Foes to Know: TCU

RaiderPower.com is taking a closer look at Texas Tech's 12 regular season football opponents in 2015. Senior writer Joe Yeager will spotlight two players who could pose problems for the Red Raiders. One will be on offense and the other will be from the defense. Up next in the series is TCU, led by quarterback Trevone Boykin (pictured above).

Well it certainly didn’t take TCU long to serve the college football world a crow-bedecked buffet. In 2012, when the Frogs made their debut in the Big 12, there were snickers of disdain and snorts of derision. The Big 12, said the naysayers, was no Mountain West and the Froggies from that little school in Fort Worth were in for a rude awakening.

Initially, it appeared as though the doubting Thomases might be right. The 2012 season saw TCU go a modest 4-5 in Big 12 play. 2013 was worse as the Frogs won only two conference games. But the third year was most definitely the charm as TCU knocked off every Big 12 opponent save Baylor and finished their slate as conference co-champs. They then demolished Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl for good measure.

Fillet of crow in a peach glaze--definitely not Emeril-recommended!

But for the rest of the Big 12 the reality is that as long as Gary Patterson is at TCU, the Frogs will be a threat to win the championship rather than dwell permanently in the cellar where most had them pegged. And indeed, entering the 2015 season, the Frogs are favored to repeat as conference champs.

Offensive Player to Watch
NAMEPOSCLASSHOMETOWNHTWTNOTEWORTHY
Trevone BoykinQBSRDallas, TX6-2205Led TCU to 82-27 W over Tech in 2014

After piloting the Horned Frogs to a surprise Big 12 title last season Trevone Boykin is the conference’s preseason Player of the Year and is regarded as a very strong Heisman Trophy contender. He has earned the plaudits, but whereas last year he came from out of the blue, this season every opponent will be laying for him. Boykin will have to be better in 2015 merely to equal his results from a year ago.

Boykin proved a good passer last season, but it was what he did with his wheels that made him a special quarterback. He rushed for 707 yards and eight touchdowns while averaging 4.7 yards per carry. Anytime your quarterback rushes for over 500 yards and averages more than four yards per tote while also passing effectively, you know you’ve got a real weapon.

But as a passer, Boykin was very good rather than great last season. His passing efficiency rating of 146 was No. 24 in the nation, some 35 points below Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota. His yards per pass attempt of 7.9 was No. 26 nationally trailing Mariota’s nation-leading 10.0. And Boykin’s completion percentage of 61.2 was only No. 44; Boise State’s Grant Hedrick led the nation with a 70.8 number.

We shall see if Boykin can continue his ground assault while improving his proficiency as a passer.

Defensive Player to Watch
NAMEPOSCLASSHOMETOWNHTWTNOTEWORTHY
Davion PiersonDTSROklahoma City, OK6-2305Honerable mention All-Big 12 in 2014

The Horned Frog defense contains nowhere near the firepower of their offense, but in tackle Davion Pierson, TCU has a very good building block. And defensive tackle is definitely the place to have an anchor.

Pierson earned honorable mention All Big 12 honors a year ago after logging 30 tackles, eight tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and a pass breakup. He is on the Lombardi, Bednarik and Outland award watch lists.

Given the amazing explosiveness of TCU’s offense—and the skill position players surrounding Boykin—Texas Tech will want to grind some clock against the Frog defense. That means being effective with the ground game, which in turn, means neutralizing Pierson. Jared Kaster, Alfredo Morales and Baylen Brown, Tech’s interior linemen, will play huge roles for the Red Raiders in this game.

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