The first half was ugly but the second half was a lot of fun to watch as the Frogs went on to blow out SMU 48-17 and retain the Iron Skillet. The usual cast like Boykin, James, Catalon, Carter, and Verrett were all involved, but it was a different group that stepped up big this week, the new guys.
The offense has struggled this season and one of the groups struggling the most has been the receivers. The wide outs have dropped too many passes and have failed to get separation from their defenders. I thought Cam White and LaDarius Brown would have big seasons, but those two along with Brandon Carter have not been the explosive playmakers TCU has needed. Instead, the big plays against SMU came from the new guys Ty Slanina, Ja'Juan Story, and Josh Doctson.
Slanina had a career-high three receptions for 63 yards against SMU including an 18-yard touchdown reception. Slanina was not only good receiving, he made some good blocks on running plays as well. Ja'Juan Story, the transfer from Florida, only caught one pass, but it was a big one that he broke for a 56 yard touchdown. The Frogs also got Josh Doctson into the mix who made his first career start and had two receptions for 26 yards. The WR's even got involved in special teams as Cameron Echols-Luper had a big punt return for 51 yards which setup the Frogs with great field position.
It was good to see the newcomers make the most of their playing time. The SMU game showed their potential, but it also puts the others on notice. Yes, Brandon Carter is an immense talent and White, Brown, and Porter all have great ability, but you can't live off of what you did in the past. If the experienced players can't get the job done, then sometimes you have to look elsewhere and the young guys stepped up.
Outside of the receiving group getting a boost from the new guys, it was just nice to see the offense look like everyone was on the same page. Yes, the first half was brutal, but the second half was much better. Boykin passed with more accuracy and he spread the ball to multiple targets. TCU also got the running game going a little better which they said they would try and do, but it is still not where it needs to be.
I'm not saying everything is fixed, because it's not, but this was the type of game this team needed. You can't judge how this offense will look against Oklahoma based on the SMU game, but it's a step in the right direction. The biggest thing the TCU offense can take from this game is confidence. They know they have the players to make things happen, not they just have to execute. The Oklahoma game is going to be tough, but the defense will keep the Frogs in the game. The defense is doing their part, it's time for the offense to step up and hold up their end of the bargain.