In 2008, the Horned Frogs left Salt Lake City with their heads hung low after a 13-10 loss that snapped their winning streak and a season full of promise. But after an unpredictable 47-7 blowout over the University of Utah Saturday, the 10-0 Horned Frogs remain at No. 3 in the BCS polls this week and advanced to No. 3 in the AP and USA Today polls. Now a BCS bowl game appearance is on the horizon.
Kevin Ash, chief administrative officer of the Rose Bowl game, said that TCU’s performance against Utah sent a message in the BCS.
“They’re a very good team, and they’re showing the country that right now,” Ash said. “With a win over a top-five team, they’re going to be the top non-AQ team in the country and looking for a spot, whether it’s in the championship game or the Rose Bowl game.”
Most predictions regarding BCS bowl games are showing a TCU vs. Wisconsin match-up in the Rose Bowl game in Pasadena, Calif. Historically, non-automatic qualifying conferences have had a difficult time placing teams in these bowl games because of the lack of a playoff system. But Ash said that although the Horned Frogs are non-automatic qualifiers, he thinks they still have a real chance at appearing in the national championship game this year.
“They deserve to get up there,” he said.
While TCU head football coach Gary Patterson continued to decline commenting on whether he felt his team was deserving of playing in the BCS championship game, he said he hoped people around the country were able to witness the statement they made in their performance against the Utes.
“The bottom line is, they’ve put themselves on a different plateau, but they have to finish the season,” Patterson said. “We can only control what we can control, but I thought they made a statement.”
The Frogs’ statement included 558 yards of total offense while holding the Utes to just 199.
Senior wide receiver Jimmy Young said that the loss in 2008 was definitely something on the team’s mind heading into Saturday’s game and that the team did not want to leave feeling the way it did in two years prior.
“Before the game I got on Twitter and I found a picture from 2008,” Young said. “We just had our heads down crying and I just tagged them [teammates] in it and told them that we don’t want to leave with this feeling again, and we didn’t.”
Notable TCU offensive plays included a 93-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Andy Dalton to freshman wide receiver Josh Boyce, as well as a touchdown pass from senior wide receiver Jeremy Kerley to fellow senior wide receiver Bart Johnson out of the Wild Frog formation.
On defense, senior defensive end Wayne Daniels also recorded a sack against Utah’s sophomore quarterback Jordan Wynn. Utah’s offensive line had only allowed two sacks all season prior to Saturday’s game.
Utah head football coach Kyle Whittingham said that their offensive strategy heading into the game was to control the ball and focus on the short passing game.
“We thought our best chance to win today was ball control and the short passing game because no one has had much success running the ball against them this year,” Whittingham said.
Patterson said he was focusing on next week’s game and said he never wanted to have the opportunity to play for a national championship and not have a team that deserved it. He said that if the Frogs can do what they need to do in their next two games, then they would have to wait and see how the bowl games would go.
This Saturday, the Frogs will face a 7-2 San Diego State University team that defeated a ranked Air Force Academy team several weeks ago.