Who: Texas Tech (3-0, 0-0) vs. No. 3 TCU (3-0, 0-0)
Where: Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, Texas
When: Saturday, Sept. 26, 3:45 (CT)
2014 Records: Texas Tech (4-8, 2-7), TCU (12-1, 8-1)
Coaches: Texas Tech (Kliff Kingsbury 15-13), TCU (Gary Patterson 135-45)
Series History: Texas Tech leads 30-24-3 (most recent, TCU 82 Texas Tech 27, Oct. 25, 2014)
When TCU Has the Ball
Given TCU’s offensive explosion last season, it is not a tremendous shock to see that the Frogs are now No. 4 nationally in total offense, averaging 599 yards per game. And with an offense that prolific, it only stands to reason that TCU is strong in both the passing and rushing sides of the offense. This also holds true, as the Horned Frogs are No. 7 nationally in passing offense, and No. 27 in rushing offense. So TCU is balanced, which will make the job of Texas Tech’s defense double tough.
If there is any solace it is to be found in the fact that the Frogs ran it up on two weak defenses (SMU and Stephen F. Austin), and were held to only 23 points by Minnesota, which possesses the only respectable defense TCU has faced thus far.
Still, Kliff Kingsbury does not lie when he says that the Frog offense will be a huge test for the Red Raider defense.
“This [TCU’s offense] is a totally different beast. They have NFL players all over the football field; they have one of the most dynamic quarterbacks playing college football, so they’re gonna run a lot of snaps, they’re gonna go fast, they’re gonna spread it out, so it’s a different beast. We’ll find out Saturday where we’re at exactly,” Kingsbury states.
The dynamic quarterback Kingsbury mentions is Trevone Boykin, a strong Heisman trophy contender who passes for 328 yards per game and is No. 10 nationally in passing efficiency. Boykin is also a dangerous runner.
Aaron Green, a transfer from Nebraska, is TCU’s premiere runner. He averages 91 yards per game rushing and six yards per carry.
Tech’s best hope for slowing down the Frogs may be to create turnovers. The Red Raiders lead the nation in fumbles recovered, and are No. 42 in interceptions. TCU, meanwhile, is No. 71 in interceptions thrown and No. 50 in turnover margin.
When Texas Tech Has the Ball
The problems that doubtless have Tech defensive coordinator David Gibbs sweating through the night are also surely besetting TCU head man and defensive bhagwan Gary Patterson.
Like the Horned Frog offense, Tech’s is balanced. The Red Raiders are No. 2 nationally in passing offense and No. 57 in rushing offense. And just as TCU boasts dangerous dual-threat QB Trevone Boykin, so Tech has a similar talent in Pat Mahomes.
Something will likely give when it comes to TCU’s pass rush. The Frogs have always been masters of pestering opposing quarterbacks and are currently No. 13 nationally in sacks. Alas however, Texas Tech is one of only five teams (four that have played three games) that have yet to allow a sack. Indeed, rare has been the case when Mahomes has even been hurried by opposing rushers. And when he has been rushed effectively, Mahomes shows incredible precision throwing on the run. It will be interesting to see what approach Patterson takes when it comes to pressuring Mahomes.
Aside from the multitalented Mahomes and a superlative pass protecting offensive line, Tech boasts a fleet of talented skill position players. DeAndre Washington and Justin Stockton, probably the fastest running back pair in America, combine for 132 rushing yards per contest and average eight and 6.3 yards per carry respectively. They bode ill for a Frog defense currently No. 68 nationally in rushing defense.
The starting receiver quartet of Jakeem Grant, Reggie Davis, Ian Sadler and Devin Lauderdale has been explosive, and has gotten better every week. Grant leads the team in catches with 21 and yards at 287. Davis’ 22 yards per catch tops the charts in that category.
TCU’s pass defense has been quite strong this season and is currently No. 25 in pass defense efficiency. The matchup should be a good one.
In the final analysis, expect this game to be a track meet, with both offenses racking up yardage, and probably points as well. Turnover margin and cashing in red zone opportunities for touchdowns rather than field goals will be key.
Texas Tech 56, TCU 45