TCU Game Prep Part 1

Baylor looks to rebound after their loss to Oklahoma State at a slightly less northern destination. This weekend, they travel to Fort Worth, TX to take on long-time rival TCU.

Make no mistake about this one Bear fans, this is going to be tougher than you would normally imagine against a 4-7 team that is playing out their season. Coach Gary Patterson has already stated that they are treating this as their "bowl-game" and will come out to win. Featuring a tremendous defense that is very much worthy of previous incarnations of the Horned Frogs, TCU stumbled this year because of their offense and some unlucky injuries. The preseason co-favorite for the Big 12 championship (along with Oklahoma State), has just 2 Big 12 wins this year, and will look to get a third in the 109th meeting (TCU leads the series 51-50-7). With an extra week of rest and preparation for the Horned Frogs while the Bears played Oklahoma State, TCU should be rested and ready to go this Saturday.

MEDIA INFORMATION
Date Sat., Nov. 30 | 2:30 p.m. CT
Location SFort Worth, Texas | Amon G. Carter Stadium
TV ESPN 2
Radio ESPN Central Texas | Sirius 137 | XM 202
Online Audio Listen Online
Live Stats Gameday Central
Ticket Info Purchase Tickets
Game Notes
Baylor Notes |TCU Notes
Twitter @BUFootball

Analytical Breakdown

FEI Rank

9

55

F/+ Rank

4

56

S&P+ Rank

3

52

GE Rank

3

76

Sagarin

5

57

Massey

7

62

RealTime RPI

10

82

Average

5.86

62.86

Even with the loss to the Cowboys, the Bears slipped only a few spots in the above metrics. Really, footballoutsiders.com kept the Bears right where they were, in the top 5 of the country. This is still a top 10 team and one with a ton to play for. TCU, surprisingly, is in a very different place. They have had a disappointing season in every sense, and are ranked as pretty much an average team. They have had some tough losses this year falling to West Virginia in overtime, falling to Oklahoma by 3 points, and losing to Kansas State by 2 points with both of those games on the road.


Offense

ADVANTAGE


Defense

Play Efficiency

2

10
Rushing S&P+

10

20
Passing S&P+

1

16
Drive Efficiency

2

13
FEI

11

14
First Down Rate

1

22
Available Yards

2

15
Average

4.14

15.71

Last week, you read here that the Oklahoma State defense was the best the Bears had seen in 2013. Well, the TCU defense is better than Oklahoma State's, at least according to these measures. The Cowboys had a final average of 20.86, while TCU's is 15.71. They are significantly better against the pass, and about the same against rushing attacks. What TCU doesn't do as well is stop the opposition on third down (32.7% versus 36.7%). They get roughly the same amount of turnovers (27 versus 29) and tackles for loss (8.2 versus 7.7) but more sacks (2.64 per game versus 2.09).

The big difference is the points allowed, with OSU allowing just 18.8 points per game (11th best in the country) while TCU is at 23.8 points per game (40th best). Most of that though has been due to the other facets of the game simply not being as dominant as the Horned Frogs defense. TCU also gives up very few yards per play, just 4.7 which is good for 13th in the country. Oklahoma State is right behind them with 4.8 yards per play.


Defense

ADVANTAGE


Offense

Play Efficiency

23

95
Rushing S&P+

15

111
Passing S&P+

44

75
Drive Efficiency

9

100
FEI

22

105
First Down Rate

9

110
Available Yards

21

111
Average

20.43

101.0

As good as the TCU defense is, that is about how bad the TCU offense is. Actually, they might be worse. They are not good at running the ball averaging just 3.52 yards per rush (19th worst in the country), and they can't pass either (6.5 yards per attempt, 92nd in the country). But at least they complete a below average percentage of their short throws (58.9% completion percentage – 65th in the country). They have 26 turnovers on the year, including 14 interceptions and 12 fumbles, which completely negate their defensive turnovers on the year (+1 margin only). They also do a terrible job on third downs, converting just 31.7% of their opportunities into a new set of downs. Simply put, this is a really bad TCU offense.

Players to Watch

This team is led by their defense, so it makes sense to start with their stars on that side of the ball. First is cornerback Jason Verrett, one of the best cover corners in the country. He doesn't have eye popping stats, but that can be a great thing sometimes. Opposing offenses have simply stayed away from the senior corner and not given him a chance to make plays. That has led to a ton of chances for their second cornerback, Kevin White who is second on the team in interceptions with 3 but has had his struggles this year.

The other stellar player in the secondary for the Horned Frogs is senior strong safety Sam Carter, who leads the team in interceptions (4), sacks (4) and is 7th on the team in tackles. The Frogs will line Carter up all over the field, either in his hybrid safety/linebacker role (similar to Sam Holl for the Bears) but will also let him go deep as well and be a true safety. The best pure pass rusher on the Frogs is sophomore Terrell Lathan. He is tied for the team lead with Sam Carter with 4 sacks.

Offensively, the Frogs have struggled from the quarterback position, mainly due to injuries. Senior Casey Pachall has battled injuries all year, and is just now rounding back into form. He has started the last four games, after missing 5 games in the middle of the season and has thrown for at least 240 yards per game the past 3 weeks. Pachall has run into interceptions troubles this year, throwing for 7 picks compared to just 4 touchdown passes.

Backup quarterback, and now sometimes starting receiver, Trevone Boykin is much more of a threat with his legs. He is one of the best running quarterbacks in the Big 12, though he has taken a big step back this year in regards to his passing ability. Boykin is still the Horned Frogs second leading rusher, behind starting running back (and one time Baylor commit) B.J. Catalon who has just 476 yards and 6 touchdowns. Third leading rusher, and former starter, Waymon James is no longer on the team as he has been suspended, so Catalon and Nebraska transfer Aaron Green will take on a larger role this week.

What do the Horned Frogs want to do?

This is really a team that will rely on its defense, to not only stop the opposition from scoring, but also score or at least put the offense into a great position to score either by winning the field position battle or with turnovers. That is, if the offense doesn't give the ball right back. TCU has a tremendous secondary led by Jason Verrett and plays a fast and aggressive style of defense.

With their 4-2-5 alignment, they try and get more speed out onto the field and make teams beat their defensive line straight up in the running game. The Horned Frogs trust their corners to play man coverage and offer little help over the top. Their three safeties though play closer to the line than a traditional 4-2-5 defense, with sometimes them only having on true safety with their weak and strong safeties coming up to give them a 4 linebacker look.

Offensively, the Horned Frogs have pretty much ended up as a train wreck on that side of the ball. They lost their starting quarterback, Casey Pachall for most of the year, though he is back and getting into a better rhythm. Their backup, Trevone Boykin is used as a wide receiver and rushing threat out of the backfield. They don't have their starting running back any more due to team issues, and have no player with more than 500 yards rushing. When things are going well though, they are a run oriented team at heart, with play action passes down the field to their big and fast receivers.


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