2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 3 - ULM at TCU
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Sept. 17 at TCU 38 … ULM 17
CFN Analysis: COMING
(AP) FORT WORTH, Texas -- After TCU players heard from an irritated coach Gary Patterson at halftime, they quickly took it out on Louisiana-Monroe.
Greg McCoy returned the second-half kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown, and the TCU defense came up with a big play right after as the 23rd-ranked Horned Frogs finally took control in a 38-17 victory that was Patterson's 100th win as head coach.
"He was pretty intense," quarterback Casey Pachall said. "He got after all of us in there; we had to step it up."
Patterson's rant had nothing to do with his milestone victory. The 11th-year coach is more concerned about the maturation of his young team after losing so many key players from last year's Rose Bowl championship season.
Louisiana-Monroe (1-2) piled up 189 total yards in the first quarter, when it scored all of its points to take a 17-14 lead.
"Hopefully, we'll learn to get back to fanatic TCU effort, because when they turned up the knob, good things happened," a hoarse-throated Patterson said afterward. "But we've got to keep turning up the knob. You've got to start from the opening bell."
Despite what Patterson called "terrible" defense in the first quarter and "terrible" offense in the fourth quarter, TCU (2-1) matched a Mountain West Conference record with its 21st consecutive home win. It was also the 10th consecutive winning home opener under Patterson.
The Frogs led 21-17 before McCoy took the second-half kick at the 6, then took one step toward the middle of the field before cutting back toward the sideline. He ran nearly untouched to the end zone, his path completely clear once the kicker was knocked down near midfield.
"It was terrible," Warhawks receiver Brent Leonard said. "That special teams play and then that fumble, that kind of killed us. It's hard to come back from things like that."
Three plays after McCoy's sprint up the right sideline in front of the ULM bench, the Warhawks (1-2) gave the ball back when Jyruss Edwards fumbled after taking a crushing blow from Stansly Maponga. D.J. Yendrey recovered at the 28, setting up Matthew Tucker's second TD run, a 1-yarder for a 35-17 lead less than 5 minutes into the second half.
"I gave our guys a pretty good (halftime) lecture, too. We had missed some opportunities," coach Todd Berry said. "I knew (Patterson) was going to get on them. I told the players, 'Get ready. They're going to come out fired up, and we need to match that intensity.' I felt good about it, our team's focus and then all of a sudden you have the kickoff returned for a touchdown. That's not the way you want to open the second half."
TCU didn't score again until Ross Evans kicked a 28-yard field goal with 27 seconds remaining.
Louisiana-Monroe, now 0-22 against Top 25 teams, led 17-14 on Tavarese Maye's 37-yard touchdown catch with 19 seconds left in the first quarter. Maye lunged forward in the middle of the end zone for the grab after cornerback Kevin White stumbled and fell against the receiver's legs.
The Warhawks gained only 125 more yards after that.
This was the first game at Amon G. Carter Stadium since a major renovation began after their final home game last season. The work isn't scheduled to be completed until the 2012 opener, with the new upper deck unfinished and unusable.
The Frogs haven't lost there since 2007 against Utah.
Patterson, promoted from defensive coordinator to head coach after the 2000 regular season, is 100-29. The only TCU coach to win more games is Dutch Meyer, with 109 from 1934-52. That included the Frogs' only AP national championship in 1938, their only other undefeated season until last year.
TCU finally went ahead to stay only after getting a lucky break. Offsetting penalties wiped away Skye Dawson's fumbled punt return that the Warhawks had recovered at the 15.
Brandon Carter fielded the do-over kick and had an 18-yard return, setting up a 12-play, 73-yard drive that ended with Antoine Hicks' 2-yard TD run that made it 21-17 with 5:16 left in the half.
After the Warhawks punted again with a minute left, TCU gave the ball back when R.J. Young reached out and stripped the ball from Pachall's hand and recovered it with 10 seconds left at the 32. ULM got 6 yards on a quick pass, but Justin Manton's 43-yard field goal attempt on the final play was wide right.
ULM got a 23-yard field goal by Manton on the opening drive, though TCU quickly responded when Pachall hit Josh Boyce in stride at the 30 behind a defender for what turned into a 68-yard TD.
