Frogs’ defense faces enormous test

To quote one of the greatest movies of all time, “It could happen.”

That of course was the line uttered by J.P. in the Disney classic “Angels in the Outfield.”

But the Horned Frogs might need motivation from a bad spinoff of that movie, “Angels in the Endzone,” if they want to knock off the No. 2 University of Oklahoma Sooners on Saturday.

It has happened before though, back when I was a sophomore.

I remember walking up to the biggest stadium I had ever been to, being swallowed by a sea of red and thinking the Frogs were going to get crushed. But they didn’t.

They used their swarming defense and were able to hold the then No. 7 Sooners to just 10 points en route to an improbable upset.

And that swarming defense is back.

That is why the Horned Frogs have the No. 1 defense in the nation and are tied for No. 2 in the nation in turnover margin. But that is just half of the story.

It is one thing to cause turnovers. It is a different story to convert on those turnovers. TCU’s offense has done a good job of that so far this season.

If the top-ranked defense can continue to get the ball in the hands of Andy Dalton, he won’t make any mistakes and will keep the ball moving forward. That is how the Frogs have the highest time of possession in the nation, averaging 37:13 per game.

If the offense can just keep grinding the ball forward, even for just a handful of yards a play to keep the clock moving, there is no reason why we might not see another upset on the field Saturday.

And the argument that the Frogs are only successful because they haven’t played a tough schedule so far is ludicrous. They have played a conference game on the road, which is always tough, a Pac-10 team that beat USC last season and a rivalry game, which even Oklahoma fans should know is unpredictable. And by the way, TCU has outscored those opponents, and Stephen F. Austin, by more than 35 points a game this season.

TCU has done a good job of not playing down to its opponent’s level, which is a sign of a good team. And if TCU isn’t playing down to its opponents, there is no reason to think they will stop playing well now.

It is going to be a closer game than people think, and TCU does have a chance. So remember J.P.’s immortal words – “It could happen.”

Billy Wessels is the sports editor.