After the Frogs forced the Oregon State offense to go 3-and-out on the opening drive, TCU fans had to feel pretty good about how the game was going to end up.
But then Andy Dalton did something he did only eight times last season: threw an interception. It only took two plays for the Beaver’s offense to capitalize on the turnover as quarterback Ryan Katz paired with James Rodgers for a 30-yard touchdown.
It looked like Dalton had snapped back to his usual self after leading the Horned Frog offense on two scoring drives before the half, in large part to the emergence of a strong running game. But as soon as Dalton’s confidence had come, it left as he threw another interception on the opening drive of the second half. Again, after intercepting the ball, Oregon State drove down the field and scored, this time on Jacquizz Rodgers’ 1-yard touchdown run.
Not only did these interceptions turn into points for the Beavers, but they let the team back into the game. The first interception allowed Oregon State take an early 7-0 lead while the second let the Beavers tie it up 21-21. These interceptions came at crucial points of the game where TCU could have gone up big and put the game away, but instead Oregon State was able to stay in it and make a game out of it.
These interceptions didn’t hurt the Frogs’ chance to win, but they’re cause for concern. In later high-profile games interceptions could end up costing TCU the game.
For those of you not keeping count, that’s five interceptions Dalton has thrown in the last two games, dating back to last season’s finale in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. That’s equal to the amount of interceptions Dalton threw just a season ago in their twelve regular season games and equal to the number of interceptions he threw in his entire sophomore campaign in ’08.
This has to scare the TCU faithful. A guy who rarely throws interceptions is now throwing them left and right. Hopefully for the Horned Frogs Dalton can turn it around early enough in the season to keep it from being an issue.
On the bright side, Patterson seems to be calling Dalton’s number in pressure situations, especially on third-down. Out of the eighteen third-down plays TCU was faced with, Dalton ran it eight of those times for first downs, including one for a touchdown to take a 28-21 lead late in the third quarter.
We know TCU can run the ball with the plethora of backs on the roster, but it will be up to Dalton to regain his composure in order to bring balance back to a high-powered offense.
Judge Howell is a sophomore Broadcast Journalism major from Plano.