The Thrill Is Gone
From Week One, Sonny Dykes has described his team as not being the most excited to play and emphasized the need to show that excitement in order to perform well on the field. The Horned Frogs came out cocky to open the season and got embarrassed by an amped up Colorado Buffaloes squad, then fully disappeared in the 2nd half to lose another home contest vs. West Virginia, and now this horrific performance in Ames as every aspect of the game failed in some way on Saturday. The TCU Horned Frogs have continued to not be the most excited team on the field; there is no steak, no sizzle, no joy in Frogville. Whatever magic the Horned Frogs had in 2022, it has the opposite in 2023. Not only has it struck midnight on TCU’s Cinderella tale with the carriage it rode a season ago turned into a pumpkin, but that pumpkin has rotted out and infested with maggots.
Come Out Firing (Into Your Own Foot)
After its horrific finish to the game in Fort Worth last week, with a 2nd Half drive chart of four punts and two blocked field goals, the TCU offense needed to get things rolling right from its first possession. Throughout the week, we discussed that one of the keys to the game was finding easy throws for TCU QB Chandler Morris, to get him in a groove and comfortable with the game, to simply find some success to flush away the dreadful offensive performance from the week prior. Well, on the first drive Morris did find a target at the receiving end of an easy toss, however that target was wearing a Jack Trice legacy jersey. The defense forced a 3-and-out to give the offense a 2nd chance at a first impression, and TCU drove the ball right down the field reaching the redzone, where it is one of the worst in college football at generating points, this time it was another turnover as Beau Freyler had his first of two interceptions on the night, wrestling the ball from Dylan Wright like Tre’von Moehrig overpowering Purdue’s Rondale Moore. The TCU defense once again did its job, which it did mostly well throughout much of the game, forcing another punt to give the TCU offense the ball right back. The offense promptly delivered a 4-and-out, where the 4th & 1 play resulted Morris and Emani Bailey running into each other and falling to the ground for a Three Stooges-worthy slapstick loss of three and turnover on downs.
Is This The Basement?
The answer to that question likely hinges on the severity of the injury suffered by Chandler Morris early in the second half, as he went to the ground after rushing for a first down. In crutches for the remainder of the game, initial look would indicate the Horned Frogs will be turning to Josh Hoover to lead the offense going forward for as long as necessary. Hoover finished with a somewhat acceptable stat line, completing 58% of his passes, with a TD and an interception, but very easily could’ve had two more touchdowns if Dylan Wright & Corey Wren bring in catchable balls in the endzone. While we all may have thought last week was the basement and this game in Ames would be the turnaround, the Horned Frogs brought their shovels and dug that hole deeper. So, will the return to Amon G. Carter Stadium deliver better results with the BYU Cougars coming to town to renew an old Mountain West rivalry? BYU is on the hunt to capture the first win for a new Big 12 member over a legacy member (BYU’s win over fellow new member Cincinnati is the lone conference win for those four programs) and is coming off a bye week where it could sit back and watch the carnage. TCU simply must find the bottom of the pool and propel itself upward towards the surface next week with a win over BYU or it is likely to drown, following up a trip to the National Championship by missing a bowl. Here’s hoping this is the moment Sonny Dykes and his hand-picked coaching staff turns it around and rights the ship.