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It’s Rabbit Season: Keys to Victory vs SDSU

TCU opens their season Saturday against a good FCS opponent. Here’s what needs to happen to start the season off on the right foot.

TCU's KaVontae Turpin scoring one of many touchdowns in 2015
TCU’s KaVontae Turpin is expected to score a whole lot more touchdowns in 2016
Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

That’s right, it’s wabbit season people. TCU welcomes an FCS program that went 8-4 last year, getting a win on the road at Kansas in the process. Yes, that Kansas team went winless last year, but they also gave TCU a run for their money in Fort Worth. The South Dakota State Jackrabbits have made the FCS playoffs each of the last four years, which you already know if you were tuned into Patterson’s press conference earlier this week. If you heard him talk, you’d think the Frogs are about to play Appalachian State. Here’s what the Frogs need to do on Saturday to avoid that kind of spectacle in their home opener:

Have Kenny Thrill, Then Chill

Also mentioned in Patterson’s press conference this week were the expectations for TCU’s new quarterback. Specifically, that he not try to do too much. This is the perfect opportunity for him to get used to running the offense and understanding how to properly utilize the depth of the playmaking talent surrounding him. That means Kenny doesn’t have to win games by himself.

That mentality takes a lot of pressure off of him as the quarterback, and also will help this group in learning to trust each other and play as a unit. Run the offense, score points, and then get off the field. If things are going as planned, Foster Sawyer will be getting in his work in the second half.

Win the Turnover Battle

Want to lose to a team that you should beat? Make sure to give them free scoring opportunities. It’s really hard to go on the road and pull off an upset against a good team, but it gets much easier if you can win the turnover battle. Appalachian State was one fumble-recovery away from upsetting Tennessee in Knoxville on Thursday. Oh, and they won the turnover battle against the Vols 2-1.

Play For the Shutout

It may be cliche, but you can’t lose the game if the other team doesn’t score any points. Of course, the goal of any Gary Patterson defense is to keep the other team from scoring. This is coming more from a place of pride than anything else. We all expect this defense to be good with all of the talent and experience that they bring back. The question is, how good are they going to be?

Some have argued that they have a chance to be one of the best units that Patterson has fielded. Well, if that’s the case, they need to start proving it now by making a statement. That 2010 Rose Bowl defense recorded two shutouts and allowed a touchdown or less in five other games. It’s going to be hard to shut people out in the Big 12, so best to get one out of the way now and set the tone for the season.

Show up and Protect the Carter

The Frogs need to show up ready to play, and I believe that Patterson’s coaching staff and the leaders on this team will have them prepared. Like I said above, I believe we should be playing for a blowout, shutout win. That’s what we’re capable of. But the fans also need to show up and fill the seats. Not just in the first half either. Let’s get out there and give these Frogs a great crowd to play for. Show appreciation for the upperclassmen and all they have accomplished, and show the newcomers on this team what TCU football is about. I’ll see you all there.