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TCU, Okla. State Win-First Game Thoughts

Above photo:  Oklahoma State players, including Jordan Burton, left, Motekiai Maile, bottom, and Emmanuel Ogbah, right, gang tackle Central Michigan’s Martez Walker (27) during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015, in Mount Pleasant, Mich. Oklahoma State won 24-13. AL GOLDIS/AP
Thursday night Oklahoma State and Texas Christian Univ. opened their 2015 football seasons with expected wins on the road.  TCU took out the Big 10’s Gophers of Minnesota in their only non-conference game worth a damn.  The Horned Frogs held on for a 23-17 win with head coach Gary Patterson telling the media that star quarterback Trevone Boykins need to show more if the team is to be successful this year.


No. 2 TCU beat Minnesota 23-17 on opening night, behind 246 passing yards and 92 rushing yards from Trevone Boykin. (Getty Images)
“Trevone’s got to hit,” coach Patterson said. “We had three open guys for touchdowns, and he overthrew. You can’t play like that and win the big ballgames.”


Boykin did direct a pair of nine play scoring drives in the 3rd quarter, giving the Frogs a 20-10 lead.  He passed for a game high of 246 and rushed for another 96 yards at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis in front of 54,147 in attendance.  Boykin threw one interception, passed for a score and ran one in from 19 yards.


Boykin remarked after the game that “No game is going to be easy. We’re the No. 2 team in the nation, and everybody is gunning for us. We’re going to get everybody’s best shot. I think it’s up to us to swing our best punch back. I feel like we did that today. It wasn’t pretty, but at the end of the day, we’re 1-0, and that’s all that matters.” 


Further, Boykin said “It’s hard, but when you have guys on defense like we have, we have faith in those guys to get us back on the field, just like they have faith for us to score points,” Boykin said. “As far as me playing the position, I have to have a short memory. When we turn the ball over, my next thing is the next play or what we do next. I try to not let those things get to me and keep playing the game.”


Patterson also commented that,he told everyone “…… it was going to be a tough ballgame.We need to run the ball. We screwed up some opportunities in the red zone. But I think you got to give Minnesota a lot of credit.  So our two linebackers were a true freshman and a redshirt freshman the whole ballgame.  And to play the kind of offense we had to play? I didn’t care — one point is all I wanted coming out of this one. This was a hard ballgame.”


To sum up the game, TCU won ugly, but a win on the road is always good. Yes, Boykins will need to improve and the loss of those defensive starters from last year tells us that right now, this Frog team is not up to par with last years edition.  But that’s all and well as TCU will improve each week and should be where they need to be come the big conference games.  Coach Patterson will make that happen. As for a #2 national ranking the first week of September, TCU is as good a choice as any.  Minnesota was a tough group that didn’t give quarter to their highly ranked opponent.  That might say more about the Gophers than the Frogs.


Oklahoma State struggled in the first half against Central Michigan but in the end the Pokes showed that they were the up to a challenge and beat the Chips 24-13 in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan in front of 19,000 and change (31,000).  The Cowboys started slow on offense, not attempting to push the issue in the first half.  Play calling was suspect, in my opinion, and that conservatism of the offensive coaches fed into a boring and lackluster first half for OSU.  Finally, in the 3rd quarter when the Chips took the opening 2nd half kickoff and drove the field to take a 13-10 lead the Pokes woke up and followed with a quick score and never looked back. The OSU defense played a much better 2nd half and were about to get some 3 and outs on the CMU offense, something that they had problems with in the opening thirty minutes.


From the Tulsa World, the good points of the game:

* During the first half, the Cowboys averaged 2.9 yards per rush attempt. During the second half, OSU averaged 5.4 yards on 21 rush attempts. Overall, against a Central Michigan defense that last season was 21st nationally against the run, the Cowboys netted 153 rushing yards. In his first start at running back, Cowboy junior Chris Carson ran for 89 yards on 21 carries.

* It’s not uncommon for execution to be a mess on opening night, but the Cowboys on Thursday did not commit a turnover and were penalized only four times for 35 yards. For the first time in his four starts for the Cowboys, Rudolph was not intercepted.

* OSU finished the first half with only 141 total yards, but finished the game with 419. “There’s a lot to clean up,” offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich said. “We can be a lot better than what we were today, that’s for sure.”

* The Cowboy defense stuffed the Central Michigan run game (28 attempts, 78 yards) and sacked Rush four times. End Emmanual Ogbah, the 2014 Big 12 defensive lineman of the year, was credited with 1½ sacks.
OSU is a fast and deep defensive team with the interior d-line showing that against a MAC team that likes run the ball they were up to the challenge.  In my view, a good opening, not flashy, but winning football against a not-so-terrible team.  As for Mason Rudolph at quarterback, his play allowed his ability to dink the ball on short passes, his running ability, and a nice arm for the longer throws to shine through.  At 20 years old and with only 4 games under his belt, he has what it will take to be a winner in Stillwater.  A 22-32 night with over 260 yards and no intercepts is a positive.
In total for the Pokes,  a workmanlike performance that shows the Pokes are not anywhere a finished product.  But as most coaches will say, a defense that is  ahead of your offense in the early season is often times expected and in general, not a bad thing. That defines the Cowboys right now.  Central Arkansas, what you saw last night will not be the same stuff you will see next week in Stillwater. Blow-out city is on the way.


OSU Flag man running the sidelines at the OSU/CMU game Saturday, Sept. 3, 2015 (photo credit-Ryan Brant)



OSU in play with CMU (photo credit-Ryan Brant)
OSU Fans at the OSU-CMU game (photo credit-Ryan Brant)