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MMQB: TCU's survival against Texas Tech was both ugly and beautiful

There's a lot to unpack after a 55-52 victory in Lubbock.

John Weast/Getty Images

Let's be honest, we'll all be watching this for a while.

But that doesn't mean we can't also talk just a bit more about the game. This game breaks down pretty evenly, with as much good as there is bad.

The Good

Josh Doctson was named the Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week after an 18-catch, 267-yard, 3 touchdown performance. The 18 catches ties a Big 12 record, and the three touchdowns set a career high for Doctson. He's continuing to creep closer to being TCU's all time leader in every major receiving category. Here's what he needs to break each record:


Current Record

Current record holder

Doctson’s Stats

# needed for record



Kelly Blackwell (1988-1991)



Receiving Yards


Mike Renfro (1974-1977)



Receiving Touchdowns


Josh Boyce (2010-2012)



Of course, none of those stats include his freshman season at Wyoming, where Doctson caught 35 passes for 393 yards and five touchdowns. With eight games remaining, this essentially means that Doctson needs to average about 6 catches and 88 yards per game over the course of the season to catch Blackwell and Renfro. With the way he's playing this season (5 TD receptions in the past two games) he could very easily break Boyce's record by Kansas State in two weeks, or even against Texas on Saturday. Oh, and one final note: Doctson now sits with 593 receiving yards on the season, most for any receiver at the FBS level.

All the hype around the wild finish and Doctson's massive day has overshadowed what was arguably Trevone Boykin's best game of his career. Boykin threw for a career-high 485 yards, putting him at 1,470 passing yards on the season, good for No. 3 in the country. He threw for four touchdowns, the third time this season he's thrown at least four touchdowns, and eighth time in his career. He now has 14 passing touchdowns on the season, second most in the country (the two leaders have 15 apiece). Boykin's game was also great for what he didn't do. He didn't turn the ball over for the first time this season. Zero interceptions. Zero fumbles.

The third triplet, and arguably the most important of the day, Aaron Green, had an incredible game as well. He ran for 162 yards (his second consecutive 160+ yard game) and two touchdowns, and, of course, was in the right place at the right time when it mattered most. He's looked more like himself over the past two contests, and hopefully he'll continue that in the coming weeks.

Defensively, there's simply a lot less to look at and identify as "good" throughout this game. Travin Howard finished with a team-high 10 tackles, but he was far from perfect. To talk about the defense more, we should move to the next category.

The Bad

It would be easy to get to this section and write about giving up over 600 yards of offense and 52 points. I'm not going to do that. I am of the opinion that this secondary will improve over the course of the season, and the fact of the matter is, when they needed to get a stop the most, they did. But they were as far from perfect as I've seen a TCU defense in a long time, and that's for two reasons: tackling and discipline.

It should be made clear that DeAndre Washington is a very good running back. He was an 1,100+ yard rusher last season, and is well on his way to repeating that performance again in 2015. However, there were times where he benefited greatly from TCU whiffing on him two, three, and four yards off the line of scrimmage. Some of those were due to his ability, others were due to inability on the part of TCU's linebackers and safeties. As I mentioned above, Travin Howard led the team with 10 tackles. In reality, he should have had somewhere closer to 14 or 15. Michael Downing and Denzel Johnson had eight tackles each. They both should have been closer to 10 or 11.

The inability to consistently wrap up Washington contributed to his big day, and it also contributed to TCU forcing only three punts on the afternoon, keeping the defense on the field for longer than they should have been.

Speaking of on the field longer than they should have been, Texas Tech was 7-for-15 on third down, and 2-for-3 on fourth down. When broken down, it looks at first glance like TCU was actually pretty solid in 3rd and long (3rd down and 5+ yards to gain) situations, as Tech only converted 3 of 11 opportunities. But consider this: On three of those "non-converted" opportunities, TCU defenders committed personal fouls. Both of Josh Carraway's personal fouls came on third and more than five yards to gain for Texas Tech. Chris Bradley's roughing the passer on what should have been the final play of the game was on 3rd and 10, and it negated a Travin Howard interception.

Now, we can complain about the officiating all we want, and we can point to those things as being "ticky-tack" calls, but the fact of the matter is that TCU defenders typically do not put themselves in situations to be called for those things. Saturday in Lubbock, TCU's defense was called for five 15-yard penalties and in all gave Texas Tech six first downs via penalty. Four of those five drives (drives in which TCU gave Tech at least one first down via penalty)  resulted in points for Tech (3 touchdowns, 1 field goal), with the fifth awarding Tech one final shot to win the game at the end.

So, the defense needs to clean things up, and in a hurry.

The Media's Reaction

It appears that national media is having quite the bipolar reaction to TCU's close win in Lubbock. On one hand, the Frogs are getting all kinds of credit for escaping with a W. On the other hand, they fell in both polls this week.

It'll be interesting to see what happens if TCU runs away with things against Texas this upcoming Saturday.

The Next Game: Texas Longhorns

Texas is coming off of another loss, this time at the hands of Oklahoma State, and it appears that the Longhorn faithful have just become aware of something we've all known for a long time. Big 12 referees are horrifically incompetent.

Certainly there's no conspiracy against the University of Texas, but should a few calls break TCU's way this upcoming Saturday, we can expect the few heads left in Austin to explode.