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MMQB: Toasted by Turnovers

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The Frogs gave up the ball 4 times in a one possession loss to OK State in Stillwater.

NCAA Football: Texas Christian at Oklahoma State Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

Damnit. That was frustrating. Not the most frustrating loss of the year by any means, and if you told me that we played poorly in Stillwater and lost by one possession...I would say ya that sounds about right.

We are 1-4 in Stilly since joining the Big 12 and the only thing that runs shorter than our luck in Boone Pickens Stadium are the sidelines. Let’s dive into this one.

The Good:

-Jalen Reagor: Once again, the one true love of my life showed out, risked his body time and time again for this team, played through pain, and finished with 7 receptions for 128 yards. His season high in a single game. Our quarterback(s) made it a point to get him the ball even when he wasn’t open..and you’ll be surprised to know that it resulted in mostly good outcomes.

-Garret Wallow, tackle machine: You will also find this as a shock, but Garret Wallow once again led the team in tackles! The Junior finished with 11 tackles in total, 10 of which are solo. It’s only a shame that he couldn’t have added 2 more on 2 specific Chuba Hubbard runs...

-Ross Blacklock: Here is your weekly Ross Blacklock appreciation sentence.

-Max Duggan, the Runner: Once again Duggan showed off that moxie and extra value that he brings to the table when he calls his own number. While I wish he would throw the ball away more often, he does have the tendency to make magic happen on the ground. He had a couple of nice runs, including a game buster for 42 yards in our opening drive in the 2nd half.

-Forcing Turnovers: While the Frogs had a lot of their own turnovers on the day, the boys in purple were able to extend their forcing turnover streak to 2 games in a row after Trevon Moehrig picked off Spencer Sanders late in the game. It’s not much, but it shows that we are getting better at something. Considering he’s a Sophomore, if Moehrig continues to make plays like this as his TCU career grows...he could be something special.

-Consistent Kicking - This is genuinely not satirical! I don’t think I mentioned this in last week’s column, but we have been very consistent (knock on wood so hard my knuckles bleed) in the kicking game so far this season. We have made significantly more than we have missed, and there is something to be said about not wanting to throw up every time we send out our kicker for extra points and medium to short range field goals.

The Bad meets the Rational Quarterback Analysis Manifesto:

-Max Duggan, the passer: This does not mean true Freshman quarterback Max Duggan is bad. It does not mean that he is going to be bad, it does not mean that he is a finished product by any means, but this was his first truly bad game as a Horned Frog. Hopefully he doesn’t have many more going forward, but he is a true freshman and he showed it today.

Not throwing the ball away when the pocket collapsed, and throwing 3 picks on heaves down the field trying to save drives ended up dooming the Frogs today. Now not all of the turnovers today were on him. We had an awesome opening second half drive that ended up in zero points due to a John Stephens fumble that was as big of a derp moment as you can have. Dumb stuff happens in TCU games A LOT, so it happens and I’m not going to rip into the kid. But that really killed our momentum. We scored twice in the second quarter to tie in up and then all opportunity to take the lead goes out the window on that fumble.

Duggan seemed a little shaken up later on in the fourth quarter as we were down by two possessions, which after getting sacked 5 times on the day, I get it. Not really much for me to overreact to here on the players’ end. I think the fact that Duggan played well at times is what kept us in the game. He had 2 really awesome drives in the second quarter that helped us tie a game where it felt like we had one hand tied behind our back. He would have probably had another awesome drive had that afore mentioned fumble not happened.

I’m sure we’ll have a piece/podcast later on where our very Parker Fleming dives into how bad certain play calls were (I’m being nice, Parker will probably roast the entire play calling) but I can’t help but say that my feelings were a little hurt by how little we threw the ball on first down. I’m not trying to be all #ANALYTICSARETHEFUTURE here but teams with elite offenses aren’t afraid to pass on first down and for good reason! Now we are FAR FAR FAR from being an elite offense (ah 2015 where have the good times gone!) but to me it just seems like all we know how to do most of the time is chuck it deep on 2nd and short/3rd, run the ball up the gut or pass to Pro Wells. To the last of those three things I say hell ya. Of course I’m exaggerating but the TL;DR for our offense right now is - THIS AIN’T IT CHIEF.

I’m going to see what Cumbie does in this upcoming one against the Baylor Bears, but if I see more of the same then once again I’m going to have to scratch my head and be like maybe it really is time for a change at play caller. I’m not on the FIRE train like some other people, but a loss to Baylor in which our offense just looks lost (IF Duggan plays) could open my mind up to the idea.

Now onto the rest of the bad.

-The Fumbles strike again: This has essentially become a weekly appearance in the bad section. We apparently don’t know how to protect the ball and we just find new ways to fumble the ball away every single week. Here are all of the games where we have fumbled in a meaningful game:

-Arkansas Pine Bluff

-SMU

-Iowa State

-Texas

-Oklahoma State

We’ve lost 3 of the games above and while the fumbles are not the lone factor that caused any of these losses they are still VERY troublesome. This gets me frustrated more than maybe anything about this team, because it’s something that can be fixed - and easily at that. Now I’m not a coach (Gary don’t throw a spear at my head you know I love you) the three points of protection are not hard to learn and running with the ball tucked high and tight is CERTAINLY not hard to do. Once again, please fix this soon!

-Run Defense: We all knew Chuba Hubbard was an animal and he has rightfully earned the name El Chubacabra, but that 95 yard run he busted open where he didn’t have to split the safeties at all just made me sick. You go into the game knowing that he is the leading rusher in the COUNTRY and yet we don’t show him the respect that he’s earned on the defensive end. Alright. I can live with giving up runs to dual threat QB’s, but 2 50+ yard runs up the middle is just not in line with the GP brand. I’d actually like to know if that 95 yard run is the longest play on the ground that a Patterson coached team has ever given up.

Play of the Week:

Jalen Reagor must have incredible shoulders from carrying this team’s offense on Saturday, so you already knew he was going to get a shout out in this section this week. He caught a pass from Michael Collins where he absolutely MOSSED the defender draped around him, drew a penalty flag but it didn’t matter cause he came down with it anyways.

He is daddy and don’t you forget it.

Next Week: Baylor Bears come to town

You all already know what to do. It’s Baylor hate week. Let the hate flow through you. The Bears are unbeaten, and while we are definitely down at the moment, nothing would help us get up more than an undefeated Baylor team coming in to Fort Worth and leaving with a loss.

As always, Go Frogs.