TCU: How Long Will Horned Frogs Defense Hold Up?


No.3 TCU pulls away from the Iowa State Cyclones despite another sluggish start on the road that’s becoming a disturbing trend.

Last week, the TCU defense, without a doubt, cost the Horned Frogs its No.2 ranking as they got leapfrogged by intrastate rival Baylor following a thrilling 52-45 win against the Kansas State Wildcats.

Currently ranked No.3, things were a bit more convincing in Ames, Iowa as TCU ended up pulling away from the Iowa State Cyclones 45-21 on Saturday night.

While still undefeated and in complete control of their Big 12 destiny, one has to wonder just how long head coach Gary Patterson‘s defense can hang on in 2015.

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By the end of the 1st quarter at Jack Trice Stadium, TCU actually trailed by a score of 21-14, not exactly a deficit that can’t be overcome. Then again, why was a Cyclones team entering unranked and with a record of 2-3 scoring 21 points against a national power like the Horned Frogs in the first period of play?

This is a question that Patterson answered in ominous form following the game, thanks to this quote from ESPN:

"We might the worst first quarter defense in college football right now. Holy smokes."

With remaining games against Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and, last but not least, No.2 Baylor all in the next six weeks, that’s probably not what you want to hear if you’re a Horned Frogs fan, right?

This season has been all about offense in Ft. Worth, a dramatic shift from the reputation this program gained over the last several seasons. Without Heisman Trophy candidate Trevone Boykin playing the way he is, TCU wouldn’t be in any discussions about the College Football Playoff.

If the TCU defense is anything at all, it’s inconsistent. A unit that held Texas and Stephen F. Austin to just seven points has turned around and allowed a season-high of 52 against Texas Tech, 45 against Kansas State and 37 against SMU – 37 points against the 1-5 Mustangs?

At this point, the entire remaining schedule is an eminent threat to Horned Frogs title hopes, and while there’s still some time to right the ship, the clock is definitely ticking.

It’s been said over and over that offense wins games and defense wins championships – TCU has got one of those, but probably not the most important one.

Up next on the schedule for TCU is West Virginia following next weekend’s bye. For perspective that Patterson and company will undoubtedly think about between now and a week from Thursday, consider that Baylor beat those same Mountaineers 62-38 down in Waco on Saturday. The point isn’t that Baylor won, but rather that they gave up 38 points to a team that’s beaten positively nobody this season and has now dropped three-in-a-row.

There’s no question that TCU can beat West Virginia, but I do wonder whether or not they actually will.

The tackling has to improve and so does just about every other area on that side of the ball.

Otherwise, a season of so much promise, at least to this point, could be down the tubes once the Horned Frogs actually run into a quality defense, like those they will certainly see in the College Football Playoff – if TCU even gets there.

It’s a true life-saver that Boykin and that tremendous passing game gets out to such a quick start seemingly week in and week out. With no better performance from the defensive side of the ball, there’s likely to be a quick ending looming on the horizon.

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