Let’s hope a cougar can swallow a frog

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    By SCOTT BELL

    The Texas Christian Horned Frogs are the WAC’s version of the Bad News Bears.

    Only the happy ending doesn’t seem eminent.

    The Horned Frogs come to Provo Saturday to face BYU sporting an 0-6 record overall. But the Horned Frogs have only been blown out twice, losing at Vanderbilt 40-16, and at home against No. 4 North Carolina 31-10.

    Other than that, TCU has been in all its games, but hasn’t pulled any out.

    “We’ve been in every football game we’ve played in the fourth quarter with a chance to win and haven’t done it,” said TCU head coach Pat Sullivan. “We’re just lacking in confidence. It’s a young team, and we’ve just got to keep on trying.”

    In the eyes of BYU coach LaVell Edwards, TCU may appear as more of a brewing volcano than a bumbling football version of the Bad News Bears.

    “They’ve been struggling,” Edwards said. “They’re playing hard, and have a lot of young players. It’s one of those things where you’ve just got to make sure you play hard because one of these days they’re going to break through and you just hope it’s not against us.”

    The Horned Frogs are entering the toughest part of their schedule with consecutive games against BYU, New Mexico and Rice, so win number one might not come for awhile.

    TCU has been looking for anything to provide a spark. Last week it kicked an on-side kick on the opening kickoff against Tulsa and recovered it. But four plays later, Tulsa blocked TCU’s punt and returned it for a touchdown. Tulsa went on to win 33-22.

    Against BYU on Saturday, TCU will go with a new quarterback. Sophomore Derek Canine will get the nod over Jeff Dover, who started the team’s first six games. Canine played for SMU as a freshman before transferring to TCU.

    TCU’s offense is led by running backs Basil Mitchell and LaDainian Tomlinson, a true freshman. Tomlinson busted out for 180 yards last week against Tulsa, and has 384 rushing yards on the year. Mitchell has rushed for 359 yards this year.

    For BYU, the TCU game marks the beginning of what should be smooth sailing. BYU faces TCU, UTEP and Tulsa in its next three games. Between them, the three teams have combined for three wins so far this year.

    It should provide a chance for an offense that has averaged just 20.8 points per game to come together.

    “We’ve just got to click as one,” said offensive lineman Joe Wong. “Then we’ll start rolling. Everyone’s got to work on the little things.”

    Paul Shoemaker will start at quarterback again, though Edwards has made it clear that freshman Drew Miller will play as well.

    Brian McKenzie figures to continue to shoulder much of the offensive load. The senior tailback has a banged up shoulder, but it shouldn’t slow him.

    “We hope to be able to run the football,” Edwards said. “Of course, to be successful, we have to throw too. Hopefully, we’ll get more productivity out of the quarterback position in throwing the ball.”

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