The Grades Are In: SMU

HornedFrogBlitz.com takes a look at how each group graded out in the Frogs' 24-16 win over SMU.

Well, a win is a win and in those conditions the Horned Frogs played last night, they'll take an eight-point win any day of the week. TCU moved to 4-0 on the season with a narrow 24-16 win over crosstown rival SMU. The Mustangs fell to 1-3.

As we've done for several seasons, we take a look at how each unit performed and grade them on it. This is based solely the opinion of HornedFrogBlitz.com. With that said, let's take a look!

Quarterbacks: C
Stats: 11-of-27; 106 passing yards, 2 TD, 0 INT; 12 rushes, 10 yards

Game review: Statistically, Pachall had his worst game of the year. Of course, weather certainly played into the poor performance having to throw a wet ball. Pachall completed only 8-of-18 passes for 76 yards in the first half. 30 of those yards came on a pass to Skye Dawson with a full blitz in his face. He finished the game completing 10-of-26 passes for 107 yards and 2 touchdowns with no interceptions.

To his credit though, TCU did have a couple of throws that should've been caught. Again, I'm perfectly aware that the conditions were wet.

Pachall's best throw of the night was his touchdown toss to Ladarius Brown in the first quarter where he threw it to where only Brown could make the catch. His throw to Brandon Carter in the third quarter should've been caught for the score. It was uncharacteristic of Carter to drop that pass. Pachall had a rush of 13 yards (the longest rush of the night for the Frogs), yet, losses took that away in a hurry. The biggest rush he could've had happened at the end of the second quarter when the Frogs faced a 3rd and 13 from the SMU 37. Facing a three man rush from SMU, Pachall had plenty of time to throw and upon further review, plenty of room to run. Had he ran the ball, he likely could've easily made it to SMU's 32 or 30-yard line giving Jaden Oberkrom a shorter attempt than his 54-yarder. Pachall ended up throwing and it was nearly intercepted by the goal line. Oberkrom's kick fell short the next play by about 5 yards.

Without a doubt, Pachall showed plenty of grit and resilience on the night. Despite his lack of big statistics, he is a leader for this team. If there was someone wanting to win, it was him. Did anyone catch his reaction after tossing his second touchdown to Tucker? We did in the press box and for you guys watching on T.V., it had to be the reason Patterson gave him an earful on his return to the sideline. Boykin came in and received the most playing time he's had all season. He attempted only 2 passes, one of which resulted in a pass interference. He added 14 yards on 4 carries.

Both quarterbacks most important stat on the night…no interceptions or fumbles

Play of the game: Pachall's pass to LaDarius Brown for a score

Runningbacks: C
Stats: 32 rushes, 93 yards, 0 TD; 2.9 yards per carry

Game Review: Well, another week and again it's tough to judge the runningbacks on how they performed because of lack of running room. The runningbacks did run very, very hard. Matthew Tucker finished with two scores on the night, one on the ground and one touchdown catch. The senior finished with 56 yards on 18 carries with a long of 9 yards.

Aundre Dean got the most carries he's seen all season with 10 on the night. However, that resulted in only 26 yards but like Tucker, he ran extremely hard with what room he had.

B.J. Catalon carries three times for 10 yards and also caught a pass for 5 yards. He would love to have back his chance in the 3rd quarter on the Frogs opening drive.

Like the quarterbacks, the best stat of the night was no turnovers.

Play of the game: Tucker's 4 yard TD in the 2nd quarter

Wide receivers/Tight Ends: C-
Stats: 7 receptions, 99 yards, 1 TD

Game review:The good news? TCU receivers didn't have near as many drops as SMU. But, they had some key drops. But, understandably those are hard catches to make when the conditions were as bad as they were on Saturday.

Boyce led the receivers on the night with 3 catches for 42 yards. Unfortunately, he was one of the receivers who had a drop. His 25 yard catch in the 3rd quarter set the Frogs up with a great scoring opportunity.

Brandon Carter didn't have his best game of the season, hauling in 3 catches for 18 yards. He had the Frogs lone turnover on the night when he fumbled a catch in the first quarter. His drop in the third quarter that would've been a touchdown was very uncharacteristic of him, after seeing the replay the pass was on the money. Again, tough to fault dropped passes when it's like catching a greased pig.

LaDarius Brown hauled in 2 catches including a 10-yard touchdown to give the Frogs a 7-0 lead. He was also the receiver that drew a pass interference call in the third quarter.

