Freddy Krueger has terrorized audiences since the ’80s. On Saturday night, Frogs’ linebacker Robert Henson starred in Wyoming’s nightmare at Amon G. Carter Stadium.
The senior from Longview knocked Wyoming quarterback Karsten Sween out of the game in the third quarter of TCU’s 54-7 win over the Cowboys. Henson was flagged for an illegal blow to the head when Sween slid as Henson prepared to make the tackle, causing Henson’s shoulder and forearm to hit the quarterback above the neck. When the Cowboys put backup Dax Crum into the game, Henson forced a fumble with a bone-jarring hit on the sophomore.
Henson said he didn’t mean to hurt Sween, who suffered a concussion in the collision.
“I’ve always played all-out and people are trying to say that the hit was dirty,” Henson said. “But he (Sween) had a chance to slide five or six yards before he saw me.”
Wyoming head coach Joe Glenn said after the game that he thought the hit was “way cheap.”
With the Cowboys behind them, TCU, now No. 13 in the BCS rankings, will face the UNLV Rebels on the road. UNLV, 0-4 in conference play, narrowly lost to BYU in Provo, Utah, last week. The Cougars needed an interception in their endzone on the final play to seal a 42-35 victory.
TCU head coach Gary Patterson said his team is focused on beating the Rebels on Saturday, despite having a date five days later with the undefeated Utah Utes in Salt Lake City.
“The Utah game won’t mean anything if we don’t win this one,” he said. “I don’t consider UNLV an 0-4 football team.”
The Rebels average 27.9 points-per-game, led by sophomore quarterback Omar Clayton. Clayton has thrown for 1,849 yards and 17 touchdowns. He has a 60 percent completion rate, having been intercepted three times.
“He’s probably a faster Marcus Jackson,” Patterson said.
The Frogs’ defense will also be tested by senior running back Frank Summers, who has rushed for 615 yards and seven touchdowns on 138 carries.
“He’s a big body and he can fall forward for three or four yards on every play,” Henson said. “We have to attack this game the same way we have all of the others.”
TCU heads into the upcoming game with the best rushing defense in the nation, allowing 31.22 per game. But Wyoming running back Devin Moore got loose against the Frogs last week, rushing for 114 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries.
Henson said the defense was upset with its play at halftime and he credited seniors Jason Phillips, Matt Panfil and others for keeping the younger players focused in the second half.
The defense reared its nasty head after the break, shutting out the Cowboys 30-0 and forcing two turnovers.
However, the Rebels will be a much stiffer test for a team that prides itself in a suffocating defense.
In addition to Clayton and Summers, Rebels’ junior receiver Ryan Wolfe will attract the attention of Frogs’ defensive backs. Against BYU, Wolfe hauled in 10 catches for 136 yards and a touchdown. On the season, he has caught 59 balls for 712 yards and four touchdowns.
The Rebels will have to keep scoring a lot to beat TCU on Saturday, as the Horned Frogs have found a rhythm on offense within the last two weeks. Sophomore wide-out Jimmy Young has caught four touchdowns in the last two games, including three against Wyoming.
TCU leads the nation in time of possession, averaging more than 35 minutes on offense.
“I judge offensive success by operation while the media and fans judge it by points,” Patterson said. “It’s important not only score, but to drive the ball as well.”