Though Texas Christian’s start this season (2-2) wasn’t what they envisioned at the outset, and their much-touted defense has been little more than average thus far this season, the Horned Frogs are still an undeniably talented defensive team.
In four games so far this season, TCU has given up just six touchdowns. Opponents are averaging 216.5 passing yards per game and 130.5 rushing yards per game against them.
A large part of their successes are due to the dominating play of senior defensive ends Chase Ortiz and Tommy Blake, two preseason All-Americans and Chuck Bednarik Award (given to the nation’s top defensive player) watch list players.
Fortunately for the Rams, Tommy Blake was put on a two week medical leave from the team this week and will not be playing this weekend. That leaves the pressure on Ortiz and sophomore Allen Christopher to fill the void.
“For the next two games, we’re going to give Tommy a medical leave of absence. We’ve tried to push through the last three weeks and haven’t helped him,” TCU head coach Gary Patterson said. “We’re concerned with Tommy Blake. Hopefully, in a few weeks, we’ll see some improvement and revisit it again.”
With a player like Ortiz occupying an end, the Rams will still have their hands full in the blocking game.
Ortiz is a two-time first team All Mountain West player, and has started in 28 consecutive games for the Horned Frogs. Of his 14 tackles this season, two are sacks and five are for a loss – both team highs.
Ortiz came out of high school as a linebacker, and is still able to use those skills from time to time in the flat. He has two pass deflections this season and intercepted a pass last season in the team’s opener against Baylor.
A skilled pass rusher, Ortiz led the MWC in sacks his sophomore year with nine, and was second only to Blake last year in tackles for a loss with 11.5.
Hometown: League City, TX
By The Numbers:
5 – Preseason All-American award watch lists
13.5 – Career sacks
4 – Career forced turnovers, including one interception