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Kicking Ourselves: Georgia 31, TCU 23

The 2016 season ends in a loss as TCU leaves too many points on the board.

NCAA Football: Liberty Bowl-Texas Christian vs Georgia
It took a while, but Georgia imposed its will on the ground.
Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

A frustrating loss for the Frogs in a game that it felt like they controlled in many phases. They contained the vaunted Georgia ground game for the first half, frustrated the passing game and did some good things on offense, but were once again undone by their mistakes. Kenny Hill was stripped for a fumble on a promising end of half drive, and a great kickoff return to start the second half was negated by a Hicks fumble on the first scrimmage play, which resulted in a Georgia touchdown that would prove to be one of the key differences in an 8 point game. Emphasis on being “One of” the key differences, as the biggest difference of the day was the kicking game, as the long bemoaned play of Brandon Hatfield continued in this game, missing two fairly simple field goals and an extra point for 7 total points that would have put much more pressure on Georgia to pass to stay in it, rather than let them stubbornly continue their attempts to start their ground game.

Despite it resulting in four three and outs in the first half, Georgia’s stubborn attempts to establish the run finally offered payment as Nick Chubb had a monster second half, going for over 140 second half yards after being held to about 20 in the first half, including a monster bust that gave Georgia the first down needed to ice the victory at the end. The TCU secondary did well in coverage, but had numerous missed tackles that resulted in most of Georgia’s offensive production on the day- which actually kept them in a game that might have otherwise been a TCU blowout in the first half. Additionally, while the Frogs were able to get ample pressure on the Dawgs QB to the tune of three sacks (including a forced fumble), they too often gave up their containment lanes, letting Eason scramble out for 32 sack adjusted rush yards and two extremely key third down conversions. Throw in a successful fake kick, and you have all the makings of a typical TCU bowl performance.

On the offensive end the frustration falls on the usual suspects of the O-line, who were repeatedly whipped by their counterparts on the Georgia side, and when LT Joseph Noteboom left the game with an injury it turned into a washout with Georgia routinely getting free runners at Hill leading to Kenny having to roll out repeatedly instead of going through his progressions. Still, it was an impressive enough performance by Hill overall, with 98 sack adjusted rushing yards while completing 2/3s of his passes for 2 TDs and no picks. The issues were the 30 yards of sacks surrendered, as well as the frustrating playcalling which on multiple occasions simply ran the exact same play to the opposite side for miserable results- a good idea in EA’s NCAA football series, but not actually a good idea in a real football game. Combined with Hatfield’s miserable kicking and you have the same sort of consistency issues that plagued TCU all year- but a special mention should go out to John Diarse, who made two incredible grabs for touchdowns and may have finally started to develop into the player that we thought we were getting when he transferred in and claimed the #9 jersey (which should have been immediately retired).

Finally, the officiating was bad. That’s not to say it was biased, as there were multiple missed calls on each side, and Georgia spent the entire first half in penalty trouble, but the missed targeting call that knocked TCU’s Isiah Graham out of the game was egregious. Then on the same drive, Hicks was facemasked twice on the same play, neither of which were called. Again, the officials weren’t biased, they were bad- but when the calls missed are about player safety, I absolutely hate to see it.

So TCU’s up and down season ends at 6-7 after today’s game, and we know how much work there is to be done this offseason. I would like Patterson to make some coaching staff adjustments on the offensive staff (particularly with regard to the O-line coach), but, as always, we have faith that Patterson will make the right moves to have us ready for what could be a big 2017.

Go Frogs.