TCU on rebound after BYU loss

By By Cody Brunner

By Cody Brunner

The Texas Christian University Horned Frogs had everything going for them. They carried the nation’s longest winning streak at 13 games and were undefeated this season. They were ranked No. 15 in the nation and were holding opponents to a meager 7.5 points per game.

The Horned Frogs finally had BCS hope in their eyes.

Then BYU came to town, and everything took a turn for the worse.

Cougar quarterback John Beck practically gave the Mountain West Conference a blueprint to TCU’s defense, shredding the Horned Frogs for 321 passing yards and three touchdowns as the Cougars came out with a 31-17 upset in Fort Worth.

Texas Christian only trailed 10-3 at halftime before imploding, giving up three touchdowns in the second half to end its 13-game dominant stretch.

The Utes know what it feels like to have a winning streak end: The Horned Frogs killed Utah’s streak a season ago at 17 consecutive victories.

Last year in Forth Worth, TCU upended the Utes 23-20 in an overtime thriller. Freshman tailback Aaron Brown rushed 17 times for 163 yards in his first collegiate start to buoy the TCU offense and snag the victory.

The 2005 Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year will undoubtedly be a huge factor for the Horned Frogs again tomorrow, coming into the game with 243 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Brown leads a rushing attack that averages 173 yards per game.

Guiding TCU’s offense from the quarterback position this season is senior Jeff Ballard. After taking over for an injured Tye Gunn last year, Ballard led the Horned Frogs to 11 consecutive wins before falling at the hands of Brigham Young.

Ballard’s main target this season has been senior wide receiver Quentily Harmon, who comes into the game with 244 receiving yards and one touchdown. Brown has also contributed significantly to the passing game, bringing in 227 receiving yards of his own.

Herb Taylor, who was an All-Mountain West selection last season, is the team’s sole-returning starter on the offensive line. Taylor is on the watch list for the Lombardi Award (best lineman) and was voted to the 2006 Preseason All-American Team.

Defensively, TCU returns one of the best linemen in the conference with Tommy Blake. The junior has already done considerable damage to opponents thus far this season, picking up 21 tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles for the Horned Frogs.

Blake and defensive end Chase Ortiz were both named to the 2005 All-Mountain West team a year ago and will look to be the first to get the best of the U offensive line by giving the Utes their first sack of the season this week.

Jason Phillips leads the linebacking corps with 26 tackles this season after receiving All-American Freshman honors last year.

TCU’s defensive backfield is captained by safety Marvin White, who leads the team in tackles (32) and has one interception for the year.

“They’ve got a couple of safeties that will just whack you, some linebackers who can really run and two speed ends off the edge,” U head coach Kyle Whittingham said. “They’re a very fast football team. We’ve got our work cut out for us.”

2005 Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year Gary Patterson and the TCU Horned Frogs will try to pick up their first conference win of the season tomorrow when they take on the Utes and from there will move on to play Army before taking on Wyoming and UNLV.