The “championship” game for the Big 12 conference might have been moved up a few weeks, courtesy of the TCU upset over Oklahoma Saturday afternoon. The Baylor Bears and TCU Horned Frogs face off as the only two unbeaten Big 12 teams remaining Saturday afternoon. What are 5-things that Baylor fans should know about TCU?
1. The TCU offense has changed drastically. This is a brand new offence for the Horned Frogs, one that is much more similar to the Texas Tech offense the Bears have seen the last decade or so. TCU is ramping up the pace, averaging 82 offensive plays per game (up from 68.5 in 2013). That is a big change. They are also much more explosive, seeing their yards per play go up from 5.03 to 6.30. They are also scoring about 18 more points per game.
2. The other big change has been the improvement of quarterback Trevone Boykin. There are no huge jumps in terms of completion percentage or yards per attempt, but both are better (up 1.8% on completion and getting .5 yards more per pass attempt). However, he is taking much better care of the ball, only 2 interceptions this year compared to 10 touchdowns on 161 attempts. Last year, he had 7 touchdowns and 7 interceptions on just 15 more passing attempts. He has also been a much better running threat in this offense, averaging 5.1 yards per carry (up from 2.98 last year).
3. TCU got the biggest win of their short Big-12 tenure on Saturday against Oklahoma. The 37-33 comeback victory was keyed by a late defensive touchdown and some great play from Boykin. The Sooners trailed 14-0 early in the 1st quarter, and fought back to finally take a lead in the 3rd quarter. Turnovers and mistakes hurt the Sooners though, and TCU took full advantage of their opportunities.
4. TCU’s schedule was rather light before the OU game, with wins over Samford, Minnesota, and SMU. However, each of the three wins were blowouts. Boykin is their leading rusher so far this year, giving their spread attack a bit more of a running threat. B.J. Catalon is their leading running back with 220 yards on the season. Their leading receiver is Kolby Listenbee, who has 14 catches for 272 yards. Josh Doctson also has over 200 yards and is tied for the team touchdown lead with 3. This is an improved wide receiver unit for the Frogs.
5. The Frogs defense has been tremendous this year, allowing just 21 total in their first three games. Their run defense has been excellent, allowing under 100 yards rushing in each of their first three weeks, before surrendering 152 yards and three touchdowns against OU. All of that took 42 rushes though, and only a 3.62 yards per attempt average. The passing defense gave up some big plays to Oklahoma, but they made QB Trevor Knight try and beat them. Completing just 14 of 36 passes and throwing two interceptions could not get it done.