Purple, points to greet WVU in Fort Worth
FORT WORTH – Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas, is the refurbished and reconstructed home of the Horned Frogs of Texas Christian University, and where quarterbacks Davey O’Brien and Slingin’ Sammy Baugh threw the football around in the old Southwest Conference.
The place still holds only about 47,000 purple-clad Horned Frog faithful. And it has a grass playing surface. The seats go up and on up on the home side, but the end zones have only a few thousand pews on each end.
Upon entering the stadium, one gets the impression that the throw-caution-to-the-wind Baugh will be coming out of the peanut-sized dressing room to help the Horned Frogs make it to the coveted Cotton Bowl.
Nostalgia isn’t the prevailing color. Purple is. But nostalgia and pieces of the stadium from the 1920s make it difficult to forget the wild-scoring games that took place there in the 1930s and afterward.
Texas Christian has never had the money nor the publicity to be considered in the same breath with the University of Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State in state of Texas football circles or the area’s historic conferences.
Even SMU and the Baylor Bears have curried more favor and more headlines in Texas.
But the Frogs haven’t fired a coach in several years like those wearing the burnt orange did last year. And there hasn’t been a dust-laden scandal like is still being digested at Baylor. Nothing like the potential death sentence at SMU in the 1980s has dissolved the public trust.
Texas Christian has been scoring points with rocket-like explosions, the same as Oklahoma State, Baylor and Oklahoma.
So far this season, the Frogs are 4-0 and have staggered Arkansas, SMU and Oklahoma State as well as pint-sized Jackson State.
Like West Virginia, the Frogs didn’t play last week, getting a week-long reprieve from the scoring blasts seen in the current Big 12.
Nobody expects the Mountaineers to punish TCU with defense. Halfback Darius Anderson, only a sophomore, ran for 160 yards with 26 carries in the 44-31 win over Oklahoma State back on Sept. 23. That was the Saturday when the Mountaineers were in Lawrence, Kansas trimming the Jayhawks in another conference game.
Frog quarterback Kenny Hill threw for 228 yards and a touchdown while going 22-for-33 with his throws.
Injuries have bitten West Virginia. Especially on defense. The Mountaineer secondary has been made to jury-rig its lineup, and the health of several important players is still questionable for this week’s conference game.
In the Dana Holgorsen era, there have been games without a defensive conscience against the Frogs.
Playing at home is quite an advantage for TCU. Nearly everybody in the place will be wearing purple and Coach Patterson will be dressed in his purple visor, purple shirt and spouting his purple prose to anyone who will listen.
West Virginia comes in at 3-1 with the one-touchdown loss to Virginia Tech being the lone game to take much notice of so far.
How many points will the Mountaineers need just to win by one? It’ll probably be a pretty strong number.
A grass surface. A particularly partisan crowd. A cocksure, throwing quarterback. A runner who can average five yards per carry. It’s not an old Fort Worth stockyards rumble, but it’s the sort of game where the unexpected should be expected. That means points will be squeezed onto the scoreboard from beginning to end, and may the survivor be the most resilient team of the two.