October 18, 2012
By Adam Rosen
1. DON'T TURN THE BALL OVER
With the help of Garrett Gilbert and Nick Florence, TCU leads the nation in interceptions (14) and total turnovers gained (20) this season.
The Horned Frogs took advantage of six Baylor turnovers last week, resulting in 28 points and an average starting field position at the Baylor 46-yard line. Give Chad Glasgow's secondary some credit, Florence's four interceptions were the most in a single game for a quarterback under Art Briles since Kevin Kolb threw five picks in a game against UTEP when he was the head coach at Houston during the 2005 season.
I'm not completely sold on Trevone Boykin as a passer, either. His breakout game against Baylor comes with an asterisk in my book, considering the Bears have a putrid mess of a defense that struggles to slow down any offense with a pulse.
Tech's defense has obviously done well scheming against quarterbacks so far this season. If their efforts against Heisman frontrunner Geno Smith aren't enough to make you a believer, then I'm not sure running through all the elite statistics they've put up against opposing quarterbacks will either.
To sum it up, if Tech takes care of the football and doesn't spoon feed opportunity to TCU's redshirt freshman quarterback, I'm not sure the Frogs can survive a slugfest with the Red Raiders. Seth Doege needs to have a repeat performance from last week.
2. KEEP THE CHAINS MOVING
I don't mean to give you guys these boring lunch pail stats, but I think the simple blue collar factors are going to play a huge role in this game. Converting on third down is going to be a huge factor in picking up the road win.
Many have made the comparison week that the Red Raider's trip to Fort Worth is shaping up to resemble their road trip to Ames earlier this season. During their hard fought battle with the Cyclones, Tech's offense only posted a third down conversion rate around 44 percent for the game, which had the Red Raiders giving the ball back to the Cyclones a little quicker on some drives than desired.
Extra plays and yardage helps with the field position battle as well. As posted above, TCU's offense and quarterback Trevone Boykin were able to take advantage of optimum starting positions in numerous drives against Baylor last weekend.
Entering the game, Tech's offense is number one in the nation in third down efficiency with a 56.79 percent success rate. However, TCU's defense is holding their opponents third down conversion success rate to a mere 24.36 percent, which is good for second best in the nation.
By extending drives, Tech gives their defense more time to rest and forces a redshirt freshman to carry his team further to score, giving the Chain Gang better opportunity to produce turnovers.
3. BEAT THEM DEEP IN THE PASSING GAME
In their games against Iowa State and Baylor, the Horned Frogs gave up six total touchdown passes, four of them for long gains of 77, 74, 74 and 54 yards, and totaling nearly 45 yards per passing touchdown against.
Whether it's coaching or inexperience that is responsible for these huge letdowns, the momentary lapses in the TCU secondary have cost them dearly and quite possibly cost them a game at home against Iowa State.
With Bradley Marquez, Javon Bell and potentially Jace Amaro all expected to miss the game, the timing to be able to take advantage of this flaw in TCU's staunch defense will require someone to step up and produce break away plays.
Marcus Kennard and Jakeem Grant, two completely different types of receivers, are both guys to watch that can step up and make big plays for Tech on offense.