Thursday’s season opener between TCU and Minnesota probably told viewers more about the Golden Gophers than the Horned Frogs.
TCU escaped with a 23-17 victory and it left a lot of people questioning whether the Horned Frogs were really the No. 2 team in the country.
Minnesota struggled mightily on offense until late in the game, but showed tremendous poise on defense against one of the nation’s premier scoring offenses and quarterback Trevone Boykin, a Heisman Trophy candidate.
While TCU did manage 449 total yards against the Gophers, the play in the red zone was lacking. The Horned Frogs settled for three field goals and missed one. Boykin completed 26-of-42 passes for 246 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He also added a rushing touchdown.
The Gophers held TCU to just 5.9 yards per pass and 4.6 yards per carry. It allowed a 36.8 percent third-down conversion rate. These are not typical TCU numbers, which should give Minnesota a measure of pride considering the Horned Frogs averaged 46.5 points per game last year and averaged 533 yards per game.
Still, the Minnesota offense couldn’t muster up enough consistency to take advantage of its defense’s strong play. It took awhile for quarterback Mitch Leidner to find consistency. He completed just 19-of-35 passes for 197 and touchdown and the running game added another 144 yards, which was well below its 2014 average of 215.5.
It’s easy to look at this game and question whether TCU is ready to be a playoff contender again, but opening a season on the road against a Power Five conference team that won eight games last year is not easy. Remember, Minnesota lost one home game in 2014 and that was by a touchdown to Ohio State. TCU will be fine. The Big Ten, however, needs to take note of the way Minnesota played because when the offense comes along, like it did a year ago, the Gophers are going to be a formidable conference opponent.
For more TCU news, visit PurpleMenace.com.
For more Minnesota news, GopherIllustrated.com.
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