Preview: Wyoming at TCU


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Wyoming Cowboys
@ TCU Horned Frogs

Saturday, Oct 9, 2010, 1:30 PM MDT
Amon G. Carter Stadium

TV: CBS College

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After a successful road trip to Toledo the Cowboys (2-3, 0-1) again pack their bags this time destined for Texas and a rumble with the Horned Frogs of TCU (5-0, 1-0).  With TCU carrying a top 5 ranking and an aggressive defensive this not will not be an easy affair for the Cowboys. 

With a 30-21 victory over Oregon State to start the year, TCU has since defeated their opponents by an average of 33.5 points over the last four games.  After a 27-0 victory at Colorado State in week five the Horned Frogs defense is also looking to post it's second straight shutout.  This is second trip to the state of Texas this year for Wyoming who lost to the Texas Longhorns 34-7 in week two.

Boasting an 18 game regular season winning streak TCU has their eyes set on not just a second consecutive Mountain West title but also another BCS Bowl and a spot in the National title game.  QB Andy Dalton is a senior and has started all four years of his career.  Having faced Wyoming three times he is 2-1 with seven touchdowns and two interceptions.  Dalton is a smart leader who is a threat with his arm or in the dangerous Frog running attack. 

Besides Dalton the other weapons for TCU include running backs Ed Wesley and Matthew Tucker who form a dynamic duo that helps the team average 275 yards per game rushing.  Wesley averages nearly a 100 yards himself and has also scored 6 times.  WR/KR/PR Jeremy Kerley is lightning in a bottle with moves like a joystick, if he can find himself in opening except him to wind up in the end zone. 

With the number three defense in the nation it will be a struggle for the Cowboys to move the ball.  With TCU only allowing 137 yards in the air and 100 on the ground per game the Cowboys will have to pick their poison.  Yards will not easy to come by and this lack yards also leads to just 12.4 points allowed by TCU.

So if TCU is so dominate how can the Cowboys possibly win?  Well that is a tough question but any team has a chance in any game.  Coach Christensen closed down practice this week to the media but didn't give any specific reason for the decision.  To install some new aspects to the offense or defense? Perhaps but the more likely reason is to just keep the team focused as they prepare for this challenging game ahead of them. 

Wyoming has played their best two games of the season over the last two weeks so things are finally starting to progress on both sides of the ball.  The defense has been impressive during the first three quarters of both games allowing just seven points to Air Force and shutting out Toledo.  The fourth quarter is where things have gone south and Air Force was able to pull out the victory while the Rockets fell just short of their come back.  If the Cowboy defense can put together a full effort the entire game and not run out of steam this could be a close matchup.

The offense continues to boggle the mind with a change in scheme the last three games.  After going with a pass oriented spread offense the first three games, Wyoming bunched their line together and added a fullback to create a potent running attack.  At Toledo the passing game was stressed again and the ground game struggled like it had at the start of the year.  Not sure what the Cowboys will roll out this weekend but the only thing I wouldn't expect would be the triple option.  Everything else is fair game. 

KEYS TO THE GAME

  • Stop the Horned Frog ground game.  In their last three losses over the past two years TCU was held to less than 166 yards rushing in each one.  If Wyoming can contain the running game that will force Dalton to rely on his arm where he has been picked off four times this year. 
  • Great play by the Special Forces.  Austin McCoy is doing a great job at punting season and if can pin the Horned Frogs deep it will help out the defense.  Ian Watts just needs to continue being Mr. Reliable when it comes to field goals.  The Cowboys do a great job on blocking field goals, punts and PAT's.  Any block can be a huge swing in the momentum meter.
  • Steady play by the offensive line.  They will have their hands full all game long with the aggressive blitz packages from TCU.  They'll need to give Austyn Carta-Samuels a lot more time to find an open receiver or an open running lane if they want to score any points.  A repeat of the O lines performance against Boise State would doom the offense.
  • Get ready for the second half.  In their last two games TCU has been in close games at halftime and then outscored their opponents a combined 48-14.  Wyoming has been outscored 50-0 in the fourth quarter this season.  Neither of these trends are good for the Cowboys so a correction in both is vital.

WHO WOULD WIN IN REAL LIFE?

I have to admit having a horned frog as a mascot is pretty darn cool.  But the fact is that they are actually "horned lizards" and neither frogs or toads.  Shooting blood from your eye sockets is also a pretty sweet defense mechanism that more animals should have.  The big disadvantage for the horned frog would be their size with an average length of just 2.7 inches.  A Cowboy boot would offer plenty of protection from those sharp spikes - Squish!  Interesting fact the state reptile of Wyoming is the horned lizard.

Verdict: It could be a rough day for the Cowboys while trying to win on TCU's home turf.  At least the fact a real life Cowboy would fare better helps a little bit.

The last time Wyoming played Boise State and TCU in the same year was 200,7 which also happens to be the last time the Cowboys defeated the Horned Frogs.  Let's hope this is all just a little bit of history repeating.

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