TCU’s attention this week may have seemed to be on their future in the Big 12 conference, but tonight the Frogs will have to turn their focus toward something a bit more current:
Beating San Diego State and pursuing a Mountain West championship
TCU (3-2, 1-0) takes on the Aztecs (4-1, 0-0) tonight at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego and though the school has an offer on the table from the Big 12, the Frogs’ focus, for now at least, will be on taking control of their current conference.
TCU Head Coach Gary Patterson knows trying to do anything else would be foolish.
That’s why, when asked of TCU’s possible departure to the Big 12 Thursday, Patterson didn’t even give a hint anything was out of the ordinary.
“Just another Thursday,” Patterson said. “We got San Diego State Saturday.”
Frogs facing an Aztec team seeking revenge
SDSU came up short against TCU a year ago, losing 40-35 in the Frogs’ home finale Nov. 13.
Aztec quarterback Ryan Lindley said the loss still hurts to this day.
“It's something where we gained some confidence in (the close loss last year),” Lindley said. “But at the same time, it was a loss that hurts you a little bit and sticks with you.”
And if SDSU wants to avenge last year’s loss, now might be the time to do so.
TCU is coming off a 40-33 home loss to SMU and has lost more games during the five weeks of this season than it had in the previous two regular seasons combined. Plus, the pass-happy Aztecs have an offense designed to attack what has been a weak TCU secondary.
Lindley, who tossed two touchdowns against the Frogs last year, has thrown for 878 yards and eight touchdowns through four games this season.
That could bode well against a TCU defense that’s hardly stopped anything through the air this year.
In the Frogs’ two losses this season, the defense has given up 763 yards passing and 10 touchdowns.
Most of those numbers could be chalked up to a lack of experience in the secondary – excluding senior Greg McCoy, TCU’s cornerbacks are all first-year starters – but Patterson said eventually, his team will have to grow up.
"We're a young football team,” Patterson said. “But after two ballgames they're not young anymore. You're either going to be mature or immature. We have to grow up and go make plays.”
SDSU full of athleticism, toughness
Patterson said SDSU’s athleticism is off the charts and something his team hasn’t seen all season.
"They are unbelievable athletically,” Patterson said. “We haven't played anyone as an overall football team that is as athletic as what San Diego State is.”
But the Aztecs aren’t just about speed and athleticism.
Toughness, instilled by first-year head coach Rocky Long, is quickly becoming a trait of SDSU, Patterson said.
“Rocky Long has brought toughness to them,” Patterson said. “You could see it last year when he was a defensive coordinator, and you can see it this year with him as a head coach."
Long, the head coach at New Mexico from 1998-2008, took over for Brady Hoke, who was named head coach at Michigan in January.
Tonight’s game will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network at 9:30 p.m. CT. Be sure to log on to TCU 360 for live coverage and an in-game chat.