Monday, October 21, 2013
First glance: TCU Horned Frogs
By Max Olson
A look ahead at the next opponent of Texas’ month on the road, TCU. The Longhorns and Horned Frogs meet Saturday at 6:30 p.m. CT in Fort Worth.
All-time record vs. Texas: 21-61-1
Last game: Another poor showing from TCU’s offense, plus some game-swinging special teams, proved costly in a 24-10 loss to Oklahoma State in Stillwater. Trevone Boykin threw three interceptions and was briefly benched, and the Horned Frogs didn’t get on the scoreboard until late in the third quarter. They enter this weekend with a 3-4 record and are 1-3 in the Big 12.
Last meeting with Texas: In its biggest win of its Big 12 debut season, TCU defeated No. 16 Texas 20-13 in Austin on Thanksgiving. The Frogs’ defense forced four turnovers, three coming from an injured David Ash, and Case McCoy’s last-ditch effort at a fourth-quarter rally ended in an interception. The loss killed a four-game win streak for Texas and its slim hopes of sneaking into a BCS bowl.
Key player: TCU’s best player, by far, is cornerback Jason Verrett. He leads the Big 12 in passes defended and did pick off a pass against the Longhorns last season. But considering the run-heavy offense Texas operated against Oklahoma the key guys might be TCU’s linebackers, a somewhat inexperienced group. Paul Dawson has stepped up recording a combined 24 tackles in his first two starts.
Why TCU might win: The Horned Frogs have followed every win with a loss and every loss with a win this season. It’s just been that kind of a year. Despite their struggles, they still have the No. 1 run defense in the Big 12 and force more turnovers than anyone in the conference, and Boykin’s rushing talents proved problematic for Texas in 2012. TCU’s losses have all come against ranked foes, and only one of those came by more than 10 points. Don’t be surprised if this is a close game.
Why TCU might lose: By the standards of the Big 12, this is a below-average offense in nearly every way. TCU plays close games and tends to make second-half pushes, but the fact is Boykin has struggled and the offense is averaging less than 7 points per game in the first half this season. If Texas can produce the kind of fire it showed in the Cotton Bowl and get some momentum, you’d have to like its chances of starting 4-0 in the conference.