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MMQB: Almost Spooky

The Frogs held on to an early lead to beat a very bad team in Waco

NCAA Football: Texas Christian at Baylor Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

I can’t believe that TCU played a game on Saturday that involved them going up by 30 in the first half, and before the game ended I was still calling the offense “pathetic” along with other not so savory words.

This offense tried to throw us off the scent early in the game, but then over their final 7 “meaningful” drives that wasn’t the final one where they ran out the clock, the TCU offense scored a WHOPPING 3 POINTS and allowed Baylor to claw their way back into the game to the tune of a 23-3 run. It was giving fans 2014 flashbacks (forgive me for mentioning), until Trevon Moehrig said “Alright enough of that Baylor” and got the defense off of the field on a 4th down pass breakup.

You might be saying “But Mason, TCU beat Baylor, isn’t that enough?” and for the most part I would agree with you. Beating Baylor freaking rocks. There was a lot to like in this game - specifically in the first half, but anyone that watched that game in its entirety knows that the poor TCU offense that we’ve seen in the past is still very alive and well.

I will revisit this point in the “BAD” section of the article, but trying to “shorten the game” and give your defense a rest clearly doesn’t work in the Big 12 (or modern football sans Georgia). You know what’s great for your defense? Giving them some insurance and scoring as many points as possible on as many offensive drives as possible.

Anyways, let’s jump into it.

The Good:

-Zach Evans, certified beast: Look I’m not one that likes to overreact, but if we are going to become a run heavy team (heaven forbid), Zach Evans should be more involved. His 30 yard touchdown run in the second quarter looked so effortless. His acceleration looks to be ELITE, and he’s shown great hands in the passing game. The game plan should be to get the ball into your elite playmakers’ hands and Evans did enough yesterday to show that he can be one of those right away. Evans finished his day with 7 carries for 81 yards. Averaging 11.8 yards per carry... absurd.

-Darwin Barlow, also a certified beast: Not to be outshined by Evans, Darwin Barlow led the team in rushing with 16 carries for 117 yards, including one 74 yard run to set TCU up for their final score of the game... which was 5 minutes in the third quarter. While I do like having a solid stable of running backs, which TCU very much has this year, I have enjoyed seeing Barlow (and Evans after this game) pull away and establish himself as the early game guy on the ground. Each one of the backs has their own unique set of skills, but Barlow has been getting the heaviest workload through the season so far. Long story short, he’s making plays and making plays makes us all happy.

-Quentin Johnston, still a DUDE: QJ led the team in receiving yards with 64 yards on 3 catches, but once again just because he is a true freshman doesn’t mean he’s not capable of being the best or second best receiver on the team. Just here for the QJ appreciation sentence really.

-Decent offensive line play: The Frogs up front finally didn’t do a terrible job. LET’S. FREAKING. GO. Now this does not mean that our offensive line has nowhere to go but up and is going to improve week after week. That’d be nice, and I will say the more snaps that they play together the better they are going to be. While I have given them all a lot of grief all season long (deservedly so) they did play much better today. When the play calling allowed for Duggan to throw downfield the offensive line gave Duggan more time than they have in the past. This let Duggan really show how good of a passer that he can be, and when Duggan got time he looked REALLY good.

-For the most part, the defense: I really am putting this on here to shout out Dee Winters who absolutely balled out. The defense did great, and look I don’t feel great picking on college athletes, but it’s not every week that you play the Baylor QB and the Baylor offensive line. That being said, production is production and I’ll take it.

-The first half/the first half philosophy: The Frogs got the hands into their playmakers early and often, moved the ball down the field, threw it vertically and scored three touchdowns on offense. Derius Davis added 6 more on the board with a special teams touchdown, the first of the season for the Frogs, and it is proof that this team has the offensive talent to put up points with anyone in the Big 12. As for the second half...

The Bad:

-The second half/the second half philosophy: After going up 30-7, the offense seemed to lose all sense of urgency in the second half. They had one field goal early in the third quarter, but other than that the TCU offense punted the ball away or turned it over on downs. The play calling went full turtle mode, the offense refused to throw the ball down the field, and seemingly went away from everything that worked in the first half.

The way that the Frogs played on offense in the second half allowed for Baylor to creep back into the game and swing the momentum entirely. Every TCU fan that was watching that game 100% tightened up in that 4th quarter. I am not going to get off of the offense’s case until they show all of us that they can consistently execute at a slightly above average level. They haven’t shown that they can even do it for a full game.

Look a win is a win, and I’m happy we beat Baylor, but this Baylor team is bad. Rivalry games (on Halloween) are supposed to get weird so I’m not going to blow a gasket here, but we have to show some signs of improvement if we want to consider any part of this season a success. Max looked good, and that’s enough for me to not pour a double of Whiskey every night this week.

Play of the Week:

I would have put in Zach Evans’ effortless TD run where just seems to glide on into paydirt for six points, but I’m going with Darwin Barlow’s 74 yard run. The longest run TCU has had from scrimmage since week 3 of 2019.

Next Week: Texas Tech rolls into town

Don’t let the curb stomping that the Red Raiders just took from Oklahoma, TCU has not beaten Tech at home since 2014 (Also that is the only time at home that we have beaten Tech since joining the Big 12). As I mentioned last week, having the stretch of Baylor, Texas Tech, and Kansas gives TCU an opportunity to put together a string of wins and really start to show signs of improvement on offense. They are going to have to execute well on that side fo the ball for 60 minutes if I’m to believe that we are going to finally break the home losing streak to Tech.

Now’s the time to put together some wins and play your asses off Frogs.