From the Stands

Beware Horned Frogs

My mom and dad liked fried frog legs, a delicacy I never developed a taste for. Mostly, I think, it was the bland taste I didn’t like. And, perhaps, the sight of frog legs sizzling in the pan and occasionally jerking like they were trying to jump out of the skillet may have influenced my dislike.

Although I didn’t particularly care to eat frog legs, I confess to having enjoyed going frog hunting with my dad. Going frogging, we called it. Frog legs were not something we could afford to buy, but hunting your own frogs was not costly. Besides, in Texas frogs were plentiful. Dad and I would go out at night to a nearby pond (tank as a pond was called in Texas) armed with a gig and a sack to carry the captured frogs. Wading around in the murky water and spotting frogs was big fun for a young boy.

But frogs gathered for supper were not horned frogs, or horny toads as most Texans called them. These land creatures were plentiful, but they were not components of one’s meat diet.

As you may know, horned frogs are ugly suckers. They don’t really have horns. They have ridge-like growths on their body that resemble horns. The ones I remember were rock-like in appearance and could easily hide in rocky terrain. They could flatten to the ground to hide or puff up to twice their normal size to scare off predators.

Why think about horned frogs? Because the OSU Cowboys are playing the TCU Horned Frogs Saturday; and, while horned frogs in the wild are really nothing to fear—they just look fearsome—the Horned Frogs of TCU are something to fear. They can do more than flatten themselves to the ground to hide or puff up to twice their size in hopes of frightening the enemy.

Playing two weeks ago on their home field, site of Saturday’s clash between OSU and TCU, the Horned Frogs knocked No. 4 ranked OU from the ranks of the undefeated. Last week, they almost claimed a victory over undefeated Baylor on the Bears’ home field.

The manner in which the Horned Frogs lost may provide additional incentive this week in their attempt to lasso the 5-1 Cowboys. The Horned Frogs held a 21-point lead with just under 12 minutes remaining in the game before the Bears rallied to scored three touchdowns and kick a game-winning field goal as time ran out to win 61-58.

I watched the game against OU and part of the game against Baylor. What I saw tells me that TCU is back to being a Big 12-quality football team and is one the Cowboys need to beware of. Yes, the Cowboys are on a five-game winning streak, but the Horned Frogs are a step up—actually more than a step up—in quality from the teams OSU has defeated. The Cowboys lone loss was to then No. 1 ranked Florida State, and TCU is more in FSU’s category than in that of OSU’s other opponents so far.

TCU is a 9-point favorite, which you would not find surprising if you have seen the Horned Frogs play. That doesn’t mean the Cowboys can’t win, but they will need to cinch that saddle on a bit tighter for this ride.

If they haven’t found a way to run the ball more effectively, a win is more problematic. The Frogs can be beaten by effective passing, but for OSU to achieve success in throwing the ball it will be necessary to provide more solid protection for the quarterback. TCU showed a definite ability to strike through the air against OU and Baylor, which is likely a concern for the Cowboys. Plus, the Horned Frogs have a quarterback who is proficient at running and who will put pressure on the defense.

This needs to be a coming-out party for the Cowboys’ offense if they are to ride away with a win.

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