Posted on: December 15, 2011 3:53 pm
Edited on: December 20, 2011 9:17 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
A look at the key matchup that could decide the Poinsettia Bowl
Ryan Allen/Louisiana Tech pass defense vs. Casey Pachall
Go through the logs of head coaches pre- or post-game press conference and you're bound to find at least one emphasis on winning the field position battle. It's no surprise that would be a focus in this bowl match up, which features some pretty good offenses and defenses that don't mind some help.
Allen is a huge weapon for Louisiana Tech, winning the Ray Guy Award as the country's best punter thanks to 36 punts inside the 20 during the regular season. He can also kick for distance, averaging an impressive 46.31 yards per punt. Being able to pin the TCU offense back will be a huge help for a defense that is ranked 55th in the country and has had issues with spread attacks featuring speedy skill position players.
"When you have a punter like they do, he can change the ball game," Gary Patterson said. "When you get a 60 or 70-yard punt, all of the sudden, field position changes."
Pachall has filled Andy Dalton's shoes pretty well in his first year as a starter. He's seventh in the country in passing efficiency, throwing for 24 touchdowns against just six picks. The Horned Frogs offense is among the most balanced in the country and it certainly helps to able to turn around and hand the ball off to Matthew Tucker, Ed Wesley and Waymon James. But Pachall does have some young receivers that can get down the field if he's allowed time to throw.
"They’ve got three outstanding running backs, they’ve got a big, physical offensive line, they’ve got speed at the wide receiver position, they’ve got a quarterback who has not missed a beat, who has improved steadily throughout the course of the season," Bulldogs head coach Sonny Dykes said. "It’s a great offensive football team. They can pound you, they can ‘big play’ you."
If Louisiana Tech plays sound on defense and doesn't bite on the play-action passes, they should be able to slow Pachall and the TCU offense down some. Having Allen pin them back would be big in winning the field position battle and giving the Bulldogs offense a short field. Force some turnovers and this turns into a winnable game for LaTech despite being decided underdogs to a 10-win team in TCU.
"Our guys have got some grit about them," said Dykes. "We’re going to have to play extremely well to compete against TCU. They are a
team that knows how to win."
You can read our complete Poinsettia Bowl preview here.
Posted on: November 8, 2011 12:42 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
BOISE STATE WILL WIN IF: Kellen Moore continues to be Kellen Moore. That's not to say that this game is an easy win for Boise State, because it's not. This will easily be the toughest test that the Broncos have faced since opening the season against Georgia in Atlanta. It's also incredibly important in the Mountain West standings as both of these teams are unbeaten in conference play and the winner will likely win the conference. In order for that to happen for Boise State, Kellen Moore and the offense will have to look at what Baylor and SMU did earlier this season to defeat TCU. This Horned Frogs defense has been good this season, but it's not as good as the unit we've seen the last few years, particularly in the secondary. While it isn't giving up a lot of yards through the air, the fact is that the TCU defense has allowed 18 passing touchdowns this season with only 7 interceptions. With Kellen Moore's accuracy and career ratio of 5.33 touchdowns for every interception thrown, this is something that the Broncos can and should take advantage of.
TCU WILL WIN IF: It can figure out how to stop Kellen Moore and this offense. Which not many teams have been able to do in the past four years. The key to doing this will be to get pressure in Moore's face and try to force him into making throws he either doesn't want to or shouldn't make. Of course, even if you can get some pressure on Moore, Boise's offense is still going to find ways to score, which means TCU will have to play well on offense. The Horned Frogs don't have a strong passing attack this season, but if there's good news it's that you're probably better off running against Boise anyway. The Broncos only allow 140.4 yards per game on the ground, but they also have the lowest amount of rushing attempts per game in the Mountain West. The number that TCU should pay attention to is the fact that Boise is allowing over 4 yards per carry. So a healthy dose of Waymon James, Ed Wesley and Matthew Tucker could go a long way.
X-FACTOR: Bronco Stadium. You may remember that this game was originally supposed to be played in Fort Worth, but then suddenly after TCU announced it would be leaving the Mountain West for the Big East -- which became the Big 12 -- the game was moved to Boise. A factor that can't be overlooked in this contest considering that Boise State hasn't lost a regular season game on the blue turf of Bronco Stadium in a decade.