Who: Texas Tech (3-4, 1-3) vs. TCU (4-3, 2-2)
Where: Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, Texas
When: Saturday, October 29, 2:30 p.m. (CT)
Media: ESPN2 (TV), Texas Tech Radio Network (radio)
2015 Records: Texas Tech (7-6, 4-5), TCU (11-2, 8-2)
Coaches: Texas Tech (Kliff Kingsbury 22-23), TCU (Gary Patterson 147-50)
Series History: Texas Tech leads 30-25-3
Last Meeting: TCU 55, Texas Tech 52 on Sept.26, 2015
When TCU Has the Ball
Given the shell-shocked state of Texas Tech’s defense it may seem like the particulars of TCU’s offense don’t matter because regardless, the Frogs are destined to put up at least 45 points. Nevertheless, we will take a look.
TCU’s offense, in keeping with Big 12 tradition, relies heavily on the pass, yet it is running back Kyle Hicks who is the team’s Offensive MVP to this point. Hicks, easily the Big 12’s most nimble back despite packing a solid 210 pounds, leads TCU in rushing with 582 yards, and averages 5.8 yards per carry. A big game on the ground would set Hicks up nicely for a 1,000-yard season, and the odds are excellent he will have it.
Hicks also leads the Horned Frogs in receptions with 20, and averages 11 yards per grab, a very good number for a running back.
At quarterback, TCU rolls with the mercurial Kenny Hill. The former Texas A&M Aggie may be a better player than he was as a freshman in College Station, but not by a great deal. His passer rating of 138 puts him mid-pack (No. 56) nationally. His 63-percent completion percentage is fine, as is his passing yardage of 2,290, but Hill’s nine interceptions have tarnished his game, and are counterbalanced by a modest 13 touchdown passes.
That said, the Texas Tech defense has only three interceptions on the season (No. 108) nationally, so it is likely that the Red Raiders will be unable to capitalize on any of Hill’s wayward efforts.
When Texas Tech Has the Ball
Even as the marks in the loss column mount up, Texas Tech’s offense becomes ever more prolific. The Red Raiders lead the nation in passing offense with 543 yards per game, an insane 153 yards more than second best California. Tech is tops too, in total offense, averaging 640 yards per game. And as record-busting signal-caller Pat Mahomes continues to heal from an injured shoulder, which has curtailed his practice time, those numbers could tower even higher still.
But Mahomes, who leads the nation in passing and total offense, and is No. 9 in passer rating, is not the sole story behind Texas Tech’s offensive prowess. Mahomes has a bevy of outstanding inside receivers to help him move the chains and short circuit scoreboards.
Sophomore Jonathan Giles leads the charge racking up 131 yards per game (No. 5 nationally) and hauling in a national best 11 touchdowns. Fellow inside starter Cameron Batson averages 65 receiving yards per game, while the rapidly emerging Keke Coutee kicks in 66 more and averages 17 yards per grab, the same as Giles. Not to be forgotten is the clutch Ian Sadler who averages 49 receiving yards per outing and 16 yards per catch.
The TCU defense doesn’t boast any real superstars, but it certainly has areas of strength. The Frogs allow only 3.56 yards per carry, which is No. 28 nationally, but that may be a wasted asset against a Texas Tech offense that almost never runs the football.
Of greater significance, TCU is No. 2 nationally in sacks per game, averaging 3.86 quarterback traps. Leading the Frogs in that category is defensive end Josh Carraway who has 5.5 sacks on the season.
However, the fierce pass rush seemingly hasn’t helped TCU’s passing defense overmuch. The Horned Frogs are No. 106 in passing defense, and No. 105 in passing defense efficiency. Those numbers are unlikely to have improved come Sunday morning.