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Rest Up for a Day of Basketball and Football

December 11, 2020

Before we get started with this weekend’s events, let me pay homage to another TCU Basketball great who we lost this week.

Eugene “Goo” Kennedy died early last Tuesday. Kennedy played one memorable season at TCU in 1970-71. He was named TCU’s MVP and the Southwest Conference Player of the Year in helping the Frogs win a conference championship and reach the NCAA Tournament under coach Johnny Swaim. Kennedy finished his lone season averaging 20.4 points and 16.6 rebounds a game. He was inducted into the TCU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2003. I was fortunate to meet Goo when we inducted him into the Hall of Fame and he was genuinely thrilled to be honored by TCU.

He went on to a career in the ABA and NBA. I first saw him as a nine year-old when he played for the Dallas Chaparrals at the old Dallas Memorial Auditorium (now the Dallas Convention Center Arena). Rest in Peace, #55.


It’s a jam-packed, stacked up Saturday for Frog fans — the kind of day you live for if you’re fond of the Purple & White.

Freshman guard Mike Miles scored 20 points against Providence on Wednesday, his second-consecutive 20-point game. He’s the first TCU freshman to record multiple 20-point games in a season since Kyan Anderson (2011-12). Courtesy of TCU Athletics | Photo by Ellman Photography

Freshman guard Mike Miles scored 20 points against Providence on Wednesday, his second-consecutive 20-point game. He’s the first TCU freshman to record multiple 20-point games in a season since Kyan Anderson (2011-12). Courtesy of TCU Athletics | Photo by Ellman Photography

First, TCU Men’s Basketball tries to get back on track after two straight losses to OU and Providence. Defensive lapses and turnovers hurt the Frogs on Wednesday and they’ll need to get those fixed before facing the undefeated Texas A&M Aggies (remember them?) on Saturday at 1 p.m. CT at Dickie’s Arena. It will be the 165th all-time meeting between the Ags and the Frogs in a series that dates back to 1914 and the Southwest Conference. The Aggies can hit from 3-point land at 38 percent and they have four players averaging in double figures: Emanuel Miller leads the way at 22 points per game, but watch our for Quenton Jackson (14.7), Savion Flagg (12.3) and Andre Gordon (12). A&M head coach Buzz Williams, who once pursued the TCU job when it opened in 2008, is now the head man at Aggieland. Problem areas for A&M have been turnovers and fouls.

The Frogs are led by freshman Mike Miles who is off to a great start in his career at TCU, averaging 12.8 points. RJ Nembhard leads all Frogs scorers at 17.6 points. The Frogs are hoping to get PJ Fuller back for Saturday’s game. He missed the Providence game with a sore ankle.

After the basketball game at Dickie’s, you’ve got time to grab a beer and a sandwich at The Railhead and then head to Amon G. Carter Stadium.

The Frogs will play their 10th game of the year (can you believe it?) when they host Louisiana Tech Saturday at 6 p.m. CT.

Skip Holtz (Lou’s son) has done a great job as head coach at La Tech. The Bulldogs have gone to six straight bowl games and won them all. Last year, the topped Miami – yes, that Miami (The U) 14-0 in the Independence Bowl.

Offensively, they are led by grad transfer Luke Anthony, who started his career at Abilene Christian. The Bulldogs run a spread offense with a heave dose of the run mixed in. Running back Israel Tucker ran it 37 times last week against North Texas and you can bet the Frogs will see a big dose of him Saturday. La Tech features a nice set of wideouts including receiving leader Smoke Harris, who’s a deep threat, and former Frog Isaiah Graham, who has 14 catches on the year. They will spread the field and then hit you in the mouth with the run. Once in the red zone, the Bulldogs will bring in a tight end and an extra offensive tackle and go to the old-fashioned T formation, with three backs lined up next to one another four yards behind the quarterback. It’s a “Here we come, stop us if you can” approach to short yardage.

Derius Davis is coming off a career-high 139 yards receiving on a career-best six receptions. What will he do Saturday? Courtesy of TCU Athletics | Photo by Ellman Photography

Derius Davis is coming off a career-high 139 yards receiving on a career-best six receptions. What will he do Saturday? Courtesy of TCU Athletics | Photo by Ellman Photography

On defense, La Tech runs a 4-3 scheme that depends heavily on the linebackers to make plays behind a tough (and active) defensive line. Watch out for DT Milton Williams who likes to spend time in the opponent’s backfield. He’s dangerous.

