As we reach the closing night of week three, we get to see some conference play start up. The Auburn Tigers and the TCU Horned Frogs stand in an intriguing position for either side. The Tigers are sitting at .500 while TCU has yet to claim victory, despite their efforts. Unfortunately, the Horned Frogs have struggled with turnovers this season and that has not helped their cause. Auburn looked strong in week one, before running into the Washington buzzsaw last week. It was a great game, they just gave up one play too many.
The Tigers have seen quarterback Griffin Jelkic improve, as he looked good a week ago. He hasn’t quite picked up his clutch gene, but he’s improving. And keep in mind, Jelkic played well despite how limited halfback Billy Carter was. Carter didn’t have a lot of room to run. Fortunately for Jelkic, receivers Bubba Davis, Cross Ferry III, and Jacob Hill made his job pretty easy last week. Jelkic wasn’t perfected, but he played better than he would have a season ago if he had been placed in that same situation.
Part of Jelkic’s assistance came from the Auburn defense. Linebacker Micah Myers helped get the defense off the field, with a high tackle total and several plays in the backfield. Compact that with the combined might of linebacker Mark Calloway and safeties Ollie P. Peters and Sky Taylor and this defense did well to at least slow down Ron Dayne Jr. Corner LaRoi Sanders also got in on a couple of plays. This defense is not to be trifled with.
The Horned Frogs are working through some growing pains it seems. Quarterback James Kovach is adapting to TCU’s scheme, but receiver Jared Tetonis is having a tough time getting on the same page as his quarterback. Halfback Koda Adok has been able to step up and has looked good. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been enough. Receivers Horace Lynch and Bill Volk have been getting worked pretty heavily by Kovach, but they’ll need more than that to get a win tonight.
Defensively, you can’t really put too much blame on this unit. Last week wasn’t pretty, but this defense has been able to play well. Defensive end Jabril Jackson knows how to step up and make plays, especially in critical moments. The other defensive end, Marlon Davis, has also been the beneficiary of Jackson’s play. Linebacker Aaron Davis and safety Stokely Ferdinand have the ability to be disruptive, but they need to do so consistently. And forcing some more turnovers would help.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Will TCU get Jared Tetonis more looks tonight? He’s going to be integral to victory for the Horned Frogs tonight. Especially considering Auburn’s defense, TCU has got their work cut out for them offensively. They’ll need Koda Adok to start gaining steam, and then run play action off his success. Kovach can air it out, and he’s had success against Auburn doing so. He just hasn’t been able to translate those games into victories.
TCU should come out of the gate swinging. It’s their best chance at catching Auburn off-guard and could totally disrupt what the Tigers want to do. We’ve rarely seen TCU take that approach, but they should tonight. Auburn’s formula has seemingly revolved around Billy Carter, but as we saw last week, they can compete even if Billy has an “off” night. I don’t expect Auburn to go soaring through the sky like War Eagles, but I imagine they’ll be as fierce as Tigers to get a close win.
AUBURN 31, TCU 27