The Frogs offense started to find some rhythm last week against Iowa State, and the defense finally showed up to hold the Cyclones to just 355 total yards and 20 points. The play of the front seven was much improved, getting solid pressure on Iowa State’s quarterback and coming up with five total sacks, and the cornerback play improved as well with the addition of Deante Gray. One major aspect of the TCU defenses we’re used to seeing is still missing though. Where are the turnovers?
TCU’s defense has made a reputation for themselves by regularly winning the turnover battle. Not too long ago TCU had a run that lasted almost two full seasons where they recorded a sack and a turnover in every game. So far this season TCU’s defense has recorded just one turnover, and the team has lost the turnover battle in two of their three games. I predict that will change this week, and that TCU will win the turnover battle against the Mustangs.
The Mustangs are playing a lot better this year. They’re 2-1 with victories over North Texas and Liberty, with their only loss coming on the road against Baylor. A big part of their success so far has been the much improved play of their defense. The Dallas Morning News offered the following stats in an article this week:
The SMU defense ranks first nationally with nine interceptions, one shy of last year's 12-game total, and third in turnovers gained (10). But the offense is 110th in turnovers lost. - Bill Nichols, Dallas Morning News
The reason that their offense has been so poor in terms of turnovers lost has a lot to do with the fact that their veteran quarterback, Matt Davis, was lost for the season with a knee injury in the Mustangs’ opener at North Texas. The backup, redshirt freshman Ben Hicks, has thrown for 470 yards in the last two games, but has just one touchdown against five interceptions. Turning the ball over in the redzone has been a major problem as well.
The Mustangs rank 124th out of 127 teams in red-zone offense and interceptions thrown (6). - Bill Nichols, Dallas Morning News
Of those six redzone interceptions, Ben Hicks has been responsible for four. He threw two against Baylor and two more against Liberty last week. Hicks is no slouch, he was a four star recruit coming out of high school and the nation’s #22 overall ranked pocket passer. He’s just young and inexperienced.
We all know what Gary Patterson’s track record is against inexperienced quarterbacks, and with the defensive line finally generating some consistent pressure, the Frogs will be ready to feast on their turnover opportunities this week.