The Frogs kept their bowl game hopes alive with a blowout win over their in-state rival Baylor Bears. TCU played well on both sides of the ball, holding Baylor to just 17 points while exploding for 531 yards of offense behind an explosive passing attack. The Frogs will have an opportunity to get back to .500 on the season against Oklahoma next week in Norman.
Josh Hoover: The performance on Saturday from Josh Hoover topped his great game against BYU earlier this season for me. Hoover exploded for 412 yards and two touchdowns with an 83% completion percentage. Frog fans also saw Hoover show off the speed who picked up a rushing touchdown and looked very athletic on a quarterback draw that went for 22 yards. Hoover demonstrated excellent processing speed and was decisive and confident in distributing the ball. Hoover routinely made throws to his third or fourth read and was effective in finding the check-down when Baylor sent pressure. Hoover looked comfortable throwing to all of his receivers as nine TCU players had a reception on Saturday. The accuracy from Hoover was on full display as he was very efficient and kept the ball out of harm’s way. Only having five incompletions on almost 30 passing attempts is a good indicator that Hoover was putting the ball exactly where he wanted to on Saturday. Hoover used all areas of the field, as well, with on-target screen passes, strong throws through traffic over the middle, and a nice touch throw to Savion Williams on a go route down the sideline. Hoover has had nice pocket awareness for a freshman since his first start and this game was no different as he climbed in the pocket confidently when needed and made athletic plays to escape collapsing pockets a couple of times. It was an all-around great performance from the freshman quarterback on Saturday.
Jared Wiley: It was fitting that senior Jared Wiley had the best game of his college career on Senior Day. Wiley went off for seven catches for 178 yards and two touchdowns in the final home game of his career. Wiley has been one of, if not the most, consistent weapons for the Frogs this year. He has great hands and a wide catch radius, providing a great target for TCU quarterbacks. He also showed off very solid top-end speed on Saturday with both of his touchdowns involving plenty of yards after the catch. Wiley has been a fun player to root for and watch during his time with the Frogs and it was a feel-good moment for Frog fans to watch him dominate in his last home game.
Pass Protection: The Frogs only let up one sack on Saturday, due in large part to a great performance from the TCU pass protection unit. TCU was without starting tackle Andrew Coker but did not miss a beat in pass protection, keeping the pocket very clean for Josh Hoover. There were very few if any, miscommunications from the offensive line. The offensive lineman also had very few one-on-one losses in pass protection. The TCU offense has been very dependent on good pass protection (like almost all offenses) and good pass protection on Saturday was a big factor in the offensive success.
Team Defense: The Frogs’ defense had a very solid game on Saturday. Holding any Power 5 offense to under 20 points is an impressive feat (even if that Power 5 team is 3-8 on the year). TCU had a bunch of solid performances on Saturday and did not make many mistakes on defense leading to few big plays from the Baylor offense. The Frogs played well on early downs, setting themselves up for success on key third and fourth downs and it paid off. Baylor was just 5-14 on third down and 2-6 on fourth down against the Frogs. Damonic Williams had another good game, picking up a sack and holding up well in run defense. Williams has moved around from nose tackle to defensive end this season and has had success at both positions. Wherever Williams plays next week and next season, he will continue to be an impact player for the Frogs moving forward. Josh Newton had a great game in his final home game as a Frog. Newton had three tackles along with a pass deflection that was almost an interception. The TCU linebackers had a solid day as a whole, with Shad Banks and Jamoi Hodge making eight and seven tackles respectively and Namdi Obiazor making a couple of splash plays and three tackles on the day. The defense played very well as a unit and shut down the Baylor offense even with the absence of a turnover.
Red Zone Struggles: Red zone struggles continued to haunt the Frogs on Saturday as their first two drives fizzled out inside the Baylor ten-yard line. TCU did figure things out as they went on to score touchdowns on their next six drives (not including the drive that ended at the end of the first half), but there were a few issues to iron out. First off, the Frogs need to do a better job taking care of the football in the red zone. The first drive of the game ending on a fumble on the two-yard line of Baylor was a gut punch for the Frogs. Often this season, play calling has been the issue in the red zone, and that was part of the issue on the second drive, but here the Frogs just needed to execute better. The TCU offensive line got pushed back into the backfield and right into Emani Bailey who then fumbled. Both the offensive line and TCU ball carriers needed to execute better. On their second drive of the game, the Frogs turned the ball over on downs after failing to convert on a third and one and then a fourth and one. I didn’t necessarily hate the third down play call as the Frogs got the ball into the hands of their best playmaker this season in Emani Bailey and I would expect him to pick up a yard on the ground more often than not. A tricky run to Savion Williams on fourth and one was not my favorite play call. Trey Sanders has been strong for the Frogs in short-yardage situations this year and him not getting a touch on either down in this scenario was odd. It feels like the TCU coaches just overthought this fourth-down decision leading to yet another red zone failure. Red zone offense will no doubt be a point of emphasis for improvement in the offseason.
Touchbacks: I do not understand why TCU keeps trying to return kicks. It has not worked this year. It feels like the Frogs have had maybe one explosive kick return this year and yet TCU tries to return kicks constantly, only to be tackled inside the 25-yard line almost every time. Seemingly every time the Frogs make it past the 25-yard line on a kick return, it is called back for a penalty resulting in terrible field position. The Frogs averaged just over 21 yards per return on Saturday which is four yards less than what you automatically get with a touchback with no chance for a penalty. The kick return unit simply needs some work and in the meantime, TCU should take more touchbacks.
Play of the Game
Jared Wiley turning on the afterburners to go 81 yards for a touchdown was very fun. Also shoutout to Savion Williams for the downfield block.