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MMQB: Quite Aware Thanks.

TCU won its fourth straight game over Texas Tech and improved to 9-0 this past Saturday.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 05 Texas Tech at TCU Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After another slow start to the game, the Frogs thankfully woke up in the fourth quarter to take control of the game and put Texas Tech away with a final score of 34-24. A garbage-time touchdown from Tech put them over the 20-point mark for the game but the TCU defense did an excellent job on Saturday containing the Red Raider offense.

The Good:

Derius Davis: Davis broke the school record for punt return touchdowns on Saturday with his 5th career house call off of a punt. His 82-yard return in the first quarter would be the only touchdown scored by the Frogs until there were only 13 minutes left in the game. The Tech punter made the mistake of kicking a low hang time, line drive to Davis, allowing him to break the contain of the gunner and then outrun the rest of the punt coverage for a score. Davis also had three catches for 36 yards and a receiving touchdown on Saturday making a nice grab in traffic to extend the Frogs’ lead to double digits in the fourth quarter. Davis got open on a very well run post route that Max Duggan anticipated well for his first passing touchdown of the game. Davis again provided an offensive spark when the team needed one and was a big reason for the win on Saturday.

A Complete Defensive Effort: The TCU defense in weeks past had struggled in the first half and had to make some timely halftime adjustments to keep opposing teams within reach of the offense. This was not the case on Saturday as the Frogs’ defense arguably had its best game of the season, holding Texas Tech to just 24 points including a touchdown that the Red Raiders scored after TCU had pulled most of its defensive starters. The two Tech quarterbacks were held to 157 yards and a 50% completion percentage. Pass coverage was solid all around the board as Josh Newton and Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson had good days at cornerback. Bud Clark was excellent making open field tackles and Millard Bradford had a solid return from injury as well. Abe Camara had a great day in coverage, finishing with two passes defended including a touchdown safety deflection on a third and goal in the first quarter. We saw Shadrach Banks have probably his best game of the season with a sack and 5 total tackles. The pass rush overall was pretty good with four sacks as a team on the day. The defense also got better as the game went on as they caught on to the fact that when Donovan Smith came in at quarterback for 4th downs, he was probably going to run the ball. They adjusted to the speed option which produced some chunk plays early in the game, but started leading to tackles for loss later in the game. It was good to see the defense come out strong and still make adjustments as needed to continue playing well throughout the course of the game. The defense will need another performance like this one next week in Austin.

Late Game Physicality: Early in the game, TCU struggled to move the ball on the ground as the Tech defensive front held its ground well against the TCU offensive line and the Frogs’ ball carriers did not have a ton of room to work. Later in the game, however, the rushing attack for TCU broke through and Kendre Miller started to take over. Miller finished with 158 yards and a touchdown on just 21 carries good for over 7 yards per carry. Emari Demercado had a very Emari Demercado like game with excellent pass protection and providing a more downhill style of running to compliment Miller’s patient jump cut style. Demercado also had a very nice touchdown catch in the 4th quarter to effectively put the game away. Emani Bailey was very effective when he got a chance with 4 carries for 31 yards all in the 4th quarter. He showed very solid vision and quickness, picking up solid yardage even when the Tech defense knew that the Frogs were probably going to try and run the clock out. The Frogs rushing attack wore down the Tech defense and finally found success late in the game as all three running backs were very effective for TCU.

The Bad:

Offensive Line: The offensive line was not great for TCU on Saturday. The Texas Tech defensive front was able to get consistent pressure on Max Duggan for 4 sacks and was able to create negative plays in the rushing game for 10 total tackles for loss. The Frogs were able to eventually wear down the front seven for Tech and find success in the running game, but the pass protection was never very stable on Saturday. The offensive line had a couple of penalties as well that set the offense back a couple of times to go along with that. Part of issue was that the play calling didn’t do a lot to help the line out with an aggressive pass rush with very few screen passes being called. Generally screen passes will give pass rushers something to think about before pinning their ears back and pass rushing even on obvious passing downs. Texas Tech pass rushers were able to win with consistency using speed rushes to beat the TCU tackles around the edge and that is an area that needs to either be fixed or schemed around in the future.

Passing Attack Without Quentin Johnston: For all but the first two plays from scrimmage the TCU offense was without their best weapon and probably best overall player in Quentin Johnston. The lack of their dominant wideout threw the passing offense for a loop as Max Duggan finished with under 200 passing yards and a completion percentage at around 50%. TCU did not appear to have a receiver that they trusted to win against man coverage consistently and moved the ball mostly through slot receivers sitting down in holes in zone coverage. The Frogs have other weapons that have the physical tools to win against smaller defenders with Savion Williams at receiver and Jared Wiley and Geor’Quarius Spivey at tight end. All of those players have a significant height advantage over most corners but the offense did not look to have enough trust to let those guys go win on routes. Hopefully TCU will not have to deal with trying to win without Quentin Johnston again but if it does happen they will need to find other receivers Duggan trusts consistently against man coverage to have success through the air.

Linebackers in Pass Coverage: I am once again begging the TCU linebacking corps to please get depth in their pass drops as opposed to staying at their presnap depth, staring into the backfield. The first Texas Tech touchdown was a pass over the middle that was fit in right behind the linebackers. Putting the linebackers in man coverage is not putting them in a position to succeed but having them get to their pass drops in zone and look to pass off receivers between each other would do wonders for the TCU pass defense. I understand having a linebacker closer to the line of scrimmage on passing downs as a QB spy but oftentimes all 3 linebackers for the Frogs end up at a very shallow depth in pass coverage. The linebackers did a very solid job against the run and did a pretty good job tackling on Saturday but have room for improvement in coverage.

Play of the Game:

Derius Davis house call.