For this week's "WRNL Interrogates," I had the pleasure of interviewing Jamie Plunkett from the TCU SB Nation site Frogs O' War ahead of the almost-certain beatdown (*crosses fingers and hopes a miracle happens*).
Be sure to check out the interview I did with him over on their site, and enjoy!
WRNL: Almost all things point to this game turning into another round of "beat ISU until they're dead, then beat them some more," yet the line for this game opened surprisingly low at TCU -17. Is there something I'm missing here on the TCU side of things that would keep this game to a reasonable winning margin, or should I bet my life's savings on the Frogs to cover?
Jamie: TCU has struggled on the road so far this season, winning by six over Minnesota, three over Texas Tech, and seven over Kansas State. Couple that with TCU's struggles against the run and Mike Warren, and there you have it. Granted, it's a little insane to me that we've reached a point in time where TCU being a 17-point favorite is considered low. Let's just say I'll take it.
WRNL: Minnesota has been the only team on your schedule to have any sort of success slowing down an offense led by Trevone Boykin (23-17 TCU victory)... In every other game, the Horned Frogs have put up at least 50 points. Was the lesser offensive performance against Minnesota due to the Gophers' game plan, first game jitters, a fluke, or something else?
Jamie: I'd say it was a mixture of jitters and Minnesota's experienced secondary. The Gophers finished 2014 with the 12th best passing defense in the country, and they returned everyone from that secondary. That in and of itself was enough to slow down TCU a bit, and when you add in first game jitters (which TCU RB Aaron Green admitted they had), that's a recipe for an offense that will struggle.
WRNL: Once upon a time, ISU defeated TCU in Fort Worth 37-23 in Boykin's first-ever collegiate start. He threw for one TD and three INTs that day. At what point in his career did y'all know he'd blossom into a Heisman-caliber player?
Jamie: For me it was last year's game against Oklahoma. He threw for 318 yards and ran for 77 more against what was then the No. 4 team in the country, as TCU went on to win 37-33. Other folks may tell you it was the Texas Tech game, where he threw seven touchdowns, while others may say it was his gritty performance in Morgantown that sealed it. Really, there were several opportunities for folks to jump on the hype train last season, but prior to that it was all really unexpected.
WRNL: Besides Boykin, who are the star players on both sides of the ball for the Frogs?
Jamie: Josh Doctson is the guy to watch on offense. He's already got 877 receiving yards and ten touchdowns on the season, and he has 44 more targets than any other TCU player. He's TCU's all time receiving touchdown leader, and by the end of the season he'll hold that title for receptions and yards as well.
Defensively, keep an eye on Derrick Kindred. After all the attrition on defense, he's the lone starter from the 2014 season on that side of the ball. He had a huge pick-six against Kansas State that started the comeback, and he's been flying to the ball all season. It doesn't help that the rest of the secondary is so green, but Kindred has certainly held up his end of things thus far.
WRNL: Is there anything special we can do to help TCU make the College Football Playoff this year? Obviously kneeling the ball from our 6 yard line with five minutes left in the game wasn't enough for you in 2014... Perhaps letting you hit the century mark by the end of the 3rd quarter, thus allowing you to punt the ball on 1st down of every possession in the 4th quarter would impress the committee?
Jamie: 100 points would be good, but that might not be enough. 200 points, plus a shutout?
Really though, TCU just needs to come back to Fort Worth with a win, so they can get to the bye week and mentally prepare for what will be a very tough back end of the season (West Virginia, Oklahoma State (Kansas, LOL), Oklahoma, Baylor). TCU also needs to prove that they can win easily on the road, something they haven't really done yet this year. If they can come away having covered, and made it look relatively easy, I think it will go a long way in the eyes of the committee.
WRNL: Prediction? DON'T HOLD BACK OR ANYTHING.
Jamie: Gary Patterson said that the Frogs were joking around all week last week, not taking their preparation with Kansas State very seriously. That showed in the first half, and it took a come-to-Jesus meeting and some Boykin Heisman moments to ensure the Frogs remained undefeated at the end of that game.
I doubt the Frogs are taking Iowa State lightly this week after the message that was sent to them in that visitor locker room of Bill Snyder Family Stadium. They'll come out ready to play. 56-20 TCU.