The weather Saturday night at kickoff will be clear, dry and near 50, dropping into the 40s by the final gun.

We’re on the air on the Horned Frogs Sports Network for TCU Men’s Basketball at 12:30 p.m. on 570AM KLIF. Then on at 5 p.m. for TCU Football on WBAP 820 AM, Sirius 135, XM 200, the Riff Ram app and TuneIn. Join us for a full day of TCU action.

Until then,

Kick ‘Em High!

Horned Frogs Mourn Big Supporters and Look to Saturday’s OSU Game

December 4, 2020

It’s been a rough week for many of us around TCU.

Universities and their communities are built on loyal alumni and supporters — personalities and propellers. Those whose stance or love for their alma mater is never questioned.

Such is the case for two great Frogs whose lives we celebrated this week

Susan Nix ’69 came to TCU in the 1960’s as Susan Appleby, became Miss TCU in 1969, married the quarterback, Kent Nix ’69 and she was on her way. She was a one-woman LinkedIn, who knew everyone, their line of work and where they fit into the Fort Worth tapestry. They all knew her as well. Name a TCU organization and she had a piece of it, giving of her time, talents and leverage to get the job done. From the Colonial Tournament to the Cotton Bowl and the Armed Forces Bowl to how you looked in your outfit, there was no guessing what she was thinking.  She let you know. And TCU was the beneficiary of this dynamo’s love and devotion all of her adult life. She used to call me on the phone and say, “Hey, Kern Tips (in reference to the legendary radio voice of college football in Texas in the 1930s, 40s and 50s), where’s the money today?” I always loved hearing from her and I’ll miss those phone calls, which almost certainly meant you were already involved in something — even if you didn’t know it!

Courtesy of the 1969 Horned Frog and the Nix Family

 

I first met Dick Lowe ’51 as a freshman kicker on the TCU Football team in 1980. Dick come by practice one day to check out the team. We struck up a conversation and he called me by name ever since that day. He, too, knew where everybody fit in and he was great with details and could recall plays from decades ago. Ever since he arrived at TCU from Wichita Falls, Texas, he made sure that TCU was taken care of. From his days on the field to the oil business to the TCU Hall of Fame, Dick always answered the purple call, even when it wasn’t fun. He rode the TCU roller coaster through the decades, through highs of the 1950s and lows of the 70s and 80s, and never turned his back on his alma mater. When the time came to invest in TCU Football and help rebuild, he was there. He took the lead with his heart and with his wallet, all for the betterment of a school that he loved. He, too, never made you guess where he stood on any issue. He told the truth and he spoke from the heart.

Courtesy of TCU Athletics Media Relations and the Lowe Family

We can all learn a lesson from Susan Nix and Dick Lowe: Speak truth from the heart.

I’m blessed that they were a part of my life from early in my time at TCU. They are great Horned Frogs.


The No. 15 Oklahoma State Cowboys come to visit Saturday at 11 a.m.

Both teams are coming off of games in which they scored 50+ points. Both teams ran the ball with power and authority last week and I don’t expect any different Saturday at The Carter.

The TCU-OSU game will be a battle between the second- and third-longest term head coaches in the league. Courtesy of TCU Athletics | Photo by Ellman Photography

The TCU-OSU game will be a battle between the second- and third-longest term head coaches in the league. Courtesy of TCU Athletics | Photo by Ellman Photography

OSU is still in the run for the Big 12 Championship Game. The Frogs are trying to keep it rolling, having won three of the last four gridiron matches. This one will be a battle between the second- and third-longest term head coaches in the league. Patterson coached his first full season at TCU in 2001, Gundy in 2005. There are 311 wins between these coaches, and they do it their own way.

Oklahoma State played a seldom-used running back last week and all Dezmon Jackson did was go for 235 yards through the Texas Tech defense on his way to three trips over the goal line. Chuba Hubbard, the Cowboys’ all-world running back is out and won’t likely play vs. TCU.

On the defense, the Pokes are trying to hang on by a trigger finger. They’re a big beat up and have given up 40 or more points in three of their last four games.

I expect both teams to do what they’ve done best of late: Run the ball. This could be a quick game.

TCU’s secondary will have to be weary of OSU’s Tylan Wallace. The Biletnikoff Award candidate (nation’s best wide receiver) is part of a long list of great wideouts who have worn the orange and black for Coach Gundy.

As much as these offenses have to offer, it’ll be the team that contains and tackles best that will win this one.

I give the Frogs the edge.

