Who Holds The Advantage? TCU vs. Samford

TCU opens their 2014 season this Saturday at home against Samford.

Matchup Preview | August 30, 2013; 6:00PM, Amon G. Carter Stadium, Ft. Worth, Texas
Samford Bulldogs
(0-0, 0-0 Away)
TCU Horned Frogs
(0-0, 0-0 Home)
Offensive Stats Comparison (2013)
292.8Passing Yards (per game)226.2
122.8Rushing Yards (per game)118.6
30.1Points Per Game25.1
29Passing TD (season total)14
16Rushing TD (season total)20
56Red Zone Attempts41
82%Red Zone Percentage88%
Defensive Stats Comparison (2013)
385.9Total Yards Allowed (per game)356.4
189.5Passing Yards Allowed (per game)225.6
196.5Rushing Yards Allowed (per game)130.8
28Points Per Game25.2
29Total Sacks32
9Fumble Recoveries9
19Total Takeaways28
Samford Bulldogs
Samford DBs
Samford returns eight starters on defense including three in the secondary. The Bulldogs are led by All-American safety and Buck Buchanan nominee Jaquiski Tartt (pictured). A big safety at 6-foot-1, 218-pounds, Tartt is the leader of the defense after recording 98 tackles, 9 PBU's and 1 interception last season. Joining Tartt in the defensive backfield are corners Trey Wesley (98 tackles, 4 TFL) and James Bradberry (26 tackles, 2 INT). Josh Kimberlin (25 tackles, 3 INT) or Jamerson Blount will start at strong safety. All four starters are 6-foot and above giving the Bulldogs a big secondary. The new era of Frog offense will be unveiled this Saturday. The Frogs had an abysmal 2013 season on the offensive side of the ball but so far word from fall camp has been about the improved offense. The Frogs will use more up tempo and rarely huddle. Fourteen receivers could possibly see playing time against Samford. Only one question remains; who will get the start under center. Both Trevone Boykin and Matt Joeckel will play. Look for receiver Josh Doctson to have a breakout game against the Bulldogs after hauling in 36 receptions last season. Speedster Kolby Listenbee will also test the strong Samford secondary vertically.
Samford LBs
Two linebackers return for the Bulldogs 4-3 defense; Justin Cooper (pictured) and Bobby Wilson. Cooper recorded 81 tackles with 4.5 TFL's in 2013 while Wilson is the team's returning leader for tackles after recording 100 last season. Junior Josh Killett (6-2, 220) played in 13 games last season and totaled 47 tackles with 2 sacks. Samford must find a replacement for Justin Shade who totaled 129 tackles and 9 sacks in 2013.

Although the offense will be more up tempo with the passing game becoming more prominent, the Frogs' have a cupboard full of running back talent. B.J. Catalon has led the Frogs in rushing each of the past two seasons and backing him up are three talented players in Aaron Green and redshirt freshmen Kyle Hicks and Trevorris Johnson. If Samford doesn't stack the box, look for a steady dose of carries for all four runners.
Samford DL
Just like the secondary, Samford returns a very talented group up front along the defensive line. The Bulldogs return three starters; defensive ends Michael Pierce (pictured) and Calvin Ruffin. Pierce recorded 47 tackles and 5 TFL's last season while Ruffin totaled 4.5 TFL's. Nose guard Jerry Mathis recorded 35 tackles and is the returning leader in TFL's with 8. The Bulldogs have experience up front, but also surrendered 196 rushing yards per game.

