Let’s start with a biology lesson. The Horned Frog is neither a frog nor a toad but actually the Texas Horned Lizard. Their natural habitat is an arid to semi-arid climate, and that became obvious on Friday night. The Horned Lizards did not enjoy the two-hour lightning delay or the soaked conditions that followed. The moist Mustangs scored a touchdown on their opening drive, and the Frogs proceeded to throw the ball to receivers who struggled to complete catches. The punt unit whiffed early with bad long-snaps, and punter Adam Nunez fumbled through the back of the end zone for a safety. The Ponies added a field goal at the end of the half to cut TCU’s lead to 14-12. The second half was all purple people. KaVontae Turpin reminded everyone he can strike like lightning, reviving the wavering Frogs with a 78-yard punt return for a touchdown before the half and a 42-yard reception to pay dirt in the third-quarter. SMU failed to score during the second half. TCU’s defense clamped down, while its offense kept the chains moving. The final score was a comfortable 42-12 victory. The Frogs look forward to their spotlight match-up this Saturday with the nuts from a college in Ohio.
The History Lesson
TCU and Ohio State have played only six times ever and haven’t competed directly in 45 years. Most recently, drama between the teams centered around the first year of the college football playoff when Baylor took advantage of blind referees to beat the Frogs in the final week of the 2014 season, allowing Ohio State to sneak into the fourth playoff seed and leave the Big 12 out of the inaugural college football playoff entirely. The real hatred for Ohio State stems from comments by former president of the university – and Orville Redenbacher doppelganger – E. Gordon Gee. In 2011, TCU went undefeated and won the Rose Bowl. Gee made statements that teams such as TCU and Boise State shouldn’t be considered for the BCS championship because they played against “the little sisters of the poor.” Frog fans shouldn’t be too upset. Gee also managed to make inflammatory comments toward Catholics and the Polish. Now, he is the president of the University of West Virginia, where it’s rumored they are much closer with their little sisters than in Columbus.
ESPN’s College Gameday will be coming back to TCU’s campus for the third time in the short history of the broadcast. The Frogs have competed in games hosted by the program six times. The good news: The Frogs have won them all. But not so fast. Don’t expect host Lee Corso to don the Superfrog headgear this time. Ohio State is probably the most formidable opponent that Frog Coach Gary Patterson has faced in these circumstances, save maybe for the Rose Bowl game against the Wisconsin Badgers in 2011. The Advocare Showdown will be played at Jerry World in Arlington, which is good news considering the hydro-hijinks of last Friday. These teams have each played in AT&T Stadium twice. The Frogs are 1-1. The Buckeyes are 2-0. TCU probably won’t enjoy home field advantage despite its proximity to Arlington. Ohio State has a much less exclusive alumni and fan base who are always itching to leave the beauty of the American rust belt.
Recipe for Success
The Buckeyes have been scoring in droves this season, despite the lingering suspension of Coach Urban Meyer for being an awesome person who cares about families. The Frog defense looked soft against the SMU running attack. Expect the Buckeyes to test TCU in the trenches on 60 percent of their offensive snaps. An excellent predictor for success would be if the Buckeyes gain fewer than 150 yards on the ground. Frog quarterback Shawn Robinson must show command of the deep pass, though he hasn’t so far this season. There must be a downfield threat to force Ohio State’s safeties away from the line of scrimmage to open up running lanes. If the Horned Frog offense loses more than one turnover, this will be a difficult game to win. The Buckeyes are going to score – they average 64.5 points per game. Hope for the TCU attack to produce 42 points against Ohio State’s defense. Otherwise, it is hard to imagine a victory.