It’s been thirteen months since former TCU running back Aaron Green caught Trevone Boykin’s tipped pass in the end-zone on fourth and goal to score the game winning touchdown in Lubbock, capping off the madness of a 55-52 TCU victory in which defense took a holiday. The Horned Frogs and the Texas Tech Red Raiders finally meet again this weekend, with the scene shifting to Fort Worth this time around.
Two potentially explosive offenses, two defenses that struggle in the secondary secondary, and one field. Get ready for a full-blown Texas-style shootout at Amon G. Carter Stadium when Gary Patterson and Kliff Kingsbury’s squads go head to head Saturday afternoon.
If you want defense, a matchup between Texas Tech and TCU is not the place for you. If you want mind-blogging offensive on both sides, then welcome to paradise. Each of the last two contests between the Frogs and Red Raiders has exceeded 100 total points, with 105 being scored in 2014 while 107 were put up in Lubbock last year. Oh, and we should probably mention that 82 of the 105 in 2014 were scored by the Frogs, enough to run the stadium pyrotechnics crew out of touchdown fireworks for the entire season. The two will look to light up the scoreboard for a third time around as the Frogs go for their third straight victory over the Red Raiders. TCU is 18-11 all-time against Texas Tech at home, though the Red Raiders lead the historical-series 30-25-3. Anyhow, don’t worry, there will be plenty of fireworks ready for this one, on and off the field.
What a win means for TCU
So let’s be honest; the past three games have been a disaster for TCU by recent standards. It began with a home loss to Oklahoma, marred by a squandered 21-7 first quarter lead and a 42-3 Oklahoma run. Yet TCU managed to put up 46 points in that loss against a ranked team, so that’s something positive to go off of. A week later, doomsday almost struck as the Frogs beat the lowly Kansas Jayhawks by just one point in Lawrence. Then coming off a bye, Patterson’s squad was routed by the No. 10 West Virginia Mountaineers in Morgantown. The Big 12 title is a lost cause, and morale is at a low that has likely not been seen since 2013. With the Frogs coming home for the first time in four weeks, they desperately need a win just to get that much closer to being bowl eligible. The Kenny Hill-led offense hasn’t looked phenomenal the previous two games, but we know what it can do at home, and with wide-receiver KaVontae Turpin making his return this Saturday, the Frogs could use another offensive explosion as we saw early on. Considering that Texas Tech has one of the worst defenses in the nation, what better time to do it than now? Win one game and you never know what that momentum can do for TCU as they head down to Waco to face Baylor in a week and a half.
What a win means for Texas Tech
The Red Raiders home contest last Saturday against Oklahoma was nothing short of a doozey. 125 points were put up between the two. A FBS record combined 1,708 yards were recorded. And Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes attempted an FBS record 88 passes, good enough for a whopping 734 yards and five touchdowns. And despite those heroics from Mahomes, the Red Raiders still lost. Facing a mediocre secondary for the second week in a row this Saturday, Mahomes and the Texas Tech offense will look to do exactly what they did to Oklahoma against the Frogs. If they can prevail this time around, let alone on the road, it will be sweet redemption for this team, snapping a three-game losing streak in the process. The Red Raiders are similar to the Frogs in that a select few picked them to pull off an improbable Big 12 title, but with a 3-4 record thus far, that dream is gone barring a radical turn of events. If they can get back to .500 this weekend, that puts them ahead of the Horned Frogs due to the head-to-head tiebreaker, and that would be something to cheer about.
TCU players to watch on offense and defense
KaVontae Turpin, WR – With Patterson announcing his return earlier in the week, it’s going to be all eyes on the sophomore wide receiver this Saturday. Turpin has been absent ever since exiting TCU’s week-3 win over Iowa State with a knee injury in the second half, and many predicted he would be out for the season. But forget all of that now. The Frogs have one of their top wide-receivers back and ready to roll, as Turpin led all TCU receivers with 198 receiving yards at the time of his injury. Turpin is also an incredibly valuable asset as a kick-returner, and while Patterson said it’s not certain if Turpin will be playing with special teams, look for him to have an immediate impact if he does. Patterson said Tuesday that the special teams unit has being playing with a lack of energy, and Turpin is the perfect solution for a re-charge.
Travin Howard, LB – In a game where so little things went right for the Frogs in Morgantown last weekend, Howard was the exception, as he recorded 10 solo tackles in addition to 1 combined tackle for a grand total of eleven. It was Howards second straight contest in which he recorded double-digit solo-tackles, tallying 10 against Kansas two weeks before. Having found his groove, expect the momentum from his play to carry Howard into a third straight game of individual dominance. The Frogs could use it against one of the most potent offenses in all of college football.
Quote to note: “We have to be sound. Our alignment assignments have to be on key. We have to do the things we did in the past. We’ve given Tech problems before and we can do it again. It’s starts with taking how we practice onto the field on gameday.”-TCU linebacker James McFarland on stopping Texas Tech’s offense
Reasons for Concern: Okay, it’s time for the not so happy section again. There’s more than one concern to be had for the Frogs ahead of this one, and let’s begin with team morale. Last Saturday was ugly. The Frogs’ 24-point defeat was their worst in three years. Their 10 points scored was their lowest in 36 games. Turnovers were abundant. When you’re just seven days removed from such a beating and spirits are still somewhat low, the next game can be equally as sloppy. Just look at what happened last year against Kansas a week after the Frogs lost by 20 in Stillwater. That’s just the beginning of the fears though. Patterson and company should be more scared of the fact that Texas Tech just put up 800 yards of offense against the No. 16 country last weekend. Sure, they may not have a defense, but Mahomes has looked far more comfortable passing down the field week in and week out than Hill has, quite frankly. If Mahomes and company shred the TCU secondary and the Frogs’ offense has another off day, things could get ugly real fast. Of course, if the TCU offense looks anything like it did against Oklahoma minus the second and third quarters, the home team in this one could be just fine.
Prediction: The only thing I guarantee in this one is that the offensive statistics will be so ridiculously high (at least on one side) that my computer might crash. I’d expect for there to be easily more than 1,000 yards of offense recorded between the two teams, barring something radical happening. It could be as high as 1,500, giving the Tech/OU game a run for its money. Defensive will be a struggle for the Frogs once again, but the comforting thing is that we know that the Frogs have what it takes to match Tech on offense; it’s just a matter of clicking at the right time. That said, I predict this one to be very close, and with the game being played at the Carter, I think the home crowd provides just enough extra energy to help lead TCU to a win.
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TCU 59, TTU 52