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MMQB: The Running of the Frogs

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The Frogs saddled up their horses and ran all over the Red Raiders Saturday night.

TCU v Texas Tech Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images

Well, let’s address the elephant in the room: I’m not Mason Chreene, but this is MMQB.

Due to some travel issues, I’m going to attempt to fill in for our normal scribe, and while I don’t possess the humor or pop culture knowledge of Mase, I’m going to attempt my best imitation.

And hey — I get to write about a WIN!!

Yes friends, the TCU Football Horned Frogs rolled into West Texas, rolled through the Red Raiders defense, and rolled out with a much needed win, but few Frog fans watched 60 minutes of football and felt like they knew their team better at the end. Much to the continued frustration of many of us, instead of taking the opportunity against an overmatched team to work on some weaknesses, the Frogs got very vanilla once they went up three scores, elected to not have their much-maligned QB do much throwing of the ball, and just ran out the clock to get the heck out of there.

TCU isn’t going to get many chances to work on things in-game this season, and lord knows there’s lots to work on. But a win is a win and the Frogs got their third one Saturday. Let’s take a look back.

THE GOOD

Hoo boy that Texas Tech defense is bad but hooooooooo boy that TCU run game looked good Saturday night in Lubbock. Zach Evans went over 100 yards in the first quarter and looked primed to flirt with the Frogs’ single-game rushing record (Gary would NEVER) before bowing out halfway through with a minor injury. After the game, Patterson confirmed that Evans could have played were he needed, but the team elected to be safe with him due to the score and Kendre Miller’s performance in his stead. It was not, contrary to popular belief, punishment for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty assessed to both Evans and Derius Davis after his second touchdown of the night.

Evans finished with 143 yards and two scores on 17 touches, equally in a half what he was given the opportunity to do across four quarters a week ago. He was not stopped behind the line of scrimmage a single time, averaging 8.4 yards per touch.

And somehow, that wasn’t the best performance of the night.

Much like he did a few games back, Miller’s first touch of the night went all the way, and he would finish the game with 190 yards, three touchdowns, and a long of 75 on just 12 touches. Ridiculous. Truly.

You also have to give props to the offensive line, who opened a bunch of holes on the night and helped Evans become the first Frog since 2002 to eclipse the 100 yard mark in four straight, and to Trevius Hodges-Tomlinson, who was excellent once again, highlighting his big night with a pick-6 in the first half that put TCU on top 28-7 and seemed to be the point where TCU fans finally felt secure in the win.

TJ Carter had a team high 12 tackles, and while you don’t want a safety to lead your team in that stat, he played what was probably his best game as a Frog and showed the difference having him on the field makes.

THE BAD

Well, um... that defense. Yikes.

I know much of the yardage came in garbage time and/or as the Red Raiders were attempting a furious and unsuccessful comeback, but good golly miss molly how are you going to feel okay with giving up well over 500 yards to an opponent once again no matter what the score is?! The Red Raiders are playing a backup QB and are super dinged up across the board but they had their way with a TCU defense that has yet to put together four quarters that make you feel good about the prospects of the program when you’re playing a team worth their salt.

It was an(other) embarrassing display for a program that has paved its stadium on the back of its defensive reputation and had to have fans feeling some heartburn when you look at who comes up next on the schedule.

Here’s the thing: this secondary has serious issues. They don’t know the system, they aren’t comfortable with the playbook, and the communication is so bad that GP had to put his best CB at safety last week just to get someone to talk out there.

These are young guys, but they aren’t rookies: the guys stepping out onto the field have played a lot of snaps in the secondary and yet the unit hasn’t gelled.

There’s just no pride on that side of the ball. I see guys playing hard, absolutely, but I see a bunch of guys that don’t understand basic tackling principals and don’t seem willing to do the little things right. Henry Colombi lit them up in the second half... what is Caleb Williams going to do?

Also bad: said this before, but how you’re going to have Max Duggan attempt just ten passes on the night when you have a chance to tune some things up is beyond me. You know we are going to get the same line we always do: guys were hurt, just wanted a win, didn’t want to risk anything we didn’t have to...”

But like some of y’all said in the comments on Jamie’s Quick Thoughts: are you trying to win a game or are you trying to compete for a conference title and a good bowl game?

This season, to this point, has felt very much like checking the boxes to six wins. And since when has that been good enough for this program?

PLAY OF THE GAME:

This Kendre Miller run, after a big Tech touchdown, sucked the life out of the stadium and I was HERE FOR IT:

NEXT WEEK

Night game in Norman, with a possibly new — and better — QB.

What Caleb Williams did in the second half against Texas, coupled with the way that Kennedy Brooks took over, should send shivers down our spines. Lincoln Riley hasn’t flat-out said that Spencer Rattler is benched, but that guy is way too smart to not play the best player at the most important position.

This one could get wild.