TCU bounces back, defense keys win

September, 22, 2012

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.



You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?


Fitzsimmons and Durrett: OSU scandal

Part 2 of the articles on OSU's involvment in academic fraud was released. Some claim the expose is unfounded. Ian and Richard warn that there are two sides to all stories.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Longhorns talk

Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss Mack Brown, Manny Diaz and all the latest with the Texas Longhorns.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Barkley on Manziel

Fitzsimmons and Durrett give you the latest on the Johnny Manziel story and Charles Barkley weighs in. You won't believe who the outspoken NBA Hall of Famer is disappointed in and what he thinks about the autograph allegations.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Kirk Herbstreit

Kirk Herbstreit joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett for his weekly visit to preview the 2013 college football season.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Andy Dalton

Former TCU and current Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the expectations for the Bengals this season, give a prediction for the TCU-LSU game and talk about what it's like having the Hard Knocks cameras follow him.

Galloway and Company: Manziel talk

Randy Galloway, Matt Mosley, and Mark Friedman react to Dez Bryant's comments regarding the NCAA's ongoing investigation of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.

Fitzsimmons and Durrett: Dez Bryant sounds off

Richard Durrett, Ian Fitzsimmons and Glenn "Stretch" Smith react to Dez Bryant sounding off yesterday after practice about Johnny Manziel and the shadiness of the NCAA.

Fitzsimmons and Durrett: Dan Beebe

Former NCAA investigator and Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to weigh in on the Johnny Manziel drama and give some insight as to what goes on during an NCAA investigation.