Did You Know:

– Oklahoma State was originally called Oklahoma A&M College.
– Boone Pickens Stadium (formerly Lewis Field) is one of the few college football stadiums in the nation where the field runs east to west.
– OSU head coach Mike Gundy was a record-setting quarterback for OSU in the 1980s.
– Former TCU head football coach FA Dry played his college football at OAMC.

The weather will be dry with cool temps in the mid-50s at kickoff.

We’re on the air on the Horned Frog Sports Network at 10 a.m. Join us on WBAP 820 AM, Sirius 113, XM 201, the Riff Ram app or on TuneIn.

Until then,

Kick ‘Em High!

Country Roads: Horned Frogs Face WVU Mountaineers

November 13, 2020

Happy Friday the 13th from Morgantown, West Virginia. There’s a joke in there somewhere.

I’m not the first to tell you that 2020 has been a wacky year, but here’s one more item to add to that endorsement:

As you read this, I sit watching the second round of The 2020 Masters on a Friday night in November in Morgantown. Hmmm.

2020 should have an “Out of Order” sign hung on it.

You all know why I’m here, so let’s get to business.

The Frogs are looking for their third win in a row Saturday against the WVU Mountaineers. These teams are similar, yet different in how they’ve built their win-loss records. WVU is undefeated at home, but can’t seem to fit a solid road effort into their knapsack, having suffered all three losses in their 4-3 record on the road, losing at Oklahoma State, at Texas Tech and at Texas.

The Musket Men are different at home, where they play suffocating defense and move the ball at will.

Quarterback Jarret Doege, who’s from Lubbock but wasn’t good enough to be recruited by Texas Tech, has been on a roll, throwing for more than 300 yards in each of his last four games. His main target is #16 Winston Wright Jr., who has great hands and can outfight defenders for the ball. Doege also looks for #13 Sam James, who’s a speedster and don’t forget Captain Heartbreak, #9 Isaiah Esdale, who torched the Frogs for a game-winning catch with two minutes left — he’s physical.

West Virginia likes to run the ball, too, as balanced offense has suddenly become vogue in the Big 12. Look for #4 Leddie Brown if he can go. (He was injured in the Texas game last week and has been in the training room since trying to get his right hamstring healed.) Brown is currently ranked second in rushing behind Iowa State’s Breece Hall. If Brown can do it, then #20 Alec Sinkfield will get the nod — he’s a quick tackle-shatterer, who brings an extra gear with him.

The Frogs will need to run the ball. TCU’s offensive line needs its best game of the year. Add a cup of physicality to the recipe and watch this offense rise. Bake at 250 yards for best results.

WVU is 0-3 when allowing more than 75 yards rushing. Doesn’t seem like a big number to reach, but WVU is tough up front. The Stills brothers, Dante and Darius, greet you at the point of attack and they don’t get moved much. WVU runs a 3-3-5 multiple defense that uses a lot of movement and versatile players around the line of scrimmage to create confusion. Watch for bandit #10 Dylan Tonkery and #50 Jared Bartlett — they both make plays, especially in the opponent’s backfield. Weakside linebacker #7 Josh Chandler-Semedo is a big hitter and he can get to the ball, but he left the Texas game with an injury and may not be available.

WVU quarterback Jarret Doege has been on a roll this season. Courtesy of TCU Athletics | Photo by Ellman Photography

WVU quarterback Jarret Doege has been on a roll this season. Courtesy of TCU Athletics | Photo by Ellman Photography

If you like physical football games and good quarterbacks, then be alongside tomorrow. TCU-West Virginia is always a fistfight. Tough defenses with a lot of speed bring big hits and it’s going to be a battle. Both WVU quarterback Jarret Doege and TCU’s Max Duggan are completing 65 percent of their passes and are hoping to get both facets of their machines working. WVU missed the run game last week at Texas. TCU was searching for its passing game as if it were car keys. I expect Max and company to show up with keychain in hand for this one. It’s being played where TCU has been most comfortable this year: on the road.

Every time I look at the weather forecast for Morgantown, it’s getting cooler. What started out as sunny and 65 forecast has turned into partly cloudy and 52 for Saturday at kickoff.

Did You Know?

  • The first three Big 12 games between TCU and WVU (2012-14) were decided on the game’s final play? Two of them were decided in OT.
  • The Frogs have not mustered more than 10 points in their last two trips to Morgantown? TCU lost 34-10 in 2017 and 47-10 in 2019.
  • Two teams that TCU defeated this year ran the ball on West Virginia. Texas Tech and Texas both ran for identical 179 marks on the ground in wins over WVU. It CAN be done.