"I feel like anytime I can get the ball in his area, he's going to make a play," Pachall said of Boyce, who had seven catches for 134 yards.
Backup quarterback Cody Wells played the second series for ULM and was 5-of-5 passing for 38 yards with a 22-yard TD to Leonard for a 10-7 lead. TCU went right back down the field and got a 5-yard touchdown run by Tucker.
Leonard finished with 13 catches for 92 yards.
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ULM (1-1) at TCU (1-1) Sept. 17, 2:00, mtn.
Here’s The Deal … TCU got back on track after the Baylor loss with a decisive and impressive performance on the road at Air Force to kick off the Mountain West season. This might not be the dominant TCU teams of recent years past, and it might not be in the hunt for the national title anymore, but it’s still talented and it still has the attitude that it can play with anyone in the country. This should be a layup in the home opener before getting a true scrimmage against Portland State, but there isn’t a team on the schedule until BYU in late October that’s good enough to give the Horned Frogs a game.
ULM came up with a dominant win over Grambling after not playing as bad as the 34-0 final score looked against Florida State. The offense has a few issues and the passing game in non-existent, but the defense has been tremendous against the run and the pass rush has been awesome. The Warhawks don’t have the offense to pull off the win, but they’re strong enough to be a bit more than a speed bump before going off to deal with Iowa.
Why ULM Might Win: The defensive line and the run defense have been fantastic. Grambling went nowhere, getting stopped for 26 yards on the ground, while Florida State was held to just 92 yards and a score. The pass rush has been terrific from the ends as well as the linebacking corps, and the dialed up pressure has helped make up for the problems from the offense.
On the flip side, the Horned Frogs aren’t getting any sort of a pass rush from its defensive front. Granted, Air Force isn’t a passing team and there weren’t many chances to fly into the backfield, but there wasn’t any pressure on Baylor’s Robert Griffin when the TCU secondary was getting lit up. ULM doesn’t run the same type of offense as Air Force, but it wants to get several runners involved and needs to get the quarterback moving. The Falcons were able to rumble for 249 yards against the formerly impenetrable TCU D.
Why TCU Might Win: ULM isn’t going to run like Air Force.
The ground game worked against Grambling, but the offensive line didn’t get any sort of a push against Florida State and the passing game was non-existent. TCU’s problem early on has been the pass defense, getting bombed on by Baylor, but ULM isn’t equipped to take advantage of any problems in coverage. The receivers just aren’t that good.
Florida State’s E.J. Manuel was able to pick apart the Warhawk secondary for 252 yards and two touchdowns, and even though he was under pressure, he was able to connect with his targets without much of a problem.
Defensively, yes, the ULM pass rush has been great so far, but the TCU offensive line isn’t going to allow much to happen in the backfield. In two games, the Horned Frogs allowed just one sack with Casey Pachall getting all the time he needs to let the timing of the passing game work. Ever since the third quarter of the Baylor game, the TCU offense has been just fine.
What To Watch Out For: TCU was without star running back Ed Wesley against Air Force, and he’s still bothered by a shoulder injury. The offense didn’t have any problems moving the ball on the ground with Matthew Tucker and Waymon James combining forces for 150 yards and three touchdowns, and while neither one busted out a big play, they were steady and effective controlling the ball.
ULM needs more from the running backs to help out quarterback Kolton Browning, and the production needs to keep coming from 6-0, 211-pound sophomore Centarius Donald. The power back made a little bit of an impact in his first year with 66 yards, but he has the build and the toughness to be a workhorse from time to time. He ran for over 4,000 yards 54 touchdowns over his final two high school seasons, and he showed off his potential last week against Grambling with 144 yards and a score on 12 carries.
What Will Happen: ULM won’t be awful on defense, but the offense won’t go anywhere and the D will start to fold in the second half. The pass rush that’s been such a positive so far won’t be there on a regular basis, and Pachall will take advantage with his second straight ultra-efficient game and TCU’s second straight easy win.
CFN Prediction: TCU 44 … ULM 7
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TCU -29 O/U: 52
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