TCU Gameweek: Getting to Know the Frogs

It's a good thing Pachall came back when he did, for this stretch run, because Trevone Boykin was not playing well at quarterback, showing little signs of improvement from last season

Look away.

There will be football played Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium, when Iowa State (1-7) hosts TCU (3-6) at 11 a.m., but it won't be pretty football. Of 125 FBS teams, Iowa State and TCU are Nos. 109 and 110 in total offense per game, respectively.

Injuries have bit each team hard. Last year's Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, TCU end Devonte Fields, is out for the season. The Horned Frogs did get quarterback Casey Pachall back last week. He threw for nearly 400 yards. For Iowa State, the more apt question is who hasn't been injured?

The Horned Frogs began the season in the Top 25 and played LSU tough in the season-opener, 37-27.

There weren't any legitimate signs of warning until a couple weeks ago, a 24-10 loss to Oklahoma State. Before then, TCU's three losses had each been by 10 points and to a ranked team. The Horned Frogs lost to the No. 15 Cowboys by 14 with an offense that turned the ball over four times.

The next week, TCU was blown out at home by Texas, 30-7. Last weekend the Horned Frogs gave up a big lead and lost in overtime at home to West Virginia, 30-27.

There are three games left to achieve bowl eligibility; the best shots are at Iowa State and Kansas State the next two weeks — although Kansas State is improving and tough at home — and then a home game against Baylor over Thanksgiving weekend. The Bears are superb, but they may be mortal away from home.

  • It's a good thing Pachall came back when he did, for this stretch run, because Trevone Boykin was not playing well at quarterback, showing little signs of improvement from last season. Boykin has completed 59 percent of his passes for five touchdowns and seven interceptions.

    Boykin remains a good runner — he had 101 yards against Texas Tech and 71 against Kansas — and is still a central part of the offense. Moving to receiver after Pachall's return, Boykin caught 11 passes for 100 yards last week.

  • Pachall posted a QBR of 63.3 against the Mountaineers. The senior has had his career marred by personal issues — he entered rehab last season and missed nine games — and the arm injury this season. When healthy, Pachall is a very good quarterback; he completed 66.5 percent of his passes in 2011 for 25 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

  • TCU's rush offense should be one of the best in the conference, given the boatload of quality backs, but instead it's the worst, averaging just under 120 yards a game.

    B.J. Catalon is the team's leading rusher, though he has been held in check since Oct. 12 against Kansas. Nebraska transfer Aaron Green — a member of the star-studded (and mostly disappointing) Texas running backs class in 2011 that featured Malcolm Brown, Brandon Williams and Herschel Sims — has done little to impress, his best coming against Texas on a six-carry, 34-yard day.

    Waymon James suffered a season-ending injury early in 2012 and has been unable to regain his 2011 form, when as a sophomore he picked up seven yards a carry and scored six touchdowns. TCU's running backs timeshare is to blame, as James is only carrying the ball six times a game. He's averaging a good 4.4 yards a carry.

  • The early departure of Josh Boyce — who, by the way, is an inactive with the New England Patriots — has been felt by TCU's wide receiving corps. The Horned Frogs are 78th in pass plays of 10-plus yards and 84th when that category stretches to 20-plus yards.

    The team also misses Skye Dawson, a 34-catch, 455-yard senior in 2012.

    Brandon Carter has not emerged as the No. 1 option like TCU had hoped; the junior finds himself in the dog house for lapses in route running and blocking. He has 17 receptions for 197 yards and no touchdowns, significantly disappointing after he notched 590 yards and scored six touchdowns in 2012.

  • The Horned Frogs have given up 21 sacks, No. 91 nationally.

  • Defense has been the badge of Gary Patterson's teams in Fort Worth. It is no different this season. The Horned Frogs have yet to face Baylor, but they have played every other conference team worth its offensive weight, as well as a top-25 offense in LSU. Yet TCU remains one of the best defensive teams in the country.

    At No. 61, TCU's average yield of 230 pass yards per game is its worst defensive metric. But consider the Frogs have Jason Verrett, one of the nation's top cornerbacks, and most offenses are still hesitant to take too many shots.

    There is no replacing Devonte Fields but the Horned Frogs have actually upped their sacks per game from a year ago, tied for 16th nationally with 2.89.

    Matchup Preview | November 9, 2013
    TCU Horned Frogs
    (3-6, 0-3 Away)
    Iowa State Cyclones
    (1-7, 0-4 Home)
    Offensive Stats Comparison
    334.9 (110)Total Offensive Yards333.8 (109)
    214.8 (79)Passing Yards204.8 (92)
    119.9 (106)Rushing Yards133.5 (97)
    23.4 (95)Points Per Game23.1 (97)
    9 (103)Passing TD13 (62)
    13 (75)Rushing TD10 (93)
    86.67 (38)Red Zone Percentage95.45 (5)
    Defensive Stats Comparison
    357 (25)Total Yards Allowed477.5 (115)
    230.1 (61)Passing Yards Allowed257.3 (103)
    126.8 (23)Rushing Yards Allowed220.2 (111)
    23.6 (42)Points Per Game39.9 (119)
    26 (12)Sacks12 (98)
    6 (55)Fumble Recoveries10 (8)
    17 (2)Interceptions3 (115)
    81.8 (55)Red Zone Percentage86.1 (89)

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