Todd Husak's Keys to the TCU Game

Sept. 12, 2008

Each week during the season, KTRB 860 AM radio analyst and former Cardinal quarterback Todd Husak will offer insightful analysis and breakdown Stanford keys to victory against its opponent. This week, Todd takes a look at Saturday's Stanford-TCU game.

Play Turnover Free Football
Stanford is 1-1 on the season and turnovers are the biggest reason why. The Cardinal got ahead against Oregon State because they pressured the QB into a safety, had an interception for a touchdown and forced a fumble on the one yard line with 40 seconds left. They got behind at Arizona State because Tavita Pritchard threw two interceptions and Stanford couldn't keep up with the high powered offense that turned the picks into points. Winning the turnover battle should be the biggest focus going up against the Horned Frogs.

Use Play Action
Toby Gerhart is the biggest weapon Stanford has on offense and TCU is going to key on him. Stanford needs to take advantage of that and use play action and misdirection to get the passing game going.

Do Not Allow Big Plays in the Passing Game
Stanford's run defense has been solid to start the season, but they will be tested by a TCU team that averages about 250 yards per game. If the Cardinal can shut down wide receiver Jimmy Young and make the Horned Frogs earn the yards on the ground by not allowing big plays over the top, Stanford should be able to outlast them.

Disciplined Defensive Line
The defensive line will be challenged this week by a team that will run the ball all night long. They need to keep their gap assignments and not allow creases for the TCU running backs to tear through. TCU will be fresh as they have seven players with over 40 yards rushing on the season, so Stanford cannot afford to take a play off and give the talented runners a chance to break one open. Stopping them on first down would go a long way towards creating turnovers and getting the ball back for the offense.

Zagory Needs to Stay Hot
I think this game will be a close one and likely decided by a field goal. Zagory looked great against the Beavers and he needs to keep that going because three points will be important, especially late in the game. He hasn't needed to make too many under pressure and this game might give him that chance.

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