As anxious as fans are to see TCU's new offense, all eyes will be focused on the Frogs' offensive line. A bigger line is set to take the field this season for the Frogs with Tayo Fabuluje, Jamelle Naff, Joey Hunt, Brady Foltz and Halapoulivatti Vaitai. Overall, the line averages 320-pounds up front. Fabuluje gets the nod at left tackle after sitting out last season and is one of the biggest players in the country at 6-foot-7, 350-pounds. Foltz is expected to get his first career start while Hunt is on the Rimington Trophy Watch List. Naff started two games in 2013; Oklahoma and Kansas. Vaitai can play either left or right tackle and made 7 starts last season. The main objective for this line; protect the QB and create running lanes; something that was hard to come by last season.
Samford QBs/WRs/TEs
It's a new start for quarterback Michael Eubank, the junior transfer from Arizona State. A big quarterback at 6-foot-6, 246-pounds, Eubank can create plays with his arm and legs. He'll have one of the top targets from the Southern Conference to throw to in Karel Hamilton.The 6-foot-1 sophomore had a breakout season in 2013 by hauling in 38 catches for 657 yards and 7 touchdowns. Emmanuel Obajimi gives the Bulldogs another reliable target after hauling in 228 yards worth of receptions last season. Eubank will need all the help he can get as he has to face one of the nation's top secondaries right off the bat. TCU's program strength is defense and the strength of that defense is a superb secondary. Led by All Big 12 safety Sam Carter, the Frogs return four starters to the secondary from a unit that only allowed 225 passing yards per game in the pass heavy Big 12 conference. Joining Carter at safety is fellow All Big 12 safety Chris Hackett (88 tackles, 3 INT)and rising junior Derrick Kindred. Kindred started three games in 2013, recording 48 tackles. At corner, Kevin White is primed to have a big season after only allowing one touchdown pass in 2013. White has 27 career starts and had a career-high 3 interceptions last season. Opposite of White is redshirt freshman Ranthony Texada. As one of the prized recruits from the Frogs' 2013 class, Texada is one of the fastest Frogs on the roster but has the tough task of replacing NFL First-Round pick Jason Verrett.
Samford RBs
For a team that averaged just over 122 yards per game on the ground last season, the running attack doesn't look promising with inexperienced players returning. Leading the way is senior Jeremiaha Gates, who is the Bulldogs returning lead rusher after totaling 238 yards last season. At 216 pounds, Gates is the Bulldogs inside runner and can move the pile with his strength. Sophomore Denzel Williams (pictured) will likely see most of the action against the Frogs after a promising fall camp. Williams played cornerback in 2013 and has not received one carry in a game. Heading into the 2013 season, the linebacker corp was one of the biggest question marks. A year later, the group is considered one of the stronger positions despite the lack of overall depth. Senior Paul Dawson, a one-time receiver, led the Frogs with 91 tackles in 2013, which included a career-high 17 against Kansas. Joining Dawson at linebacker are fellow seniors Jonathan Anderson (66) and Marcus Mallet (70 tackles). Although the Frogs' use just two linebackers, all three will see plenty of action; especially Anderson in passing situations. True freshman Ty Summers (6-2, 230) has had an exceptional camp according to head coach Gary Patterson.
Samford OL
With new starters at quarterback and running back, Samford's offense is in good hands up front with four starters returning. Leading the way for the Bulldogs is pre-season Southern Conference selection Gunnar Bromelow. The 6-foot-6, 276-pounder has made 18 career starts. Opposite of Bromelow at left tackle is another big body; sophomore Royus Amos who goes 6-foot-7, 320-pounds. Amos saw action in nine games as a freshman and will be making his first career start at TCU. Senior Jordan Boatwright (pictured) lines up at center for Samford but could also play guard if need be. He started 13 games at guard in 2013. Despite the loss of Devonte Fields, the Frogs return plenty of playmakers along the defensive line. Patterson has said he has four starters at defensive end with Josh Carraway, James McFarland, Mike Tuaua and Terrell Lathan all expected to get plenty of reps this reason. Lathan led the Frogs in sacks last season with 6. In the middle the Frogs return two of the best tackles in the Big 12; senior Chucky Hunter and junior Davion Pierson. Hunter has 22 career starts and collected a career-high 43 tackles and 6 TFL's in 2013 which earned him Big 12 honors. Adding depth is sophomore Tevin Lawson, freshman Chris Bradley and redshirt freshman Bryson Henderson. The Frogs surrendered just 130 yards on the ground last season which was tops in the Big 12.
Samford Special Teams
TCU Special Teams
If Samford gets in a bind and needs a kick, sophomore Warren Handrahan can handle the chore. The preseason All-American nailed 19-of-24 field goal attempts as a freshman with a long of 48 yards. He also converted 40-of-41 extra point attempts. Senior Greg Peranich (pictured) is a three-year starter at punter and has averaged 41.3 yards per punt over his career. In 2013, Peranich averaged a career-high 42.9 yards per punt. Senior receiver Robert Clark will handle kickoff and punt return duties for the Bulldogs. The Frogs return arguably the top special teams unit in the Big 12. Kicker Jaden Oberkrom and Ethan Perry are both entering their third year as starters. Oberkrom is a perfect 79-for-79 on extra point attempts in his career and has coverted 36-of-48 field goal attempts. He converted on a career-long 56-yard field goal against Kansas State in 2013. Perry has averaged 42.2 yards per punt in his two year career and had 29 punts inside the opponents 20-yard line last season, including 5 against Kansas. Handling the return duties for the Frogs will be a combination of Cameron Echols-Luper, Deante' Gray, B.J. Catalon and Kyle Hicks.

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