Frogs await hungry Rams

They might be 0-3, but Frogs fans might not want to judge Colorado State by its record alone. Here’s a breakdown of probable starters for Saturday’s game between TCU and Colorado State.


TCU: Andy Dalton, redshirt freshman

Colorado State: Caleb Hanie, senior

Advantage: Colorado State

It should be interesting to see if the Frogs decide to give sophomore Marcus Jackson sufficient playing time following his performance against SMU. After three solid games, Dalton showed that he might still need development. The Rams have come to expect the consistent type of play they have seen from Hanie this season. He’s averaging more than 250 yards through the air and leads an offense that is as good as any in the conference.


TCU: Aaron Brown, junior

Colorado State: Kyle Bell, junior

Advantage: Even

This is a showdown between arguably the two best running backs in the Mountain West Conference. The offense regained its identity with Brown’s return Saturday. On only 14 total touches, Brown accumulated more than 100 yards of total offense and reinvigorated a unit that was lacking big-play ability. Bell has good size and is coming in averaging a little more than 100 yards per game. Considering the TCU defense has allowed 130 rushing yards per game this season, Bell has the potential for another big game.


TCU: Marcus Brock, Ervin Dickerson, Donald Massey, Derek Moore, Shae Reagan (TE)

Colorado State: Dion Morton, Luke Roberts, Johnny Walker, Damon Morton, Chris Kawulok (TE)

Advantage: Colorado State

Dropped passes and a lack of continuity from the quarterback position hurt the receiving core Saturday. It was good to see Moore make some significant plays, but the same could not be said for the rest of the group. The Rams’ receivers have shown balance with a different 100-yard receiver for each game so far. Roberts shook off a slow start to the season by putting on a 113-yard, one-touchdown performance against Houston.


TCU: Matty Lindner, Blake Schlueter, Marshall Newhouse, Giles Montgomery, Marcus Cannon

Colorado State: Nick Allotta, Cole Pemberton, Tim Walter, Shelley Smith, Adrian Martinez

Advantage: TCU

Even with the offense’s relative lack of pop, the line has gotten better and better each game this season. The Frogs were able to get the kind of blocking up front they got last season and it showed up in the 142 rushing yards gained against the Mustangs. For Colorado State, their line has gotten progressively better, creating more running room for Bell. Allotta might give TCU’s defensive tackles a hard time on inside runs.


TCU: Chase Ortiz, Matt Panfil, Cody Moore, Kelly Griffin

Colorado State: Jesse Nading, Blake Smith, Erik Sandie, Tommie Hill

Advantage: TCU

Ortiz looked like a man who wanted his Iron Skillet back with his first two sacks of the season. With the news of Tommy Blake taking a medical absence for the next two games, Panfil, along with Jerry Hughes at defensive tackle, will have to continue the same kind of exceptional play he had against SMU. Although the Rams’ defensive line brings a lot of experience, their inability to put any type of pressure on the opposing team’s quarterback (one and a half sacks between the starters) should give Dalton and/or Jackson enough time to operate.


TCU: Jason Phillips, David Hawthorne

Colorado State: Jeff Horinek, Jake Pottorff, Curtis Cornelson

Advantage: TCU

Robert Henson responded after a sub-par performance at Air Force and returned to his playmaking ways with eight tackles and a go-ahead 58-yard interception return for a touchdown. Those kind of interception opportunities might not be there against Hanie, so expect the group to try even harder to make a big play. Pottorff and Horinek are coming off impressive performances against Houston and will bring it against TCU’s reinvigorated rush offense.


TCU: Brian Bonner, David Roach, Steven Coleman, Nick Sanders, Rafael Priest

Colorado State: Darryl Williams, Joey Rucks, Mike Pagnotta, Jake Galusha

Advantage: Even

The number breakdowns in the secondary decreased Saturday, but giving up plays of 46 yards and 31 yards serve as a reminder that more work needs to be done. Roach’s 11 tackles, though impressive, should never be that high. The same could be said of Colorado State’s secondary, which has yet to make a significant play during the season. FYI, the Rams are allowing close to 35 points per game.


TCU: Chris Manfredini, Derek Wash, Brian Bonner, Donald Massey

Colorado State: Jason Smith, Jimmie Kaylor, Damon Morton, George Hill

Advantage: TCU

There is no better way of making a name for yourself during your freshman season than by creating a special teams touchdown. That’s what Bart Johnson and Clint Jones did, and it helped re-establish any swagger the special teams unit might have lost in the previous two games. Smith has been good on all but one attempt this season with his longest make being from 47 yards out.


TCU: Gary Patterson, seventh year (56-22, 34-16 in conference)

Colorado State: Sonny Lubick, 15th year, (105-68, 71-35 in conference)

Advantage: Even

Patterson kept the team from having its first three-game losing streak in his tenure. It should be interesting to see how the team responds to this week, it being the first week not coming off a loss and/or not facing an in-state opponent. It has been a whirlwind four weeks for the team, but do not expect any kind of drop-off from a Patterson-led team. Lubick knows how to coach and his team is hungry for a win after three close losses. He knows the team could be 3-0 right now instead of 0-3. Expect the Rams to be jacked up.