We’re on the air at 10 a.m. on the Horned Frogs Sports Network. Join us LIVE from the hills of West Virginia on WBAP 820AM, XM380, RiffRam App or TuneIn. Put on some coffee, grab a cinnamon roll and I’ll talk to you in the morning at 10. Until then,

Kick ‘Em High!

Defense Players Pressure Texas Tech for Win

November 11, 2020

Happy Veterans Day, everyone.

Be sure to thank the veterans you know for their service and sacrifice to our great nation.

The Frogs finally got their first home win of the year last Saturday over Texas Tech, 34-18 on a day when the passing game just wasn’t spinning quite right. But not to worry, Max Duggan showed why he’s one of the best quarterbacks in the Big 12, taking over the game with his legs on two runs (48 yards and 81 yards) to put the game away.

While the offense did struggle mightily at times, I was impressed with the resilience of this team. The offensive line did just enough to make room for Max to run.

Earl Barquet, playing in just his second career game, had a sack for the second straight contest. Courtesy of TCU Athletics

Earl Barquet, playing in just his second career game, had a sack for the second-straight contest. Courtesy of TCU Athletics

The defense is getting better every week and the pressure produced by a defensive line that rotates players like a Broadway dance line, is allowing this TCU defense to operate as designed. Patrick Jenkins, Earl Barquet, Soni Misi and Khari Coleman are names that we are calling on the radio more and more. That’s a good thing. That Frog defense, by the way, forced nine 3-and-outs and an interception by the Tech offense in 15 Red Raider possessions. That’ll win you some ballgames.

The Tech game was a physical one and the Frogs have to get healed up in a hurry.

Another fistfight awaits this week in a place where the big hits echo through the hills and the moonshine tailgates are legendary.

The weather in Morgantown, West Virginia, this coming Saturday will be the best the Frogs have ever experienced since joining the Big 12. The forecast calls for partly sunny skies and a balmy 55 degrees.

We’ll take a close-up look at the Mountaineers on Friday. Until then,

Kick ‘Em High!

Saddle Up for a Run Game Against Texas Tech

November 6, 2020

Happy Friday!

It’s the first weekend in November and Texas Tech is coming to town. It just seems right.

The Frogs and Red Raiders will hit the field for the 63rd time Saturday and it’s a huge opportunity for both teams.

TCU can build on the success of another road win last week at Baylor, in which the Frogs started hot, delivered some big hits and plays on defense. Frogs flexed their muscle with a run game that churned out 285 yards with Darwin Barlow going for 117 and Zach Evans averaging 11.6 yards per tote. Strong.

Tech, on the other hand, got run out of Jones Stadium by an OU team that is just getting warmed up. The Red Raiders are looking for answers, especially on defense, and a win on the road would be a huge boost to the Tech program under second-year Head Coach Matt Wells.

Courtesy of TCU Athletics | Photo by Ellman Photography

Darwin Barlow led the running game last week agains Baylor, including a career-long 74-yard run, TCU’s longest play from scrimmage this season. Courtesy of TCU Athletics | Photo by Ellman Photography

Tech’s marquee win of the year came two weeks ago against West Virginia. Tech as able to keep pace with a new quarterback starter who brings a running component. Henry “Hollywood” Colombi is a transfer from Utah State, whom Wells had recruited. It appears Colombi is a fit in this Tech offense. TCU will have to account for him and his running ability. Tech is more balanced that what we’ve seen coming out of Lubbock over the past 20 years. The Red Raiders utilize a tight end (big Travis Koontz #15) almost 100 percent of the time and they’ll combine the TE with a running back almost all the time. In the backfield, look for #4 Sarodorick Thompson, the leading rusher who has been slowed by sore ribs. If he can’t go, look for #28 Tahj Brooks, a stocky, tough runner who has averaged 12 carries in each of the last two games.

Tech has a squadron of receivers who combine size and speed to create problems for secondaries. #9 T.J. Vasher is 6-6 and has added weight to his lanky frame. He missed the OU game last week, but if he can play, the Frogs are going to have to bracket him. #13 Erik Ezukanma is a dependable target who’s not afraid to go across the middle and he has given the Frogs fits, including last year when he caught four balls for 91 yards and a touchdown. #82 KeSean Carter is a speedster who has four TDs on the year and #18 Myles Price is dangerous on jet sweeps to the wide side of the field. The offensive line is rebuilt at the tackle spots and that’s where Tech has struggled in protection. TCU’s edge rushers should find the wide splits that Tech utilizes along the line inviting.

