About Last Saturday: 6 Takeaways from TCU-Iowa State

Sad day.

Photo from GoFrogs.com

Well, TCU lost Saturday. Penalties and turnovers in the red zone proved costly as TCU fell to Iowa State 14-7 in Ames. Gone is the undefeated season, and hopes of reaching the College Football Playoff, though still alive, have been cut slim.

Naturally, after a game like this, there are quite a few things we need to talk about. Here are six takeaways from the game.

1. Run. The. Ball.

Okay, so “run the ball” is every football fan’s favorite thing to say. But with TCU, it’s especially relevant. And while the Frogs had more rushing attempts (34) to passing attempts (25) against the Cyclones, there were a couple moments (like, in the red zone, for example) when throwing the ball wasn’t the best idea. More on that later.

This year, the Frogs have excellent — and consistent — running backs in Kyle Hicks and Darius Anderson. You could see it against Iowa State; they ran with a passion that was visible. And they got some good gains (only to be negated by a penalty, or for an incomplete pass to be thrown on the following play).

Quarterback Kenny Hill too, who has talent on his own two feet, has a solid offensive line that gives him space to run. Perhaps more yards could have been gained if Hill kept the ball rather than throwing it.

The Frogs would do well to get back to the offensive strategy they established at the beginning of the season — relying on the run, controlling the clock and keeping opposing defenses on the field for as long as possible.

2. Penalties are costly.

No matter how spectacular the run or how great the throw, penalties are going to ruin it all. For the Frogs, 11 penalties cost them 104 yards, which couldn’t help but remind fans of the struggles of the 2016 season.

3. Be careful in the red zone.

This is where it hurts. In two instances the Frogs made it to the red zone only to throw an interception or fumble the ball. Had it not been for those mistakes, the Frogs could have won 21-14.

4. But it wasn’t all bad.

Despite the loss, TCU has some performances to be proud of — especially on defense. Linebacker Ty Summers led the team with 11 tackles and a beautiful pass breakup to force fourth down in the first quarter. Safety Innis Gaines had two tackles for loss, a pass breakup and a sack. And there were more. But the offense couldn’t find a way to score beyond KaVontae Turpin’s kickoff return touchdown in the third quarter.

5. Iowa State is good.

After years of hanging around the bottom of the Big 12, it’s about time Iowa State arrived. The team’s strengths are hands down its receiving crew and quarterback with a big arm. It’s good that Iowa State is, well, good. It only makes the Big 12 better.

6. The playoff hopes are slim, but there’s another hope that’s still very much alive.

That’s the Big 12 Championship. Despite the mistakes committed last Saturday, the Frogs are by no means untalented. They still have their defense, their linemen, their running backs and their running quarterback that can carry them through. If TCU can win the rest of its season, it could still have a chance at the big game at AT&T Stadium in December and maybe, just maybe, the College Football Playoff. 

But past is past. And the future can take care of itself. Right now, as head coach Gary Patterson likes to say, it’s all about being 1-0 all over again. Up next? Texas.