We won this game by 3 points...but why does it feel like a loss? Now I normally play the optimist, but man this was tough. I really thought we were going to in fact come in and just blow the doors off the Cyclones.
We in fact did not blow the doors off the cyclones. We won by 3, and hey look with the way that our season was looking this time last week I’ll take a win. Despite the score saying other wise, there was a lot to like in this one, just as much as there was to criticize. Let’s dive into this one:
-We won. Oh thank goodness gracious we won. We avenged the loss last year in Ames and that was satisfying for the most part. However, watching this game felt like rubbing sandpaper against my eyes, (AKA watching a Big 10 West football game), but the Frogs came out on top and that’s what matters. Even OU found itself in a close game with Army a week ago, so it’s not always about winning pretty. Sometimes it’s just about winning. Iowa State came to play (I think, at least that’s what I’m telling myself) and the Frogs fought tooth and nail and clawed their way to a third victory on the season.
-The defense. Our offense didn’t do our defense a ton of favors in this one, but man our defense is what give me life on Saturdays. We only let Iowa State really drive once, and that was the game tying drive late in the fourth. They gave up the one touchdown, but that was right after Iowa State had forced a turnover deep in TCU territory and had a very short field to work with. The Frog defense would later respond by finally forcing that long sought after turnover, that turned into 7 points for the Frogs. Our defense scored as many touchdowns as our offense in this one...which isn’t exactly encouraging, but other than the 3rd and 25 QB scramble that our defense surrendered I thought they played really well.
Brief Side Tangent: It was my first time getting to see TCU in person this season, and I was able to get a solid view of the performance of the defensive line. I knew he was getting double teamed on most plays and getting game planned for now, where he wasn’t as much last year, but oh my goodness...Ben Banogu was getting held on just about every snap. Now I’m rarely one to be that guy that strictly places the blame on refs, but what on earth. Does Banogu just need to sell it? I mean I’m not trying to encourage flopping, but the guy was literally getting held by the collar every time I saw him. I get that holding in college is much more lax than it is in the NFL, but please throw number 15 a bone here.
-Shawn Robinson’s decision making. While QB1 was technically responsible for 2 turnovers on the day, I don’t really put a ton of the fault for them on him. The play where he got sacked and fumbled, number 39 of the defense pretty much ran through our offensive line untouched (saving that for later) and was wrapped around Shawn before he could even make a read down field. As for the interception, that turned out to basically be an arm punt that gave ISU the ball at their own 3 yard line. While the throw was into triple coverage, had he put a bit more loft on it, I feel like Davis could have made that catch for the score. Also it is worth noting that Robinson went 21/29 and made good decisions for the most part. It was good to see him gain a little bit more confidence as a passer against a conference foe.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the big 3rd down conversion where he fit the ball into a tight window to Reagor in between 2 defenders for what was maybe the play of the game (maybe). Call me crazy, and I know that SR3 doesn’t wear 12 anymore, but in that moment he looked like another QB that I’ve seen make those types big time throws.
The guy also got knocked around all game and kept playing until he was literally on the ground writhing in pain. Not too sure what the injury is at this point, but Shawn you played tougher than anyone asked you to. Hats off to you QB1.
-Innis Gaines. Because he’s Innis Gaines.
And because he caused the turnover fumble that led to the scoop and score.
-Last but certainly not least...JONATHAN SONG WITH THE GAME WINNING FIELD GOAL AND NOT EVEN LOOKING PHASED. After Oberkrom left after the 2015 season, I was so afraid to love another kicker again (see the 3 losses that we suffered in 2016 because of missed kicks)...but Song showed me that there is life after love, that it’s okay to put your trust in a kicker to win you a game when it is all on the line. A reliable kicking game will help ease the stress of a close game, so I’m more than glad to say that it looks like we may have a reliable option once more kicking field goals for the Frogs.
-The offensive line play. The Cyclone defensive line almost ate the interior of our offensive line all night long. We could not establish the run game - especially up the middle - and we gave up 9 tackles for loss on the day. NINE! You’re not going to win many games in the Big 12 when you let your opponents defense make that many plays in the backfield. I know we need the O-line to grow, and I know we are a young team, but we have got to start playing better in the trenches. If we can establish the run, the I will always feel confident about any game we go into.
-What is targeting? I still don’t truly know. What I do know is that Turpin had to get stitches after getting blown up on that big hit from an Iowa State defender as he was being taken to the ground.
-I know we had our biggest strength taken away from us by not being able to establish the run game early on, but I had some concerns with the play calling. Does the staff not trust Shawn to throw the ball up the middle often? Because, from where I could see, we ran a lot of plays that were just throws to the outside or some sort of screen. Now the problem with the screen plays are if Shawn does not place it right in the WR’s hands, they are not going to have a lot to work with. Having to move back to the ball leaves them open to get tackled for a loss behind the line of scrimmage or they are going to have to work harder to get those yards - since the play takes longer to develop. When he does put the throw on the money to the WR screen, it works great —> as evident by the TD throw to Barber. My concern is that if we limit our playbook to these types of plays we are going to lose so much explosiveness on offense...which is the thing we maybe need most right now.
-Having our white out game planned during the literal same time as Penn State’s white out. Sorry guys, but we’re not going to do better than them...so let’s just try and schedule it a different week. Am I picking nits? Yes. Am I trying to provide #content? Also yes.
Play of the game:
I almost never choose a special teams play, but the Frogs walked out with a win because of the gift that is known as Jonathan Song’s foot. However, I can’t not choose a play that involved both Innis Gaines and Ben “Ostrich Eggs” Banogu. Especially when it went for 6 points. I just can’t. That’s like telling me to not be myself. I mean Innis causes the fumble, Collier tackles the QB, and Banogu picks up the ball and takes it to the house. I present you with: “Innis and Ben Turning on the Jets”.
Next Week: Bye Week
The Frogs take on scary bye week next week. This gives the Frogs the opportunity to rest up and get healthy. Hopefully we are able to carry the momentum of the win into the bye week as we begin to prep to take on the Red Raiders next Thursday. Frog fans, take a deep breath and enjoy the week off. Goodness knows that we all need a breather.