Defensively, the Red Raiders are looking for answers. They’ve juggled the lineup and employed several graduate transfers to fill holes. So far, it’s been a tough row to hoe for Raider Red. Tech is 107th in the FBS in defense, giving up 498 yards per game and 41.2 points per contest. They utilize a three-man front with a “Spur” hybrid defensive end/linebacker. The linebackers are good: #1 Krishon Merriweather and #6 Riko Jeffers (who is a top NFL prospect) lead the team in tackles. Six of the eight defensive backs on the secondary depth chart are transfers. All in, Matt Wells brought in 12 graduate transfers to add some maturity to his young team.

The Frogs still need to play a complete game.

TCU got close last week at Baylor, but halftime took away the momentum and the Frogs were off track for the first 12 minutes of the second half. Play the full 60. Run the ball. Swarm on defense.

The Frogs and their fans will be blessed with another great weather day Saturday at The Carter. Sunny and 77.

Perfect for getting that first home win of the year. Saddle Up!

Did you know?

  • TCU and Texas Tech played to three-straight ties in 1979, 1981 and 1983?
  • Texas Tech was founded as Texas Technical College in 1923 and their original mascot was The Matadors (thus the Tech Alma Mater, The Matador Song.
  • Tech played in the Border Conference from 1932-1956. Other Border Conference members included Arizona (1931–1961), Arizona State Teachers’-Flagstaff (now Northern Arizona; 1931–1952), Arizona State Teachers’-Tempe (now Arizona State; 1931–1961), University of New Mexico (1931–1951), New Mexico A&M (now New Mexico State; 1931–1961), Texas Mines (later Texas Western and now the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP); 1935–1961), Hardin–Simmons (1941–1961) with head coach Sammy Baugh (1955-59) and West Texas Teachers’ (later West Texas State and now West Texas A&M; 1941–1961). Tech left the Border Conference and joined the Southwest Conference, first competing in the SWC in 1958.
  • Former Tech head coaches who had success in Lubbock include Jim Carlen, Jerry Moore, Steve Sloan, David McWilliams, Spike Dykes and Mike Leach.

We’re on the air on the Horned Frog Sports Network tomorrow at 1:30 CT. Join us on WBAP 820 AM, Sirius 135, XM 199, the RiffRam App and TuneIn. I’ll talk to you then.

Until airtime,

Kick ‘Em High!

Horned Frogs Earn Win at Baylor with Running Game

November 4, 2020

Well, we made it back from the Brazos unscathed. Well, mostly.

A quick trip for a win at Baylor and a stop for some jalapeño-cheddar sausage at Slovacek’s in West, Texas, made it the perfect college football Saturday.

Things I liked and need to see more of from the Frogs:

  • A defense that flew around and set the tone early with some big hits. That will work against ANYONE.
  • A recommitment to the running game and a show put on by multiple backs (including Darwin Barlow and Zach Evans) who hit the hole quickly and put a lot of pressure on the front six of the defense. Defenders gotta respect that.
  • An offensive line that had fun blocking the run and, at times, did a good job protecting Max Duggan. (Another must on the shopping list.)
  • Lots of young guys making plays along the defensive line. The rotation kept the Frogs fresh in the fourth quarter.
  • Resiliency in the face of adversity during the third and fourth quarters when, for a while, it looked like Baylor was gonna party like it’s 2014.
Zach Evans rushed for 81 yards on seven carries, including his first career touchdown with a 30-yard run in the second quarter. He also had a 10-yard reception. Courtesy of TCU Athletics | Photo by Ellman Photography

Zach Evans rushed for 81 yards on seven carries, including his first career touchdown with a 30-yard run in the second quarter. He also had a 10-yard reception. Courtesy of TCU Athletics | Photo by Ellman Photography

Now the challenge is to bring that same energy into Amon G. Carter Stadium. Up until now, the Frogs’ fire-starter has worked on the road but not at home. Time to fuel it up and go bonfire this weekend against Texas Tech.

Tech’s on the schedule where it should be. Early November, just like back in the Southwest Conference days.

We’ll take a look at the Red Raiders from Texas Technical College on Friday.

Until then,

Kick ‘Em High!

Baylor Offense Troubles Should be Advantage for Frogs

October 30, 2020

Happy Friday, everyone!

