TCU played 56 competitive minutes of football against the fourth ranked Ohio State Buckeyes. Unfortunately for the Horded Frogs, the game is 60 minutes long.
When Ohio State star Nick Bosa left the game with a leg injury and TCU rolled down the field to extend the lead to 21-13 in the third quarter, it seemed like they had Ohio State on the ropes. And then disaster struck, the Buckeyes responded with a 63-yard touchdown, a pick six, and a blocked punt that led to another touchdown. Ohio State scored 20 point within about four minutes of game clock in the third quarter and flipped the game on its head.
The Horned Frogs answered with a touchdown of their own to close the Buckeye’s lead to five points at the end of the third quarter, but Ohio State was just too much down the stretch and defeated the Frogs 40-28.
TCU played well enough to compete with a team that was flat out better then them, and if those four minutes didn’t happen the story today could be very different. Shawn Robinson played well early, but struggled late as the Horned Frogs started to run out of time and he started to try to do too much. The takeaway is though, TCU showed they can compete for a Big 12 title despite the loss.
In a game in which the two teams combined for over 1,000 yards the Horned Frogs revealed a lot about their team.
The TCU Defensive Line Can Create Pressure With Speed
The TCU defensive line played well enough to make Haskins move around the pocket for the first time this year. They did that despite a huge size disparity against the Buckeyes offensive line. The average size and weight of the OSU O-line was about 6 inches and 50 pounds more than the the TCU D-line. Ben Banogu caused some panic in the Buckeye backfield, recording three solo tackles and two quarterback pressures.
All the times that TCU wrecked havoc wasn’t with power, it was with speed. It also helped that almost every shotgun snap was wild from Buckeye center Michael Jordan and I’m sure that threw off Haskins rhythm.
TCU probably won’t have the size advantage on other Big 12 offensive lines either but will have no problem disrupting things in the backfield. Offensive line wise, West Virginia is an average 6-foot-5 and Oklahoma is an average 6-foot-4. Both WVU and OU are a lot smaller than Ohio State so TCU should be creating pressure for the rest of the year. That’s especially important against these two teams because of their quarterbacks. Dwayne Haskins is similar to Kyler Murray and TCU kept him in check. Will Grier isn’t as mobile but will tear apart any defense if given time to sit in the pocket and go through his progressions, especially with those receivers.
Shawn Robinson Has It In Him, But He Needs To Be More Consistent
Heading into week three, my main concern for TCU was quarterback play. Heading out of week three, that question has been answered, but a different one has emerged. Shawn Robinson showed early on that he is a good quarterback, but struggles to keep that level of play for 60 minutes, something he needs to do to beat teams like Ohio State.
TCU’s first drive was full of first down throws by Robinson. He looked very comfortable running the offense and drove TCU down the field but the drive ended in a missed field goal. The second drive was a quick one for all the wrong reasons. Robinson got blindsided by Nick Bosa and a scoop and score put Ohio State up 10-0, although some replays say otherwise. All in all, the first handful of drives saw a couple of Robinson incompletions, but he hit Jalen Reagor for a huge gain and used his feet a few times to extend the drive. Robinson ended the half well and TCU went into the locker room up 14-13.
In the second half Robinson was around the 50% mark completion wise and the yards came in big plays, not consistent gains. Sacks killed drives late in the game and Robinson threw a pick six by trying to force something on a option play and that was all part of Ohio State’s four minute turn around. He finished with 304 yards and a touchdown and two interceptions by completing 24 of his 40 passes. That’s an okay game, but not nearly good enough to beat Ohio State and won’t be good enough to beat the Oklahoma’s, Oklahoma State’s, and West Virginia’s in the Big 12.
TCU’s Pass Defense Needs To Be Better In Big 12 Play
Even after looking good in the first two weeks, the TCU pass defense was a mess on Saturday. Dwayne Haskins threw the rock all over them. The games first couple of plays saw the secondary get exploited. Haskins isn’t even the best arm TCU will see this year , guys like Kyler Murray and Will Grier will definitely torch TCU for more than just 344 yards and two scores if the Horned Frogs secondary plays like they did today.
Safety Innis Games played very well, but other than that the secondary needs work. In Big 12 games, even the second tier teams like Texas Tech and Texas could put up 30 point sin the blink of an eye, if the secondary struggles. If the Horned Frogs have a main area of concern after three weeks it’s the pass defense.
If TCU Can Cut Down On Mistakes, They Will Be A Legit Big 12 Contender
TCU had two touchdowns called back because of penalties. The Horned Frogs can’t continue to let big plays not count, and if they fix this they can very well be playing for a Big 12 title in December.
TCU also hurt themselves in other ways than penalties. Robinson tried to force a pass on a broken play and that resulted in a pick six for Ohio State and turned a 21-19 game to a 26-21 game in favor of the buckeyes. A missed field goal and negated touchdown on the team’s first drive paired with a opening kickoff out of bounds and blown coverage on the second play of the game and TCU had a uncharacteristic start to the game.
Gary Paterson was not shy to point out those mistakes in his post game presser and swore that his squad will fix any problems. Whether that’s true or not, only time will tell.