TCU vs. Minnesota Game Preview

Minnesota and TCU take the field tomorrow night for one of the biggest showdowns of College Football's opening weekend. GopherDigest spoke with TCU publisher Brad Hardcastle to learn more about TCU.

GopherDigest: Obviously, TCU is ranked in the top three in the country heading into this week's season opener in Minneapolis, how have they handled all the hype this off-season?

BH: I think they've handled it well. Gary Patterson has these guys on a short leash, so any talk of a national championship or making the playoffs has been silenced. A lot of the returning players have been around the program for awhile – they know what it's like to have high-expectations then fall short. I believe this team has a good perspective on preseason rankings and realize that they'll have a bullseye on their chest against everyone they play. 

GopherDigest: Are there any injuries that Minnesota fans should know about that affect the two-deeps heading into Thursday? 

BH: The main guy who will be missing is wide receiver Deanté Gray, who made some big plays for TCU last season. Fortunately, TCU's deepest position is wide receiver and has plenty of guys who can fill in for him. I'd expect the small but speedy Desmond White to fill his role on Thursday. Freshman wide receivers KaVontae Turpin, who Patterson has been raving about all Summer, Jaelan Austin and Jarrison Stewart could also see more action on the field. 

GopherDigest: What are fans down in Fort Worth saying about the game? Do they believe it'll be an easy win for the Horned Frogs?

BH: With the young defense, there's a lot of questions to be answered about how they'll fair against a quality team on the road. I do think most TCU fans expect to win this game, but I don't think a lot of people are chalking this up as an easy win. After TCU dominated the Gophers on defense last season, I'm sure there's some people out there who think this could be another blow out. But after the way Minnesota finished the year combined with the fact that a lot of guys on that defense did not return to this years team, I think the majority of Horned Frog fans are not taking this game for granted. 

GopherDigest: Obviously there's a lot of firepower on offense between Doctson and Boykin, but who else should fans keep an eye on? And I believe TCU lost a handful of starters on defense, who are some guys to watch on D?

BH: On offense, sophomore wide receiver Emanuel Porter will be a guy to keep an eye on. He's 6-foot-4, 210 pounds and has good speed. He didn't get much playing time last year but from what I've been hearing he's looedk like one of the best wide receivers in practice thus far. 

Defensively, TCU's defensive line will be fun to watch. Defensive ends Mike Tuaua and James MacFarland are both big fast guys who can rush of the end. Defensive tackle Davion Pierson seemed to be in on every play last year. It seemed that nearly every opponent TCU faced had trouble running between the tackles.  

GopherDigest: TCU heads to Minnesota to take on the Gophers on Thursday night. What are your keys to the game, and what's your prediction for the game?

BH: Keys for Minnesota: 

-Keep Trevone Boykin in the pocket. He will can burn anyone with his elusive speed.

-Don't over play Josh Doctson. When defensive backs played too far up, he would turn up field for a big gain because the safeties would be playing to far in. 

-Take shots down field. TCU's secondary is young and prone to blown coverages. The running the ball will be difficult for the Gophers. Their best chance is to pick on the new defensive backs and linebackers, not the veteran defensive line. 

Prediction: TCU 31 Minnesota 14 

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