LOCATION: Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, Texas
BETTING LINE: TCU -8.5 (via oddshark)
TEXAS TECH PLAYER TO WATCH
Last week, the true freshman got his first career start in a mostly futile attempt to get the Texas Tech run game going. This week, Patrick Mahomes simply can’t throw almost 100 times again. Whether he likes it or not, Da’Leon Ward will have a much bigger spotlight on him this week. So far, Justin Stockton, DeMarcus Felton, and Corey Dauphine have failed to get the run game going. This will be Ward’s big chance to finally be a productive tailback. He will still be secondary to Mahomes, but if he can supplement him even a little, Ward will be a huge asset.
TCU PLAYER TO WATCH
Taj Williams, and really the rest of the TCU receivers, have had too many hot and cold games. One week Williams will be the top receiver, the next week he only has one catch. Williams has shown multiple times this season that he has big play ability, but he needs to become more consistent. That needs to happen more than ever this week. The TCU offense needs all hands on deck as they face an equally high powered offense in Texas Tech. The Red Raiders have their troubles on the defensive side of the ball, which leaves potential for Williams to have a big game.
RED RAIDER POSITION GROUP PREVIEW
Last week, the line played slightly better than in previous games, but they had help from Oklahoma’s lackluster defense. TCU will bring a lot of pressure, something this line likely can’t handle.
Ward started the season very low on the depth chart. Now, he’s probably the last hope to salvage this team’s run game. He’ll need to be big for an upset to occur.
Patrick Mahomes is coming off of a record-setting losing effort. There’s only so much he can do, but he’ll probably need to approach 700 yards again if Tech is going to win.
This line played atrocious last week, and unfortunately that’s nothing new. Against Kenny Hill and this Frogs offense, there’s not much hope for improvement.
D’Vonta Hinton, the only solid linebacker, has been banged up most of the season. If he finally gets up to full health, he can lead an improvement in this area.
This defensive backfield played terribly against Mayfield and the Sooners. While they won’t have to cover Josh Doctson this time, they still will probably suffer from poor play.
Not a lot of punter Michael Barden was seen against OU. However, when he did punt it was lackluster. If the TCU defense plays well, he could give Tech favorable field position.
There’s a lot of concern over the discipline of this team and with good reason. Kingsbury needs to really dial in during practice if he wants to see both improved discipline and improved play overall.
GAME PREVIEW ANALYSIS
Texas Tech comes into Fort Worth to take on TCU. Last time the Red Raiders traveled to Fort Worth they were embarrassed by the Horned Frogs 82-27. With how TCU’s defense has looked so far this season, this year will likely look more like lasts season’s 55-52 nail bitter. Both teams enter Saturday coming off a loss and are hoping to get back on the winning path. Both teams also have high powered offenses, but TCU’s has stalled the previous two games while Texas Tech is coming off a record performance. Against Oklahoma, Patrick Mahomes threw for 734 yards, tying the FBS passing record, and had 819 total yards. Kenny Hill struggled to do anything against West Virginia, throwing a season low 148. This game is bound to have plenty of scoring and lots of big plays. The outcome of this game will come down to two things: which quarterback has the fewest mistakes, and which defense can provide just enough stops to give their team a chance. TCU has the better of the two defenses in this matchup and while Texas Tech plays incredible at home, they struggle on the road. It could very well come down to which quarterback has the football last. The Horned Frogs should find a way to get a stop if their offense needs it and come away with a victory. Final score prediction, TCU 56 Texas Tech 49.
HORNED FROGS POSITION GROUP RATINGS
Texas Tech has a weak defensive line that struggles getting to the quarterback. TCU should be able to protect Kenny Hill and give the running backs space room to work.
Kyle Hicks has been impressive even when his line doesn’t always give him much help. Facing a defense that struggles with tackling, Hicks and the rest of the running backs could put up big numbers.
Kenny Hill has had a rough stretch the past two games, but will need to be at his best this week. Texas Tech can score, A LOT, so Hill must do the same.
TCU’s receivers have been anything but consistent this season. They must quit dropping passes and help out Hill if the Horned Frogs want to get out of this game with a win.
Patrick Mahomes is the most mobile quarterback in the Big 12. The defensive line must find some way to contain him or it could be a long game.
Texas Tech doesn’t have much of a run game. If the defensive line can contain the run, then the linebackers should focus on taking away the short routes in the middle of the field and not allowing Mahomes to pick up yards with his legs.
With how mobile Patrick Mohomes is, the secondary will likely need to cover receivers for longer than five seconds. This will be challenge but it must be done.
Field position will be crucial in this game. Adam Nunez must pin Texas Tech as deep as he can and not give Mahomes a short field to work with.
Patterson is a defensive coach but he must realize that Texas Tech is going to put up points. His defense doesn’t need to stop them every time, just enough to give his offense a chance.