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TCU 33, SMU 3: Five Things We Learned

The Frogs struggled early again, but pulled away in the third quarter to put away the Ponies.

NCAA Football: Texas Christian at Southern Methodist Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The key offensive players are just as good as they’ve ever been. Kenny Hill, Kyle Hicks, and John Diarse are becoming this year’s version of Boykin, Green, and Doctson. Hill had another really solid night, converting some long third downs and making good reads downfield, save for the one interception in the red zone. Hicks continues to move the ball extremely well on the ground and is just as much of a weapon in the passing game. ESPN noted he only has a total of two negative rushing yards on the entire year. Diarse had another fantastic day as well, racking up 139 yards on 6 receptions and a touchdown. These three guys are special. Not to mention 12 different players registered a catch tonight.

The special teams is starting to become really special. The kickers each made two field goals, including a 46-yarder by Graf before being replaced by Hatfield, Adam Nunez had a good day punting the ball, including putting one out of bounds inside the 10, and Desmon White...

We just might be okay without Turpin. Every TCU fan loves watching Turpin electrify this team, and certainly some of that fuel was missing today, but Desmon White seemed to be every bit as good returning the ball on punts as #TurpinTime. White spun out of tackles and made others miss and nearly took his very first punt return to the house. Get well soon Turp, but rest assured your position is in good hands.

The defense still isn’t at the level we thought it would be before this year, but it is improving. The defensive line was getting good pressure tonight without the help of much blitzing, and the linebackers were all over the field. In particular, Ty Summers looks to have improved on his lateral field movement and vision, which is important when offenses try to match up running backs with linebackers. The secondary played well overall, had two interceptions late in the fourth quarter (Small & Orr), and Nick Orr nearly had one earlier in the game as well but saw the ball go through his hands. The bigger receivers still seem to be a problem for the smaller safeties and corners downfield, as Small did get beat on a few long passes- two of which were just overthrown by the SMU quarterback.

Penalties are still a thorn in the side of this team- and it isn’t who you think it is. Aviante Collins, a senior, had at least two holding penalties negating big first down plays. Josh Carraway and James McFarland, both seniors, were flagged at least 3 times for being offsides, giving SMU free plays and a free 5 yards each time. Until the senior leadership of this team starts playing like seniors, the penalties and penalty yards will rear their ugly heads and bite the Frogs against better opponents- we saw it last week against Arkansas. On a related note, Tackling also seemed to be a small issue at times, but looked much better in the second half.

All in all you can’t ask much more from a 30 point win against a “rival”. On to OU.