It’s Halloween weekend and the Frogs get to spend it Waco, Texas, a place that has been good, bad and ugly for the Frogs over the years. Since McLane Stadium opened in 2014, strange, and sometimes great, things have happened. Who can forget the crazy 61-58 game in which the Frogs were in control, then the game turned on a dime and Baylor came back in won on a late field goal at the gun? (Are you old enough to remember when they fired a track pistol to signal the end of halves?) 2016 saw the Frogs on the ropes as they stepped into McLennan County with a 4-4 record. A steady dose of a run-oriented game plan, featuring running back Kyle Hicks, launched the Frogs to a 62-22 throttling of BU. In 2018, it was the Jalen Reagor show on the way to a 16-7 win in which the Frogs defense controlled Baylor.

This year, at the end of October, we’re only five games into the season. The Frogs’ first game against Iowa State was September 26, barely a month ago.  Seems like longer ago than that, doesn’t it?

 

BU-TCU 2019

The TCU-Baylor game is a rivalry: The only two private schools in the Big 12 took over the conference just six short years ago. Courtesy of TCU Athletics | Photo by Ellman Photography

Baylor comes into this weekend with a 1-2 record. The Bears have had a staggered start to the season with Covid-19 issues affecting their schedule and a conference game against Oklahoma State (originally scheduled for October 17th) being postponed. They have a new head coach in Dave Aranda, a defensive-minded leader who was the defensive coordinator last year at LSU. He is Baylor’s fourth head coach in six years — take that in.

Baylor’s defense returned just two starters from last year. The Bears are learning a new scheme that features three down linemen and a “Jack” end, which is a defensive end/linebacker hybrid. That position is played by #99 William Bradley-King, arguably the best player in defense for Baylor. He’s a transfer from Arkansas State and he’ll be a threat that the TCU offensive line will have to be conscious of all day long. #2 Terrel Bernard leads the linebackers and he is coming off a 19 tackle performance at Texas. Bernard leads the Big 12 in tackles and that’s no surprise since he had 112 take-downs last year. In the secondary, #3 Raleigh Texada is the only other returning starter. He’s a solid cover man and you’ll be able to tell which TCU wideout the Baylor staff is most concerned with because Texada will be on him.

On offense, Baylor is still trying to find its identity. Sound familiar?

The Bears offensive line troubles from last year have survived the pandemic to remain a part of the story in 2020. The Bears have struggled to run the football and this week it was reported that two Baylor backs decided not to play any more this year. The report turned out to be premature and top backs #27 John Lovett (not the comedian from Saturday Night Live) and #41 Trestan Ebner will be available. Both are good backs, but due to execution problems, the two have combined for just 146 yards rushing and two touchdowns in three games.

BU quarterback Charlie Brewer is finally in his senior year. Seems like he was at Baylor when I played for TCU. He’s had an injury-plagued career, mainly because he is so driven to win. Brewer has taken shots year after year, but has overcome neck injuries and numerous concussions. He is tough and he has been a headache for TCU with the plays that he makes with his legs. Baylor will roll out Brewer to protect him and to let him flex his abilities with run-pass option plays that will target two good wideouts: #0 R.J. Sneed and #9 Tyquan Thornton.

This game is a rivalry. The only two private schools in the Big 12 took over the conference just six short years ago. Coach Art Briles is long-gone and the heat on this series has cooled to medium-well, but it’s still full of spice and intrigue.

The winner on Saturday will have big positive energy to build on moving forward. The question is, which team can pop the clutch on its offense without killing the engine?

Did You Know?

  • Saturday’s game versus Baylor is the 116th in the series – the most-played series for both schools.
  • Only one game in the series was not played in Waco or Fort Worth. In 1926, Baylor and TCU squared-off in Dallas. Why? That’s your homework assignment for the weekend.
  • One of the best places to eat in Waco back in the day was Leslie’s Chicken Shack. It’s gone now, but the food was great and you always had to take an extra dozen rolls with you.
  • The Brazos River, on which McLane Stadium sits, stretches 840 miles across Texas and empties into the Gulf of Mexico. The Brazos was originally named The Maligne by French explorer La Salle in the 1600’s. It was an important waterway before the Civil War, and efforts to improve it for navigation continued until the early twentieth century.

The weather in Waco should be perfect at kickoff: Sunny and 71 degrees is the forecast.

Our expedition will secure provisions and meet you riverside at 1:30 p.m. CT tomorrow in Waco on the Horned Frogs Sports Network.  Join us then for what should be another interesting chapter in this historic series.

Until then,

Kick ‘Em High!

