That was tough to watch, pretty much from start to finish. It’s staggering to me that a team coming off a bye week could show such little life.
I said in my game preview that TCU would need a great game to be able to compete, let alone win, and what they did out on that field was far from compete. They were out of it from the moment the clock started ticking. Here are five things we learned.
1. West Virginia is the real deal
First things first: give props to the opponent. West Virginia was dominant on both sides of the ball today. They were great on third downs on both sides of the ball, too, converting seven of their 13 chances on offense, while holding TCU to just one converted third down attempt all day.
The Mountaineers did exactly what they needed to do. They took advantage of all the mistakes TCU made, while executing their game plan to perfection.
2. This defense is simply bad
The tackling was bad. The coverage was bad. The ball awareness was bad. It hurts to watch a TCU team play such bad defense. Now, the offense put them in some tough positions, so I’ll go easy on them there, but let’s take a look at West Virginia’s drive to open the half. A 15-play 7:36 minute drive that (thankfully) resulted in just a field goal.
West Virginia converted three of the four third downs they faced, in part thanks to a terribly timed offsides penalty from TCU.
Beyond a few individuals, namely Josh Carraway and Ranthony Texada, this defense simply isn’t good enough.
I will say though, that part of this game has to be on the offense. The defense was gassed for the entire second half, while TCU possessed the ball for less than five minutes of game time.
3. Kyle Hicks still didn’t get the ball enough
Kyle Hicks had 16 first-half touches, and I thought to myself “finally, they’re doing what they need to do to get Hicks the ball.” Then he touched the ball twice in the entire second half. That’s 18 touches, right at his average for the season. He finished with 105 rushing yards and 17 receiving yards.
I really don’t know what else to say. I understand that when TCU got the ball for the first time in the third quarter they were down 14 points, but that’s not a good excuse. In fact, it makes it even more ridiculous that Hicks only got the ball once on that drive.
The defense had just been put through an almost eight-minute drive, and TCU’s offense had the ball for a whopping 1:06 of game time. Talk about not setting up your defense for success.
4. Turnovers and penalties will kill you
Who knows how this game plays out if TCU doesn’t turn the ball over twice in the first three minutes of the game. You consider that, plus right when TCU had one more chance to get back in it, Deante Gray fumbled on a kickoff for the second time, and TCU was setting itself up to fail.
Part of the credit these turnovers go to West Virginia. They got in there and forced the ball loose twice on Gray, and the DB made a good play on Hill’s pass. At the same time, it’s not hard to knock the ball loose when you hold it as far away from your body as possible, and Hill threw behind the slant route.
Meanwhile, TCU had almost as many penalties (9) as they did points (10).
5. The question now shifts...
Officially from “how do they fix this?” to “will this team make a bowl?” The rest of the schedule lines up as follows:
- October 29 - Texas Tech
- November 5 - @ Baylor
- November 19 - Oklahoma State
- November 25 - @ Texas
- December 3 - Kansas State
Which two games does TCU win? I’m holding out hope for wins over Tech and Texas, but things are starting to look bleak for the now 4-3 Frogs.