ACC: Gary Patterson
Red-zone mistakes were the story of TCU's all-too-close win at Kansas in its Big 12 opener a week ago.
Quarterback Casey Pachall made another one this week -- his first interception of the season came at the Virginia 3-yard line -- but the Frogs' defense made it easy in Saturday's 27-7 win.
Skye Dawson fumbled out the back of the end zone after a long reception to give the Frogs another red-zone miscue, but the defense made sure it didn't matter on Saturday.
The defense pitched a shutout for the first three quarters, and the offensive mistakes were once again outweighed by a strong defensive outing.
Brandon Carter's one-handed stab began the day's scoring and produced its biggest highlight for a 68-yard touchdown, but the defense provided the day's biggest highlights and suffocated Virginia's offense for 60 minutes. Carter finished with five catches for 128 yards.
Matthew Tucker had a quiet day as the lone TCU back left standing. Waymon James is out for the season with a knee injury and Ed Wesley left the team after fall camp. Tucker had just 52 yards on 15 carries, and freshman B.J. Catalon added just 11 yards on five carries. The potential to get better is there, but that's got to be a concern.
Linebacker Kenny Cain caught one interception off a tipped pass and snatched another away from a receiver, returning it 41 yards to set up a field goal. He recovered another first-half fumble to complete a huge day for the senior.
To this point, TCU has looked the part of the Big 12's best defense. It took more than 11 quarters for the Frogs to give up their first TD of the season, but considering the wholesale personnel losses suffered by the defense since the end of the 2011 season, that's pretty amazing.
Gary Patterson is working with his youngest team ever, and that's in play big time with the defense.
On Saturday, the Frogs held Virginia's offense to just 3-of-16 on third down and forced four turnovers. Unless your offense is awful (and TCUs decidedly is not), that's going to be good enough to win on just about any day.
By now, though, the offense's penchant for fumbling has to be a concern. Maybe it goes away next week against SMU, but Dawson's fumble came just a play after backup QB Trevone Boykin got away with a fumble at the end of a 40-yard run. Virginia had a chance at it, but the Frogs jumped on it, giving them one more chance.
TCU fumbled that chance away on the next play.
Last week, it didn't change the outcome of the game. Today, it didn't change the outcome of the game.
If it continues, eventually that will not be the case.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Around the ACC we go ...
- Has Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor shied away from what makes him most dangerous? Frank Beamer said that after watching film, he didn't see any instances where Taylor should have run and didn't. No doubt the Hokies didn't waste any time reviewing their game film, and Taylor was one of the first players next to sit down with Bryan Stinespring.
- UNC is trying to establish itself as a strong running team, and so far, so good.
- Duke's players and coaches have been searching for answers to explain their flat performance against Richmond, and they'll have to find them quickly with a road trip to Army looming.
- TCU coach Gary Patterson is expecting a different -- and better -- Virginia team this weekend. Patterson thinks the Cavaliers are a "good football team in waiting."
- Jorge Milian of the Palm Beach Post graded Miami's performance in the FSU game, and ranked Jacory Harris' performance among the top 5 he's seen.
- Florida State has four days to recover from its loss to Miami, and the Noles are pushing forward.
- NC State's defense was one of the bright spots in the Pack's loss to South Carolina. Ken Tysiac checked in with defensive coordinator Mike Archer for his take on it.
- Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe said he doesn't expect any lineup changes for Saturday's game against Stanford.
- The weaknesses Cal exposed weren't much of a surprise to those who have been paying attention to the Terps' woes during summer camp. It was only the first week of the season, but the players felt it necessary to call a players-only meeting to make sure the Terps weren't sulking.
- Unfortunately for Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, it's not the first time he's had to cram for the Georgia Tech game. One thing he can count on is C.J. Spiller, who clarified his injury situation and was limited to some light jogging on Sunday.
- Georgia Tech's defensive line will get a better test Thursday night against the Tigers.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
There are a ton of good questions in the mailbag this week, so I'm going to do two editions. Here's the first, and thanks for reading:
Robert, from Greensboro, N.C., writes: Heather, you got to check this article out that brother Terry wrote about Tommy.
Heather Dinich: Wow. Very interesting take. Thanks for sharing.
Marques, in Hollywood, writes: Is it the just the offensive talent hurting the young Hurricanes, or could it be the system?
Heather Dinich: I got a chance to catch up with Randy Shannon this week, and it's not a matter of talent OR the system. It's injuries and youth. Your system should be affected what your players can and can't do. Blog post to come on this topic later in the week.
Trent, from Clemson, S.C., writes: In your honest opinion, who do you think will be Clemson's next head coach?
Heather Dinich: I honestly don't know, but from what I've heard, Dabo Swinney is a real possibility. Of course they'll look at Jim Grobe, and I've also heard Will Muschamp, Gary Patterson and Bobby Johnson.
Kevin, in Baltimore, writes: With GT's two QBs returning from injury, the Bowden firing and Tate's injury at UNC, is it possible the Jackets could be in store for a 9 or possibly 10 win season? And speaking of Clemson, their season is crumbling even faster than I expected and it couldn't make me happier.
Heather Dinich: Not if they play the way they did against Gardner-Webb, which I don't expect them to. A nine-win season looks possible, but that depends on how Clemson responds this weekend.
Kris, in High Point, writes: Heather, what are your thoughts on the duke football turn around? do you feel that they can rebound from the thumping they took at georgia thech and beat miami? also, what is you thoughts about them winning six games this year and possibly making it to a bowl game. -kd
Heather Dinich: Kris, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who's not impressed with the job David Cutcliffe has done so far. That said, I think a bowl game this season is pushing it. The Blue Devils had a good week of practice, though, and appear to have moved on from Georgia Tech. The task now is getting past Miami's D.
Galen, in Durham, writes: Oh Heather, I am so heartbroken for Brandon Tate right now. I love Carolina Football as you know. But I could careless less if this hurts our win total. We will take the field this year, and next year and the year after that. There will be wins and losses. But not only is NCAA football over for this amazing kid, (I am a continuing ed student and have met Brandon and he is beloved on campus) but he was going to be drafted. He was going to follow a dream to be a pro athlete, make money, and do what he loves for a living. I worry that this injury will take so long that combines, workouts, and drafts this year will pass by just a deserving and talented player. I hope that he makes a full recovery and somebody gives he a shot done the road. I know they won't be disappointed. Keep up the great work you're doing, I read your blog all day Saturday and throughout the week. Galen
Heather Dinich: Geez, buddy, you're bringing me down here. Look, one of the first things Butch Davis told Tate is that he watched several NFL players go through the same injury have stellar pro careers. Tate will have a full recovery and should still play on Sundays. Now cheer up.
Wade, in Kernersville, N.C, writes: Hey Heather, Just wanted to follow up on the question from your chat about whether there was a rule preventing coaches from moving directly from one ACC school to another. The thought being that Grobe is being speculated as a top candidate for Clemson, when there might be a rule that eliminates him from consideration. It'd be a real shame to have the media perpetuate that rumor if there is such a rule, because of the damage that sort of discussion does to a program and recruiting.
Heather Dinich: Ooh, I'm glad you did, because I had a chance to call the ACC office and ask. No, there is no written rule. It's more of a gentleman's agreement. Administrators generally try not steal each other's coaches. But yes, it can happen.
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