Horned Frogs Face OU Road Warriors

October 23, 2020

The first cold front of the fall moved through Fort Worth Friday morning, bringing rain, high winds and cooler temps.

It also welcomes in a critical four-week stretch for TCU Football.

At 1-2, the Horned Frogs have shown flashes of brilliance to go along with some painful moments along the offensive line and uncharacteristic surrendering of big plays on defense.

  • Frustrated by Iowa State in the opener.
  • Awarded for great effort with a win on the road in Austin, Texas.
  • Shut down by a Kansas State team that played field position and took advantage of Frog miscues.

Now TCU gets ready to play four in a row — a challenge the team hasn’t faced yet this year. Two at home and two on the road. Staying healthy is the key, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Sometimes the home team has the advantage. Other times they play OU. The Sooners have won 24 of their last 26 true road games. Photo by Rodger Mallison

TCU can’t rely on a home team advantage. The Sooners won 24 of its last 26 true road games. Photo by Rodger Mallison

Oklahoma comes to the Metroplex for the second time in three weeks, coming off a hard-fought 4OT win over Texas. Although the Sooners come to The Carter unranked, they’re still OU: a card-carrying big boy of college football. OU is still the only Big 12 team to make it to the College Football Playoff (four times). OU is still the team that likes to rack up huge yardage and big points.

Freshman quarterback Spencer Rattler leads the Sooner offense. When he played well, the Sooners won (Missouri State and Texas). When he played like a freshman and got pressured and knocked around, OU lost (see Kansas State — 3 interceptions — and Iowa State — 1 interception). The Frogs have to figure out a way to get to him and they’ll have to take some chances.

Running back T.J. Pledger leads the ground effort for OU and is coming off a career-high 131 yards and two touchdowns against Texas. When they throw, the Sooners utilize wide receivers #14 Charleston Rambo and TD machine #17 Marvin Mims who has four touchdown catches (three of those on the last two games).

On defensive, OU has gone to what they call “Speed D” and employ three down linemen who are quick and a rush end in #11 Nik Bonitto, who makes a lot of plays in the backfield and gets to the QB. Linebacker #24 Brian Asamoah leads the Sooners in tackles and is great against the run.

The Frogs will have to slow down Oklahoma, especially on the ground. The Sooners have run for at least 200 yards in each of the last six games against TCU and averaged 283.3 in those games. On the offensive, TCU will have to sustain drives and get production to keep the OU offense off the field.

It’s important to be good in the first quarter as OU has a tendency to start fast and run away from teams.

Saturday’s forecast calls for a high of 62 degrees on campus. Just perfect for football.

We’re on the air with breakfast at 10 a.m. on the Horned Frogs Sports Network. Join us on WBAP 820, Sirius 135, XM199, TuneIn and the Riff Ram app.

Until then,

Kick ‘Em High!

A Kansas State of Mind

October 9, 2020

If there’s anything that last weekend’s TCU win over Texas proved, it’s that football fortunes hang by a thread, and the difference between winning and going home heartbroken can be one play, or even half of a play. College football games these days feature somewhere between 130 and 160 total plays between the two teams. Players have to be on every play. Take a play off and you have disaster. For fans, it’s much the same. Blink and you’ve missed it. Focus is a must and Frogs Fans, you better be on point this weekend for Kansas State.

Suddenly, this matchup has the feel of a playoff game. The winner of this one will definitely be in the fast lane for a Big 12 Championship game ticket. Yes, I know it’s early, but…

The momentum from the win over Texas is palpable. The difference it’s made around the program this week is like a new pair of socks or new tires on your car. You just feel better. You feel confident. You feel like going back to work. You feel you can. W’s are wonderful.

That’s important because Kansas State and its hard-hat, lunch-pail program mentality come to Fort Worth Saturday. And they’ve got a toolbox full of ways to beat you. Head Coach Chris Klieman reportedly got a new contract this week, keeping him in the Little Apple through 2026. Someone at KSU got the word that Klieman was on some school’s shopping list and they wanted to make sure he stayed put in the Flint Hills. Good for Kansas State. Much like TCU, K-State has realized that they made a good hire in a guy with the philosophy and system that closely resembles his predecessor Bill Snyder. Kansas State rolls on like the Wabash Cannonball (Google Kansas State Wabash Cannonball).

TCU kicker Griffin Kell hits one of his four successful field goals in TCU's defeat of Texas on Oct. 3, 2020.

