Sunday, November 15, 2009

TCU 55, Utah 28

All week the Wimple has been at a loss to find a way sum up the game's significance. ESPN deigned to visit the campus; a conference game sold out; the Frogs' BCS ranking was the highest among the non-cartel teams ever; these (and a dozen more) facts pointed at the issue, but somehow fall short of describing it fully.

Perhaps a number will do the trick: 50,307. That's how many tickets TCU sold for this game.

That's over fifty thousand, should your common sense be arguing with you right now. And it's probably somewhere shy of actual attendance, considering how jammed the students (and alums still flashing student IDs at the gate) were on the east side.

No Southwest Conference game ever drew so many; no horde of tea-sippers from Austin, no mob of Arkansas hillbillies or uppity Mustangs, not even any grand gathering of Frog faithful in the good old days ever numbered so many as Saturday's throng, purple-clad almost to a one. The jubilation was well under way when the Wimples (including one fly-in from Alberta, Canada) squeezed in with the students about 90 minutes before kickoff. By the time the clock began counting down 60 minutes to gametime, there were easily more than 25,000 already in place. Many actual games have been seen by fewer fans than this week's warmups, even since the revival.

Coach P said his feet were off the ground by kickoff, it was so loud. The crowd was relatively football savvy, too. Clearly the team was enthused by all of it-- TCU blocked its first punt of the season, and generally was a step ahead of the Utes all night long. Utah tested the Frog secondary early and often, and could connect only a few times, though two consecutive completions midway through the second quarter totaled 90 yards and 6 points. Jordan Wynn was excellent, but totally overmatched. He'll lead a different animal in 2010.

Dalton was good, passing over (and quickly!) an endless litany of blitzes; he put the ball in the wrong place several times, but avoided costly errors, and punished the Utes early and often with good passes, decisions, and running. The Frogs won the battle in the trenches soundly. Turner, Wesley, Tucker, and Dalton combined for 40 carries, 315 yards, 3 running TDs, 0 sacks or QB hurries. Wesley and Tucker will cause many a nightmare for opposing defense coordinators; they were sensational Saturday. (now add to the mix Andre Dean, Waymon James, and maybe Dwight Smith... and weep for the good days ahead!)

In the air, the Frogs had slightly less yards than the Utes; but aside from the two-play 90-yard drive in the second, the Utes were generally one dimensional at best, and often no-dimensional. TCU's defense was simply hellacious, and the coaches didn't let up. Hughes was unrelenting, tallying eight tackles (2.5 of them for losses, and three on one drive), 1.5 sacks and three QB hurries. Tank Carder (who was all grins afterwards) got nine tackles, one for a loss, one INT, one PBU, and one QB hurry. Washington and Griffin was monstrous as well. When the Frogs finally put in their second team D, the Utes were done trying. They ran up the middle, for zero or less yards, giving back the ball, and letting the Frogs take a knee to end the pain.

And then the floodgates opened, for the first time since 1997, but for the totally opposite reason. The fans poured onto the field, and celebrated the victory (ostensibly with the team, but mostly with each other) and chanted "B-C-S" and sang the alma mater as rowdily as humanly possible.

here's ESPN's Saturday preview, filmed from the commons at TCU:

and highlights, via the mtn.:

and the YouTube highlights, from SuperFrog:


Anthony said...

Congrats. It was a tough loss for me, but I am happy for you. I had mixed feelings going into the game on how we would do. TCU was fun to watch. I had to smile at that first TCU missed FG. TCU had us on our heels, forcing us into making mistakes and handing it to us on many levels.

Continue to Represent.

One correction, twice you have the score of my Utes as only 21. The title entry and your right side season 2009. Any reason?

Brett said...

Congratulations. Well deserved. I was a little surprised that TCU didn't pick up some better kickers after last years game...what is that about? Does TCU have a soccer team?

T. Wimple said...

thanks for the correction, Tony.

Brett: our kicking has been spotty this year. It was deja vu all over again when Evans missed that FG, but he's generally been much better this year than last.

Hopefully none of our next three will come down to a kick, and with this crew, they might not.

Footnote: in which other game did Evans miss a punt? (it was one of our close ones.)

Dan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dan said...

Congrats on the win. You guys are a beast this year. I am stoked for the rematch next year. The top three teams in the conference are developing a nice rivalry.

I hope that you get your chance at the title. After watching you on Saturday, I am firmly convinced that you will smack around any team that you play in the BCS. Go make the conference 3-0 all time.

T. Wimple said...

yeah-- the rematch is going to be rowdy. TCU brings back an absurd number of starters; but Utah is not above using revenge as a motivator (contra: BYU!) and I bet SLC will be foaming at the collective mouth for the 2010 Frogs.

Hopefully the MWC schedules that for November, again, and not on a Thursday.

T. Wimple said...

and I forgot to mention: Wynn is going to be really, really good. He, Austyn Carta-Samuels, and Ryan Lindley will be the class of the league in 2011.

But Dalton returns in 2010...

Jack said...

Judgeing from the 10,000 plus k-12 school children sitting behind us, throwing popcorn and flipping pennies it would be hard pressed to claim they 'sold' 50,000 plus tickets... But lets be honest, that is neither here nor there TCU opened up an extra large can of "explitive" on us. I really really thought our defense would keep us in the game and at least give us a shot at the upset but instead we just looked lost and confused all night. We made a lot of costly mistakes, some avoidable, but many forced by TCU... Give all the credit to TCU and have no doubt you'll represent proudly in the BCS, I just wish you'd get a chance at the big game. Glad Whit gave you guys a first place vote in the Harris pole (that is just a guess based on his comments below, and not at all confirmed)

"They were who we thought they were. Tonight, that was a good football team,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. “I have been a head coach for five years and that is the best team that I’ve faced. They are a solid team from top to bottom and we knew we were going to have to play our best to compete tonight. That did not happen"

Thanks again for spending the morning with us, it was fun hanging out with you guys at gameday and what not. Wish it could have been more of a game, at least for a bit longer, but still had a good time!

Footnote: As long as we are commenting about the kicking game, why was TCU even in position to botch two field goals late in the '08 game?

T. Wimple said...

two things:

the schoolkids behind you were probably the beneficiaries of a charity called Project Purple, that collects donated tickets (usually season ticket holders who know in advance they can't attend), sells 'em, and buys a block of tickets in the upper deck to seat (free) poor schoolkids. Being as y'all were in the top third of the upperdeck, I highly suspect this was the issue.

And two: why were we in position to lose to Utah in '08 by missing field goals? Easy answer: Illinois's current OC was TCU's OC in '08. THe improvement after he left has been simply astounding. Same players, better schemes and playcalling. It's made a world of difference.

Jack said...

NO NO No, Whimple, you were in position to botch two field goals in 08 because Louie Sakoda the all american kicker who had been amazing all year inexplainably botched two punts really badly that allowed you guys to have much better field position that should have been the case... so really it was a case of one poor kick for another.

But really, lets be honest, you aren't worried about last year. Heck of a season for you guys, and your future looks bright for next year too... now if only we could rewind time a few hours and get Nebraska's kicker to man up rather than kick it out of bounds you may be going to the Championship this year.

T. Wimple said...

au contraire, Jack. TCU's missed field goals in 2008 were pivotal only because the Frogs couldn't punch a ticket into the endzone on either one of those drives. Can you doubt TCU would have done so at least once, using the '09 crew?