December 26, 2012
Five Things: What TCU needs to do on defense
A few days ago Ryan gave us five things the Horned Frogs can do on offense to help their chances against Michigan State on Saturday night in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. Now it's time to take a look at some of the things the TCU defense can do to help ensure a Frogs victory.
Le'Veon Bell- You can't stop him. You can only hope to contain him- As you are probably aware of by now, Le'Veon Bell is a very talented running back. Bell rushed for over 100 yards in 7 of the Spartans 12 games this season. He had three games where he went over 200 yards rushing. The Frogs only allowed two 100-yard rushers this season so they are solid against the run, but they have to make sure Bell doesn't run wild or it could be a long game.
The Big Uglies up front- This goes right along with containing Le'Veon Bell, but the Frogs defensive line must control the line of scrimmage. The Spartans offensive line averages 304.6 pounds so they have good size and can move people around. The front four of the TCU defense must hold their ground and not get pushed around.
Be solid on early downs to create longer third downs- If the Frogs can slow Michigan State on first and second down, it will make for longer third downs. That isn't rocket science, but the Spartans are primarily a running team and converting 3rd and 6+ yards is difficult for a team who would prefer to keep the ball on the ground.
Do what you've done all season. Force turnovers- The TCU defense forced 21 interceptions this season which led the Big 12. The best way to help out the offense is to get the ball back and let them do their thing. Michigan State quarterback Andrew Maxwell was picked off nine time this season.
Don't forget about the pass- Most of these keys have to do with stopping the run, but the Frogs can't get so consumed with stopping Bell that they allow big plays in the passing game. Spartans QB Andrew Maxwell only averaged 6.0 yards per pass this season. Michigan State doesn't take a lot of shots deep down the field, but you still have to respect their receivers. MSU has five guys who all caught over 30 passes this season.
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