Know Your Enemy: Keys to the TCU Horned Frogs
The Texas Longhorns playing TCU instead of Texas A&M on Thanksgiving is a lot like sitting down for a holiday meal and being handed a plate of tofurkey. It's not the worst thing that someone could offer you, but it sure tastes different than what we're used to. Still, we have to remember to be in the spirit of graciousness. After all, it is Thanksgiving and the Texas Longhorns are 8-2 with a chance to win the Big 12 title, provided they win out and Oklahoma loses to either Oklahoma State or TCU. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Texas has to finish what's on their plate first, and the first course begins when the TCU Horned Frogs come to Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium this Thursday.
TCU is 6-4 with a 3-4 record in the Big 12, which sounds like an appetizing opponent. However, as Kansas State would be quick to remind you after their thrashing last week at the hands of the Baylor Bears, every team in the Big 12 is dangerous. With that in mind, we offer you a heaping helping of knowledge about the TCU Horned Frogs. It's time to "Know Your Enemy."
Just Like Old Times
The sound of Texas facing TCU does sound odd given the fact that they have only played once since 1995, but the two teams have locked horns, so to speak, 82 times overall. Texas has a 61-20-1 record against the Horned Frogs.
Texas fans are largely disappointed at the missed opportunity to face Johnny Manziel this week but they'll get to see another redshirt freshman on a football team from Texas instead in Trevone Boykin.
TCU was hit hard when they chose to suspend quarterback Casey Pachall after a DWI arrest. It was the right thing to do and has opened the door for Boykin to keep the starting spot for an extended period of time. Boykin's results have been respectable, as Boykin has thrown for 1,540 yards and 14 touchdowns in six games. There will definitely be a quarterback battle at the beginning of the 2013 season at TCU.
Boykin is strapped with a strong arm and prefers to stay in the pocket but isn't afraid to tuck it and run when necessary, having rushed 12 times or more in five games this season.
Sigh, the things we do for headlines. Anyway, the point we're leading into is that redshirt junior Josh Boyce is pretty damn good. The Copperas Cove native excels as a route-runner who loves physical play and was the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week just two weeks ago when he burned West Virginia for 180 yards and two touchdowns. He is also the all-time leader in touchdown receptions at TCU and averages 84 yards per game in Big 12 play this season.
Texas' offense average averages 433 yards per game while TCU average 427 yards, putting them sixth and seventh overall in the Big 12. The Texas defense gives up 250 yards passing per game and TCU surrenders 267 a game, good for fourth and fifth best in the conference. TCU has gained 153 first downs all season while Texas has gained 151, ranking them eighth and ninth in the Big 12. Also, Trevone Boykin and David Ash are fifth and sixth in the Big 12 in passing yardage and sixth and seventh in total offense. Numbers are fun!
Texas should have some leftovers Thursday night long after the Thanksgiving dinner is served. TCU has given up 20 sacks this season, and ten in the last three games. Texas should also be able to win the turnover battle, as TCU has given up the ball 25 times this season.
No Has Been
Sophomore linebacker Joel Hasley doesn't get nearly the credit he deserves but that could change when TCU hits prime time against Texas Thursday. The sophomore linebacker from Aledo, Texas averages eight tackles a game in Big 12 play and will play a large part in TCU's attempt to stifle the Texas running game. Speaking of...
TCU's defense stops the run like Rick Grimes stop zombies on The Walking Dead, ranking seventh overall in the FBS with 98 yards allowed per game. The Longhorns average 192 rushing yards per game, so let's hope they flip the script and feasts on the inside of the Horned Frog defense this Thursday. The Horned Frogs will look to keep the Texas rushers inside the box, putting more pressure on the Horns to rely on David Ash's continually improving passing ability.