Stats that matter: Texas-TCU

October, 23, 2013
10/23/13
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Each week, we team up with the ESPN Stats and Info crew to dig into the numbers that matter most and find three statistics which could make a big difference on Saturday. Here are the numbers to remember going into Texas’ trip to Fort Worth, Texas, to take on TCU.

No. 1: 34

Texas quarterback Case McCoy’s recent reputation for not making many mistakes will be put to the test Saturday. Since the beginning of the 2012 season, TCU’s defense ranks No. 2 in FBS in interceptions with 34. The Horned Frogs have picked off passes in 16 of their last 20 games and 11 of their first 13 conference games as a member of the Big 12.

[+] EnlargeJohnathan Gray
Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY SportsJohnathan Gray is the Big 12's second-leading rusher but must deal with TCU's league-leading rush defense.
TCU has multiple interceptions in eight of those 16 games, and in that span, no FBS team has more games with three-plus interceptions than TCU’s six. McCoy and David Ash combined for three against TCU last season.

But this is also worth noting: Since the start of 2012, the Frogs are 0-4 when their defense doesn’t record an interception.

No. 2: 6.3

This TCU team does not get off to fast starts, that’s for sure. The Frogs are averaging 6.3 points per game in the first half this season and have scored in the first quarter in just three of seven games.

This is the fourth-worst team in the country when it comes to scoring in the first quarter (2.4 points/game). Only five offenses have been worse in 2013 at scoring in the first half, and their combined record is 1-34.

On the bright side, TCU’s defense has been relatively solid during these dry spells. On average, opponents are scoring 12.9 points in the first half. So it’s not as if TCU finds itself in too many blowouts, and it has yet to lose a game by more than two scores. Still, that defense needs a lot more help early in games for the Frogs to reach bowl eligibility.

No. 3: One

Running the ball against TCU’s defense will not be easy. Only one back has surpassed 100 yards against the Horned Frogs this season: Oklahoma’s Brennan Clay. And he did so only because he managed to break a 76-yard touchdown run.

Opposing running backs are averaging just 53.7 rushing yards per game against TCU this season, and the Frogs’ defense has permitted only two rushes of 20-plus yards.

Going up against that kind of a defense will be a valuable test for Johnathan Gray and Malcolm Brown following their 100-yard performances against Oklahoma. If the stingy run D gets the upper hand early, Texas’ offense could get off-schedule and find itself in a tricky spot. The Longhorns line will need to rise to the occasion again.

Three more to remember

117.6: Gray is averaging 117.6 yards per game in Big 12 play, second-best in the conference behind Kansas State quarterback Daniel Sams (121.6).

5-10: TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin’s touchdown-to-interception ratio in his last eight Big 12 starts.

17: Entering this weekend, Texas has won 17 of its last 18 games at TCU’s Amon G. Carter Stadium but hasn't played there since 1994.

Max Olson | email

Texas/Big 12 reporter

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