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MMQB: Cardiac Clash With Cal

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The Frogs found themselves in hot water on Saturday, but were able to get out of it with the help of their playmakers. 

NCAA Football: California at Texas Christian
QJ looked like the superstar we all believe he can be on Saturday.
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Honestly after walking out of Amon G. Carter stadium after that game I said I needed two things

1) Some Naproxen

2) A cigarette

That game against the Golden Bears took years off of my life. Should it have? That’s a story for another day - but TCU got into a back and forth fight at home with a team that just came off a loss to Nevada. I know there is a narrative of “win by 1” and “you take 2-0” but part of me thinks that this game should not have been as close as it was. I mean you take away 2 or 3 plays and TCU could have been up 34-18.

I’m not complaining that we won, I’m just a little concerned with the upcoming slate of games that we have on our schedule and how this team just looked against its first real opponent.

Alright let’s start with the good.

THE GOOD

-Zach Freaking Evans: look I know that there are a large part of TCU twitter that dies a little inside everytime someone says the phrase, ironically or not, “establish the run” buuuuut if we gave the ball to Zach Evans every play….I wouldn’t say it’s the worst game plan.

Number 6 is clearly the most talented offensive player on the roster, maybe even the most talented offensive player TCU has ever had...at least the most talented since Josh Doctson.

With time running out in the first half with TCU trailing 19-7, Evans was kind enough to personally escort the football across the goal line for the Frogs right before the end of the half to put the home team right back in it. While it wasn’t a clutch fourth quarter play, that second quarter run may have been the most important play of the game since it allowed momentum to swing right back in TCU’s direction.

-Quentin Johnston, feaster of DBs: I mean 5 receptions for 95 yards and 2 touchdowns (both of which gave TCU the lead at different points in the game). What more do you want? He’s going to be an even bigger force of nature if him and Duggan can start to connect on the deep ball.

-Max Duggan, tough guy: This should pretty much just be his legal name. I feel like I say this about him every other week. Even though he got hit and sacked several times by the other team (way to go OL) and couldn’t get the deep ball going during the game, he still found a way to gut it out and get the win. He scored the game winning TD with 5:47 min left in the game on an immaculate dive into the end zone.

-Dee Winters: Once again led the team in tackles with 8, but one of which was a TFL and another was for a sack. Keep eating big boy.

THE BAD:

-Max Duggan Deep Throw Accuracy: At times it was tough to watch, it seemed like QB1 chucked it deep 5 or 6 times during the game and none of them landed in the hands of the receiver. There was one extremely painful moment where a receiver went through busted coverage (or just ran really good route I didn’t see in time) and Max overthrew him despite not a single defensive player being within 20 yards of him. I’m not sure if Max was so shocked that the player was so wide open and rushed his throw, but the only thing you do not do with a wide open receiver is overthrow him.

While he did show great ability to attack the middle of the field on Saturday, Max and Co. HAVE to get that deep ball fixed because right now it isn’t working.

-Cornerback Depth: Alright time to rip the Band-aid off.

We need Noah Daniels back.

So much of what happened during the game was that Cal’s QB threw it deep time after time against a particular DB... I will also say he threw it deep against THT, who was draped all over the receiver, and the receiver still caught it...so sometimes other teams make plays. HOWEVER, when it is a clear part of the opposing team’s game plan to attack your weakest link over and over you need to make an adjustment. Also this DB will not be mentioned but he’s gotta stop falling down while running with WR’s.

Thankfully we have 2 weeks off to get healthy for SMU. If what we have now is tough to watch at times, I cannot imagine what the secondary would look like if a couple of guys get banged up.

-TCU defense on third down: Now my perception of the defense right now may be a little warped with a majority of Cal’s large gains/points coming on those previously mentioned deep passes, but it just seemed that our defense couldn’t come up with a big stop when we really needed it. I know the Cal RB was stopped on the 2 point conversion that would have tied the game (where he fell down a half yard short and fumbled into the end zone...which lol what a TCU way to win), but the defense as a whole doesn’t quite seem to be what I thought it would be just yet.

Now it is almost a Patterson staple for the defense to get better as the year goes on, but man I really thought I’d see more out of the defensive end position, and the secondary grade is TBD until Daniels is back but we have got to get some production out of the defensive ends in terms of QB pressures and sacks.

PLAY OF THE GAME:

Zach Evans house call right before the half.

NEXT WEEK: BYE

TCU gets a week off and an extra week to prepare for SMU when the Ponies come to town to try and defend their Iron Skillet win from 2019.