Skye Dawson had the catch of the night with his 30-yard snag in the second quarter. Aside from that catch, Dawson was quiet for the rest of the night. Unfortunately, the Frogs didn't score on that particular drive.

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Play of the game: Brown's 10-yard TD

Offensive line: D
Stats: 103 rushing yards

Game review: Hmmm, how to put this…it wasn't the greatest performance from a Frogs' offensive line that I've seen. The line created little running room on the night, as evidenced by the long of nine yards on the ground for the runningbacks. They struggled against four man fronts, blitzes and even the occasional three man front. They allowed a total of seven tackles for losses on the night; a season high.

SMU defensive end Margus Hunt was the biggest catalyst picking up two tackles for loss which included one sack. Hunt was also credited with a couple of quarterback hurries from his left defensive end spot. The delayed blitzes also confused the line, SMU linebacker Taylor Reed picked up an easy sack in the fourth quarter and Pachall was tackled for a loss on a 3rd and 4 at the SMU 37 in the fourth quarter that forced a punt.

It wasn't exactly the performance from the line I know they expected, especially against the worst rated defense in the country. But, the line is still growing up. The positive? Not as many penalties…on the line that is…as last week. The offensive line was called for two false start penalties and no holding penalties. A silver lining maybe.

Play of the game: Protection on Pachall's throw to Boyce for 25 yards.

Defensive line: B
Stats: 15 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 6.0 TFL's, 4 QB hurries

Game review: After watching the replay of the game, I think the defensive line played very well against SMU, almost well enough to earn a B+. Let me explain why before most of you disagree.

First off, Devonte Fields played exceptional. The true freshman led the team with 7 tackles, 4 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. His sack total is the highest total ever for a true freshman in the Gary Patterson era. Fields looked like a four-star recruit on the night; he turned in the type of performance he needs to have for the Frogs to be successful. I also liked his big hit on Zach Line in the second quarter, it was the first time I've seen an opponent hit Line like that and stop him in his tracks.

Now, why did the defensive line grade so well? The answer is easy; they held Zach Line in check and for a back that's had great success the last two seasons against the Frogs, that's saying something. Line finished with only 44 yards on 15 carries. Take away his 21-yard score and he finishes with just over 20 yards on 14 carries. Also, the line didn't have a bad night getting to Gilbert. They registered 4 quarterback hurries and when it looked like Gilbert had plenty of time to throw (which he did on some plays) it was against a three-man rush in nickel situations. Granted, Gilbert also had a couple of plays with time to throw against a four-man front, but SMU used six players to block, more specifically Zach Line.

Chucky Hunter had his best game of the season finishing with 2.0 TFL's and 1.5 sacks.

Stansly Maponga had a good night with 0.5 sacks and hurried the quarterback two times. He drew double teams plenty on the night but still managed to create some plays. Maponga did draw a couple of penalties, but in his defense he was mugged so bad on some plays I saw an SMU lineman walking off the field with his wallet. So, you could see the frustration starting to mount.

The best series for the defense came when SMU recovered a botched snap on a punt and recovered the ball at the TCU 1. Davion Pierson and Fields stuffed Line on first down for no gain and the next play Fields sacks Garrett Gilbert for a loss of 8 yards. Those two plays were huge for the Frogs as they held a 24-10 lead and SMU seemed to have the momentum.

Not to be forgotten, Jon Koontz intercepted a Gilbert pass that stopped an SMU drive.

Overall, the unit was close to getting a B+ but after two personal foul calls, including a roughing the quarterback and a hands to the face penalty on a 3rd and 3 that continued a Mustang drive. Luckily, the next play Elisha Olabode intercepted a Gilbert pass.

Play of the game: Fields sack in the fourth quarter that kept SMU out of the end zone.

Linebackers: B
Stats: 10 tackles, 1 TFL

Game review: Joel Hasley and Kenny Cain played the entire game against the Mustangs collecting five tackles a piece.

Both did a better job of tackling on the night, with one exception. On Line's 21-yard score, both Cain and Hasley had a chance to make the play. Hasley came flying in like a bullet but was barely able to get an arm on Line. Cain slipped off the tackle, as did about three other Frogs on the play.

Hasley did well on blitzes on the night, particularly on a play on Gilbert in the third quarter where he got major pressure up the middle and laid a big hit on the SMU quarterback just after he released the ball. Cain and Hasley did well on pass coverage as well. Line was held to only one catch for 7 yards and the SMU slot receivers didn't turn in big numbers.

