TCU Horned Frogs at Utah Utes: Defense Will 'Wynn' This Game
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When Utah handed TCU it's first MWC loss of the 2008 season, current Utes quarterback Jordan Wynn watched the game on television.
"I’d already committed to Colorado and was having doubts about it, and that game solidified that this school is a great football program," said Wynn.
Utah defeated TCU by a score of 13-10 when Utes quarterback Brian Johnson engineered a late fourth quarter drive that culminated with a touchdown pass to complete a last second comeback. Utah went on to finish undefeated, capped off with a victory over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.
A year later, Wynn was the starting quarterback for Utah and got a chance to see TCU play, but this time he was lining up against them.
After losing to the Utes in 2008, TCU came back with a 55-28 win over Utah last season. Jordan Wynn went 16-for-32 with 219 yards passing, but TCU’s offense was too much for the Utes to handle.
The rematch, perhaps this weekend’s biggest showdown, will put TCU in great position for a BCS title game berth if Auburn, Alabama and/or Oregon lose a game before season’s end.
After Utah’s 28-23 win over Air Force, Jordan Wynn said of Utah’s upcoming game with TCU, "It’s going to be a showdown."
If those words are to ring true upon this game’s completion, Wynn and the offense will need a bit of luck to fall their way.
Regarding the BCS standings and which team should end up where, there’s enough debate and drama to fill a season’s worth of daytime soap opera scripts. Since TCU is part of the Mountain West conference, which is not a BCS conference, some people say the Horned Frogs aren’t worthy of a shot at the National Championship game because they don’t play enough "quality" teams.
If you don’t think the Horned Frogs have met all the challenges and passed all the tests they had the opportunity to take, you’re making a big mistake.
"I’ve never been so embarrassed in my life" said Baylor’s Robert Griffin after their 45-10 loss to TCU earlier this season. Baylor scored at least 30 points in all their other games.
That’s just the beginning.
In the opening week of this season, TCU’s defense held Oregon State to 255 yards of offense, the Beavers’ second lowest output in over three years. After a three game stretch where they allowed a total of three points, TCU shut down Air Force’s option attack, something many teams, including Oklahoma, had trouble doing. Utah had trouble also, as they allowed 411 yards of offense at Air Force last week.
Last season TCU went into Clemson’s "Death Valley" and their defense held C.J. Spiller and the Tigers to one offensive touchdown. Later on in the season, they went into Lavell Edwards Stadium and held Max Hall and the BYU Cougars to seven points. In their bowl game to cap off the season, they held Boise State to one offensive touchdown. All of that can be summed up in one word: Impressive.
Utah is ranked #6 in the Nation, above teams like Ohio State, Oklahoma, Stanford and Wisconsin, but they still have a lot to prove.
They escaped with an overtime win against Pittsburgh in their home opener and were out-played by Air Force last week. If not for five turnovers, a trio of failed fourth down conversions and a failed two point conversion, Utah probably would have lost the game.
Between those games were a slew of blowouts over six teams with a combined record of 13-39. Three of those teams, San Jose State, UNLV and New Mexico, are arguably the three worst teams in the West and maybe the country.
The Utes have won 21 consecutive home games, but perhaps more impressive is what TCU has done in their last 12 conference games: a 12-0 record with each win by no fewer than 27 points.
Utah is going the "blackout" route for this game, encouraging fans to wear black or camouflage. If I had to choose, I’d say black is a lot easier on the eye than looking at a stadium full of white, yellow or any other bright color. Isn’t the whole point of wearing camouflage to make it harder to be seen?
Part of Gary Patterson’s preparation includes indoor practice with loud noise to simulate what it might be like on Saturday in Utah’s stadium.
In 2008, it was Jordan Wynn looking on as Brian Johnson led the Utes to victory. Interestingly enough, this time it will be Brian Johnson looking on from the sidelines as he is now the quarterbacks coach for Utah.
The Horned Frogs already held Clemson, BYU, Baylor and Boise State to one offensive touchdown over the last two seasons, and three of those games were on the road. They have out-gained every opponent this season, and Andy Dalton has passed for nearly 1900 yards and 16 touchdowns.
The Utah Utes are the only team that stand in the way of TCU’s chance at the National title, so expect the Frogs to bring everything they’ve got. With Auburn still having to play LSU and Alabama, and Oregon getting in-state rival Oregon State, that chance is very realistic.
Frankly, I would love to see what TCU’s defense can do against a team like Oregon on January 10th.
For now, unless Utah's offense can figure out a way to score points in this Saturday, Jordan Wynn will be watching that game on television also.
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