Seeing TCU beat BYU gives Ute fan perspective

By By Matt Sanchez

By Matt Sanchez

I traveled to Provo on Saturday for the much-anticipated bout between TCU and BYU.

The drive down south was highly uneventful. Well, I did pass by the Tahitian Noni building (still have no idea what goes on there). I got to reminisce childhood memories at Trafalga, and seeing a Utah flag in the heart of the city brought a smile to my face.

My brother, Jeff, is the biggest Cougar fan in the world, and I have him to thank for the extra ticket. I was there as an unbiased fan of the Mountain West Conference. All I wanted to see was a good game.

When I first got to LaVell Edwards Stadium, I couldn’t help but see the many fans still wearing their “Quest for Perfection” T-shirts. All I could do was shake my head and wonder why. Either they don’t own any other BYU gear (doubtful), or they are ignorant of the meaning of the shirt (likely). Or they are on an individual quest to perfect themselves (probable).

As far as the game is concerned, TCU dominated and capitalized on every opportunity it was given en route to a 38-7 victory.

The Horned Frogs were up 14-0 before most of the fans had found their seats. TCU out-coached, out-classed and out-played the Cougars in every way. The lone bright spot for BYU was a touchdown late in the first half.

With the Cougars trailing 24-7 midway through the third quarter, they decided to punt on a fourth-and-short and caused the fans to boo whole-heartedly.

“That was the first time I ever booed BYU,” Jeff said. Cougar fans were livid, and I even heard one of them use the word “stupid.”

As we exited the stadium before the fourth quarter began, a few things happened. One, I started dissecting the Horned Frogs in terms of how the Utes could beat them. And two, Jeff gave me the quote of the night.

He looked so beaten and downtrodden, and as he went to take a bite of his enormous 18-inch donut he said, “This is my getting drunk.”

TCU is good8212;really good. Quarterback Andy Dalton had three touchdowns in the game, managed the offense perfectly and made plays when he had to.

The Horned Frogs also have a pair of quality running backs that would rather run over people than around them. Joseph Turner scored the first touchdown of the game and carried three or four Cougars into the end zone with him.

Jeremy Kerley is dangerous. He’s a speedy wideout who reminds me a lot of David Reed, but faster. TCU mixes up his plays in just the right way by putting him in end-arounds and lining him up in the wildcat formation. Kerley even avoided a safety by throwing a 44-yard strike on a broken play.

Head coach Gary Patterson kept BYU guessing what Kerley would do, and I think he likes it that way.

When TCU has its offense clicking, you know you’re in trouble because its defense is so dominant. The Horned Frogs made the Cougs look like a JV team with their speed and playmaking abilities. The TCU pass-rush, led by Jerry Hughes, was so good, the players rarely blitzed and still sacked Max Hall four times.

Nov. 14 will be a showdown when the Utes travel to Ft. Worth, Texas. The winner will likely be the conference champ.

For Utah to come out of that game with a victory, it cannot play like BYU did, or like it did against Air Force for that matter. The Utes must take care of the ball and establish the running game early on. They must know where Kerley is on the field at all times and not let Dalton stand in the pocket all day.

TCU is not unbeatable, and U head coach Kyle Whittingham always has his teams up for the big game. I can’t wait.

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