Play of the game: Hasley's hit on Gilbert

Cornerbacks: B
Stats: 3 tackles, 2 interceptions

Game review:Jason Verrett collected a career-high two interceptions on the night and finished with three tackles. Kevin White finished with 1 tackle.

Granted, both players were fortunate on a couple of plays thanks to drops by SMU receivers. But, most of those drops from the SMU receivers were over the middle but a few came on the outside. Of course, Derrick Thompson also scored on a 29-yard route late in the game.

Verrett's first interception was a great play of coming back to the ball and making the play. Thompson seemed to be waiting for the ball. However, the Frogs' offense wasn't able to capitalize off the turnover.

Overall, I believe the corners played as well as they could with wet conditions. Receivers usually have an advantage in wet conditions because they know where they're going whereas the defensive backs to not and can lead to plenty of slips. Case in point, Thompson's touchdown reception.

Play of the game: Verrett's first interception

Safeties: B
Stats: 8 tackles, 2 interceptions

Game review: Like the corners, the safeties were fortunate on the night by a boat-load of drops by the SMU receivers. But, they definitely had some good plays of their own. Elisha Olabode turned in another big game with four tackles and his second interception of the year. Olabode has taken control of the secondary and even Gary Patterson lauded Olabode's ability to make the right calls and get the secondary in the right place. His interception came at a great time after the Frogs had been deal a personal foul penalty to continue an SMU drive. Olabode broke on the ball beautifully and returned it 51 yards to the SMU 8-yard line. A few plays later the Frogs built a 14-0 lead.

Chris Hackett excelled in his first career start, picking up his first fumble recovery and interception of his career. Hackett's fumble recovery came at a great time after Zach Line put the ball on the turf. Hackett didn't hesitate jumping on the ball rather than attempting to pick it up, that's a big play in itself. A few plays later TCU scored their first touchdown. Hackett's interception came at the right time after the Frogs were hit with a late hit on Gilbert. Hackett read the deep pass over the middle and turned around at the perfect time to haul in the pass.

Sam Carter had the biggest break-up of the night when the Mustangs had a chance to cut the lead to 7 points. On 4th down, Carter broke perfectly on a Gilbert throw across the middle resulting in no points for SMU after they recovered a fumbled snap on the TCU 1-yard line.

While they still made some mistakes, there's no question that through four games this season, the TCU safeties are playing light years better than they were last year.

Play of the game: Olabode's interception

Special teams: C-
Stats: 2-of-3 FG attempts; 4 bobbled snaps

Game review: One of these days the Frogs will put it all together on special teams. On one hand, without Skye Dawson's 64-yard punt return(thanks to an excellent block from Jonathan Anderson), do the Frogs go up 21-7? On the other hand, bad snaps on punt and field goal teams nearly changed the game. Patterson admitted after the game that he should've put senior Cale Patterson in the game after freshman Ethan Perry struggled. Perry dropped one snap that skipped around and SMU took to the TCU 1-yard line. The second botch was actually a bad snap that bounced a yard from Perry.

It wasn't just punt game mistakes. The field goal unit had two mishaps, the first coming after an impressive 13-play, 66-yard drive. The Frogs walked away with zero points after having the chance to extend their lead to 27-10. The second mishap came late in the fourth quarter with the Frogs facing a 4th and 3. The snap was high and holder Cale Patterson never had a chance to put the ball down. He did get a completion to Corey Fuller though.

Personal fouls also plagued the kickoff teams. Somehow the Frogs were called with a block below the waist on their kick after extending the lead to 21-7. Combine the penalty with Cole Loftin's 45-yard return, the Mustangs had excellent field position at the TCU 39-yard line and eventually led to a field goal to cut the lead to 21-10.

Brandon Carter had the most electric return on the night, returning SMU's ensuing kickoff 63 yards to the SMU 37. He ran about 150 yards on the play. Unfortunately, the Frogs put up no points after Carter's stellar return.

Perry did have a huge 64-yard punt in the fourth quarter that Keivon Gamble made an excellent tackle on. He also booted four punts inside the 20.

Oberkrom was 1-of-2 on his field goal attempts, nailing a 43-yarder and just coming up short on a 54-yard attempt into a strong wind.

Play of the game: Dawson's 64-yard punt return.

Jeremy Clark has covered TCU football and recruiting since 2005. He spent seven years with another recruiting service before joining the FoxSports/Scout.com family in February 2012. He has made appearances on FoxSports Southwest and the NFL Network and radio stations nationwide in his nearly eight years of covering the Frogs.
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