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Early Preview – TCU

Posted by cuorange on July 19, 2009

Game 4 – September 26, 2009 – Death Valley, Clemson, SC

Record O St Rtng Pts/Gm O Yds/Gm O D St Rtng Pts/Gm D Yds/Gm D
11-2 6 33.6 421 4 11.3 218

The most intriguing game of the year for me.  Not the most important, but the most intriguing.
TCU has been rock solid under Gary Patterson for years, allowing 2.9 yards per rush or less 9 of the last 10 years (first as DC, then as HC).  However, the Horned Frogs suffered major losses on defense and will be challenged to come close to achieving the statistics from ’08.  They do return Jerry Hughes who had 15 sacks last year to lead the NCAA, but the 3 other starters on the line are gone.
The linebackers are solid, if not spectacular.  TCU runs an unconventional 4-2-5 defense that led the nation in total defense last year.
The secondary returns three of four starters and is considered to be one of the top defensive backfields in the country and will have transfers from Oklahoma and LSU on this year’s roster.
Andy Dalton leads the TCU offense while throwing for 2,242 yards and 11 TDs last year (5 INTs) and rushed for 432 with 8 TDs.  Leading rusher Joseph Turner (577 yards, 8 TDs) also returns.
The wide receivers lose two starters, but Jimmy Young (59 Rec, 988 yards, 5 TDs) returns as does Texas transfer Antoine Hicks.
The offensive line loses quite a bit beginning with C Blake Schleueter (All MWC) and Giles Montgomery, and part time starters Preston Phillips and Heath Raetz.  Don’t be fooled, Mountain West doesn’t necessarily mean smaller.  The returning tackles are 6’5, 350 lbs and 6’3, 317 lbs.
The 33.6 points per game is a bit skewed as 67 of those came against I-AA Stephen F. Austin and only two games overall (20.5 avg/game) came against BCS Conference teams.
The Skinny: TCU is well coached and not afraid of big stadiums.  Gary Patterson and Dick Bumpas know how to get the team ready to play, but this is a team that had significant losses on both lines and does not have the depth of talent that the Tigers have.
Early Conclusion: Expect a close, low scoring game, decided on turnovers.  TCU was +13 in turnovers last year.  I don’t expect that to happen again this year and certainly not on the road in front of 80K.  This is a game that could come down to a FG and that worries me because, at least in July, TCU appears to have an advantage in that area.  But, I believe the personnel losses TCU suffered and the talent discrepancy is too much for the Frogs to overcome.

Clemson 19 TCU 17


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