You may have wondered at times what a Jayhawk was but never cared enough to ask Alexa. It’s not a bird but a term used for abolitionist Kansans in the post-Civil War period. The guerilla fighters – though steadfast in their beliefs – were ultimately outmatched by those around them. Not unlike the Jayhawk football team. On Saturday, TCU trampled Kansas, the longstanding lowest of Big 12 pigskin posses. Fans disenchanted with the ban on in-and-outs at the Amon G. Carter Stadium parking lot dashed with impunity at halftime without fear of missing second-half dramatics as the Frogs led 38-0 at the break.
Fight for Your Livelihood
It should be no surprise to Frog fanatics that offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie seemed to be willing his team to start fast and keep their feet on the proverbial gas pedal. TCU hadn’t scored a touchdown until their third offensive possession yet this season. His players fixed that problem Saturday morning with an immediate five-play 59-yard drive of mostly feeding standout running back Darius Anderson (No. 6). The Jet is averaging just south of 100 yards per game despite touching the ball only six times in the opener against UAPB. Cumbie’s unit scored on every possession of the first half –– five consecutive touchdowns followed by a field goal. Cumbie is steadily asking less of his quarterback rotation that welcomed back Mike Collins (No. 10) during the game’s last possession, as he completed his lone pass attempt before scampering for a walk-off touchdown as time expired. Gary Patterson’s defense suddenly remembered how to cover receivers after their Pony pounding and refused Kansas any scoreboard real estate until the backups took over in the final quarter.
Cumbie and Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore have something in common. Yes, boyish good looks. They’re also both coaching for their jobs right now. Last season, TCU – despite a litany of injuries – was an offensive embarrassment. Their attack relies on having “Tha Guy.” If you don’t, you don’t have much. The defense and an impressive stable of running backs are doggy-paddling the Froggies through the murky waters of early conference play. If this ship can’t add a large outboard motor, it’ll sink amid shark-infested crimson-and-burnt-orange waves. Frog formations are traditional spread – one back and four receivers – and don’t utilize multiple backs or tight ends as blockers often. Without a legitimate downfield passing threat, crafty D coordinators will literally cut the purple rushing game at the knees. Cumbie called more than twice as many runs as passes on Saturday, and it worked wonderfully. Against Kansas! The quarterback race that seemed decided is back at the starting line. Collins seems healthy again. Alex Delton (No. 16) appeared for six offensive series and completed two-thirds of his passes, including a gorgeous deep-fly route to Derius Davis (No. 12). Freshman Max Duggan (No. 15) drove the bus and delivered his teammates safe and sound while completing eight of 11 passes for 100 yards and two TDs. Jalen Reagor (No. 1) expressed his desire in the off season to compete for the Biletnikoff – awarded to college football’s best WR – and is not even in the conversation. Reagor has caught 11 balls this season and has nearly twice as many punt-return yards as receiving yards, hundreds behind where he should be. Reagor is slipping through Cumbie’s fingers. Without a confident quarterback, his job could follow suit.
Kansas proved a conveniently situated conference tune-up game. The Jayhawks aren’t very good but have perturbed Patterson’s players mightily over the years, although winning only once despite striking dangerously close several times. Next week, Iowa State will prove a more legitimate test for Cumbie and his future. The Cyclone defense is stingy at minimum and in a terrible humor after playing Baylor last week. They lost and spent the weekend in Waco. Enough to put anyone in a pissy mood. ISU head coach Matt Campbell’s squad was pre-season ranked before being banished by an early loss to rival Iowa. The defense hasn’t allowed more than 29 points to any opponent, and their 2-2 record is deceiving as both losses were suffered by three combined points. The Frogs and Cyclones square off in Ames at 11 in the morning. Beer and bold coffee are in order to stay alert for a back-and-forth of field position and stifling defense. Three to four explosive plays should decide the winner. TCU will use Anderson and company to wear down the cardinal-and-gold defense. I can’t say with confidence who will play quarterback for the majority, or if we’ll continue this passer a trois situation. Cumbie should ask even less of the QBs if he can manage. ISU’s secondary is the second best squad that purple signal callers will face this season. The more passes thrown, the less likely the good guys win.