Griffin Kell was 4-4 in field goals during TCU Football’s defeat of Texas on Oct. 3, 2020. Kell and author John Denton are part of the program’s storied fraternity of kickers.

Kansas State’s offense still does it the old-fashioned way. They run it 66 percent of the time, and when they do throw, it’s short passes, wheel routes out of the backfield and out routes designed to complement the running game. They don’t thrown downfield very often, but instead use the short passes as “extended handoffs” to  get the ball into space and make the defense miss. Keep an eye on #22 Deuce Vaughn; he’s a true freshman from Round Rock who was under-recruited but has over-delivered here early in his career. Last week in the Wildcats’ win over Texas Technical, he ran the ball 16 times for 113 yards and a TD and added three catches for 81 yards and a TD. His last catch of the game was a short pass on a 3rd-and-7  late in the fourth quarter that he took 70 yards to the house to lock down the game. Dangerous.

Kansas State doesn’t make mistakes either. They’ve yet to have an offensive turnover in their first three games. That’s discipline.

Quarterback is a bit of question this week as Skylar Thompson took a big hit against Tech and left the game, returning to the KSU sideline in a sling. Coach Klieman hinted that he may be available. Thompson is a skilled and experienced quarterback who has become a better pocket passer, but he can run, too. Last year he took off for 61 yards against the Frogs during a drive that decided the game. If he can go, he will.

His backup is another true freshman, Will Howard (6-4, 230), who came in to relieve Thompson last week and led them to the win, going 7-for-12, 173 yds and a TD while becoming the first K-State true FR with a 100-yd passing game since 2006.

Kansas State’s defense is a base 4-2-5, and they like to keep the play in front of them. Their best player is DE Wiley Hubert #56. He’s solid and can get to the passer. The Wildcats are giving up 492.3 yards per game in total offense (328 of that is passing yardage, so the Frogs should have room to work). Kansas State gives up 30 points per game.

Look for Kansas State to try to grind it out and shorten the game. They took their time and last week ran just 64 plays versus Texas Tech — those are 1983 offensive totals.  The Frogs, on the other hand, need to open it up, come out on the attack and test the K-State secondary. The TCU defense will need to keep KSU off the field, as they are good at keeping the ball and they are efficient. Last week, K-State had 10 offensive possessions and scored on every other possession, while keeping Tech’s offense on the bench with three drives of 11 plays or more. Solid tackling and keeping an eye out for a back sneaking out of the backfield will the recipe for a Frog win.

 

The Frogs get a breather after this one.  October 17th is an open date for TCU, then OU comes to the Metroplex on the 24th.

We’re on the air on the Horned Frog Sports Network at 2 p.m. CT.   Join us!!

Until then,

Kick ‘Em High!!

 

TCU unis

TCU Football will wear the unconventional purple, black and red color combo against Kansas State during the October 10, 2020 matchup.

Horned Frogs Have Speed and Blocking Power

October 7, 2020

Courtesy of TCU Athletics

I have a big prediction for wide receiver JD Spielman. Courtesy of TCU Athletics

Takeaways from last weekend’s most enjoyable trip to Austin, Texas, (aside from the fact that the Frogs made plays when they had to and won) —

  • Max Duggan is back at full speed. It’s time to turn him loose with this offense. His reads were spot-on and the recognition on the play that resulted in his 26-yard run will be watched with interest by the Longhorns’ upcoming opponents. OU is studying closely for this Saturday’s game at the Cotton Bowl.
  • TCU has speed and lots of it on defense. There were many plays made, but La’Kendrick Van Zandt’s rundown of Keaontay Ingram from behind was a game saver. It reminded me of Daryl Washington running down Clemson’s C.J. Spiller in the rain when Washington had no angle, just another gear in 2009.
  • Griffin Kell is kicking the ball with authority and is in gear — a beautiful thing.
  • TCU’s red zone offense needs to produce more touchdowns. I liked the way they produced when it counted.
  • JD Spielman is seeing the field more — that’s a very good thing.
  • Speaking of Spielman, it won’t be long until he breaks a punt return for a TD. You watch.
  • The offensive line had its best game of the year and did a nice job run blocking against a large and fast UT defensive front.
  • The Frogs’ defensive stand that won the game proved that you have to keep playing. They didn’t quit and it paid off, albeit 3 feet away from the goal line!

Speaking of taking care of the ball, Kansas State comes to town on Saturday and they’ve yet to commit a turnover in 2020. We’ll take a close look at the Wildcats on Friday.

Until then,

Kick ‘Em High!!!