TCU guards against overconfidence after opening blowout

About the only negative fallout from TCU's ultra-positive season opener Saturday could be how easy it seemed to go for the Horned Frogs.

Their 56-0 win over Grambling State, in which starters began to take turns with reserves midway through the second quarter and 13 true freshmen played, was so dominating that the only potential harm could be the team having an inflated sense of its talent.

Specifically, the first-time starters who had such impressive debuts could be riding a little too high. Coupled with Kansas' 25-24 loss to Rice on a last-second field goal, there's potential that some of the younger players may think the rest of the season is going to resemble 56-0.

"When they get done with this [Sunday] meeting I promise you that will not happen," TCU coach Gary Patterson said.

The Frogs, who moved up to No. 16 from No. 20 in Sunday's Associated Press poll, will be reminded that Oklahoma State's 84-0 win over Football Championship Subdivision Savannah State in Week 1 didn't mean much after the Cowboys lost at Arizona 59-38 on Saturday.

"They beat an FCS team," Patterson said of his Frogs. "Simple as that. We have a saying around here: What you see on film is what you coach. Well, there's a whole bunch of stuff we saw on film that's not what we coach."

Patterson said the offense could tighten its organization, the defense lined up incorrectly a few times and he'd prefer more touchbacks instead of four times out of nine from his kickers.

'Awesome' students

After setting TCU's record for coaching wins, Gary Patterson accepted his crystal gift near the east side student section as a way of thanking them for not only overflowing the section, but staying for the entire game. More than half of TCU's enrollment of 9,500 packed the area and beyond.

"That was big for our kids," Patterson said of the support. "That's why we made that a student section, so they could make a difference in the ballgame, and I felt like last night they did that. It was pure awesome."

Fields' day

Expectations were high for Arlington Martin ex Devonte Fields before his first snap Saturday, but the true freshman right defensive end took a step toward exceeding them with a sack and three tackles for losses.

Gary Patterson was pleased but pointed out that left end Stansly Maponga's presence helped Fields shine on a few plays.

"You never know what to expect from young freshmen," Patterson said. "But he should have [stood out] because they doubled Stansly most of the night in their pass protection. When they do something like that, then you need your other guy to show up. They helped chip on Stansly with the running back all night and the one time they didn't he got a sack."

Nice dilemma

Deanté Gray's record-breaking night returning punts gives TCU an option they weren't necessarily counting on before the season.

Brandon Carter wasn't used on returns to help protect a banged-up knee, and Skye Dawson missed the game because of a team suspension. Both could replace Gray at Kansas, but after Gray's 160-yard, one-touchdown performance, it's not so clear cut.

Stock report

Rising: Deanté Gray was already a favorite among coaches as an all-around athlete and cornerback during August camp. But his star turn on punt returns gives TCU more options and a peek at the future.

Falling: It's hard to nitpick an aspect of TCU's first game, but if forced, the lone area seemed to be fumbles. The Frogs fumbled twice (losing one) and nearly muffed an extra-point before holder Cale Patterson recovered for kicker Jaden Oberkrom.

Key stat

11Grambling State punts forced by the TCU defense, the most by a Horned Frogs team since UNLV punted 11 times in 2009.

Stefan Stevenson


Twitter: @FollowtheFrogs

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