Huddle up! Here’s a look back at this weekend on the gridiron, with three key takeaways from the state’s football scene -- and a glimpse at what’s to come next week.
TCU gets playoff bid, will be heavy underdog to Michigan
Despite an overtime loss to Kansas State in the Big 12 title game, TCU stayed put at No. 3 in the final College Football Playoff rankings, and thus are still in the hunt for a national title as one of the last four teams standing.
Not many will be expecting the Horned Frogs to still be playing after the semifinal round, given they are a decided underdog already to No. 2-ranked and unbeaten Michigan.
The Wolverines have elite line play on both sides of the ball and have ridden a dominant rushing attack to a 13-0 record.
If TCU is going to compete and pull the upset, here are ways the Horned Frogs can do so.
- The secondary will have to dominate, create turnovers. Cornerbacks Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson and Josh Newton and safeties Mark Perry and Abe Camara might comprise the best secondary Michigan has played all year. While the Wolverines rely on its powerful rushing attack and dominant offensive line, quarterback J.J. McCarthy can make plays in the passing game with both his arm and legs when opponents key so much on stopping the run. Michigan doesn’t have a great set of wideouts and McCarthy is still somewhat raw, so if the Horned Frogs can use their speed to get turnovers and make the Wolverines more one-dimensional by taking away any passing threats from play-action, that will help their cause.
- The offensive line will have to play the game of its life. TCU has wideouts that can have success against Michigan’s secondary, and the rushing attack behind Max Duggan and Kendra Miller has been prolific all year. But Michigan’s defensive front is among the best TCU’s has played, and those skill players will have a miserable time if there’s no time to throw or lanes to run in.
- Excel in the red zone. In its last two games, Michigan has given up yards to Ohio State and Purdue. But the Wolverines buckled down in the red zone in each of those games, forcing the Buckeyes and Boilermakers to kick field goals. TCU will have to find a way to score touchdowns.
Texas to remember the Alamo (Bowl) yet again
For the third time in four years, the Texas Longhorns won’t have far to travel for its bowl game. The Longhorns will once again play in San Antonio at the Alamo Bowl, this time against the Washington Huskies.
Ironically, the last time Washington appeared in the Alamo Bowl in 2011, it was coached by current Texas head Steve Sarkisian.
If the Longhorns are to win, they’ll have to slow down Washington left-handed quarterback Michael Penix, Jr., who could be a Heisman Trophy candidate next season after he announced Sunday night he was returning in 2023.
Angelo State’s dream season ends in quarterfinals
Angelo State hoped to advance at least a step further in this year’s Division II playoffs after making the quarterfinals last year, but it wasn’t meant to be.
The Rams ended their best-ever season in disappointing fashion, losing at home to Colorado School of Mines in a quarterfinal on Saturday, 42-34.
Angelo State set a program record for most wins in a season in finishing 12-1.