what we are rolling out there, now right? And maybe GP was hoping to RS Evans and Small, but at this point, you can't think about the future. You have a special QB and a veteran line - never mind a really great RB and WR who graduate in the spring - you have to empty the chamber, do you not?
While it's hard to see the silver lining through the maze of training tables and bandage wraps, GP will coach these guys up to, and past, serviceable. There's no reason to give up hope now, but we surely have a long road ahead, and a lot high pressure games to get through.