Texas Tech (3-4) at (10) TCU (5-1) (ET)
GAME NOTES: Hoping to keep pace in the race for the Big 12 Conference crown, the 10th-ranked TCU Horned Frogs will play a home game this Saturday against the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
Texas Tech opened the season with a pair of victories, but then went on to lose four in a row, including its first three conference games. The Red Raiders were able to stop the bleeding last week as they topped visiting Kansas, 34-21. Kliff Kingsbury's club needs three more wins to become bowl eligible, but the road is difficult as bouts with TCU, Texas, Oklahoma, Iowa State and Baylor remain.
TCU also kicked off the campaign with favorable results, claiming victory in each of first four games. A wild 61-58 loss to Baylor put the team at 1-1 in conference, but it bounced back to rout visiting Oklahoma State last weekend, 42-9. Coach Gary Patterson has his squad poised to make a run at the Big 12 title, but tough tilts with West Virginia, Kansas State and Texas are still to come.
Texas Tech leads the all-time series with TCU, 30-23-3, and the Red Raiders have won the last two meetings.
Texas Tech leading receiver Jakeem Grant (50 receptions, 629 yards, five TDs) was injured in an apparent shooting in Lubbock last Sunday morning, but his injuries weren't deemed overly serious and he could even play in this game. Grant caught six passes in last week's win over Kansas, helping the Red Raiders roll up more than 500 yards of total offense, compared to only 363 for the Jayhawks.
Davis Webb went 28-of-44 for 288 yards, three TDs and one INT, hitting three different receivers (Grant, Brad Marquez and Ian Sadler) for at least 68 yards. DeAndre Washington was highly productive in rushing for a career-best 164 yards on 23 carries.
Defensively, the Red Raiders surrendered 235 yards and a pair of scores through the air, but got solid individual performances from Pete Robertson and Austin Stewart with nine tackles apiece. Robertson was credited with two of the team's four sacks.
For the season, Texas Tech scores 30.9 ppg, doing so behind 488.3 ypg. Webb ranks second in the conference in averaging 319.9 ypg, and he has thrown a league-best 22 TD passes, but has been picked off a league-high 12 times. Grant is second in the Big 12 with 7.14 receptions per game, and Marquez sits seventh with 5.86. Washington ranks third with 88.9 rushing ypg, but he has found the end zone only once.
Texas Tech ranks last in the league in scoring defense (36.9 ppg), and foes have hammered the Red Raiders on the ground, leading to 239.0 ypg -- also placing the club last. The Red Raiders have only come up with three INTs and a mere eight takeaways in all. Robertson paces the unit with 54 tackles, which includes seven of the team's 13 sacks.
Kingsbury tries to keep an even keel, even as his team fought to put an end to its four-game skid.
"Yeah, wins are hard to come by in college football, so anytime you get one you have to be pleased with it. I try to stay pretty level."
TCU is one of the most productive offensive teams in the country, as it puts up 45.2 ppg behind typical outputs of 197.5 ypg rushing and 340.2 ypg passing. Trevone Boykin has been effective in both modes of attack, throwing for nearly 1,900 yards with 14 TDs and only three INTs, while running for 346 yards and three scores. B.J. Catalon leads the way on the ground with 370 yards and eight TDs, while Josh Dotson (31 rec., 497 yards, five TDs) heads a list of six players with double-digit receptions.
When the opposition has the ball, the Horned Frogs are equally proficient, as they allow a league-low 20.7 ppg. They permit 222 ypg through the air, and foes have scored only eight aerial TDs, while tossing 11 picks -- the latter tying TCU for the league lead. Paul Dawson paces the unit with 68 stops, and he is one of four players with multiple interceptions on the season. TCU is among the league leaders in sacks with 21, while being No. 1 in opponents' third down conversion percentage (.267).
TCU dominated Oklahoma State last week in every aspect of the game, with Boykin throwing for a career-high 410 yards and three TDs. Dotson also put forth a monster effort in hauling down seven balls for 225 yards and two scores. Catalon generated 102 yards and two TDs on only 10 carries, helping the Frogs amass 261 yards on the ground.
Dawson more than doubled his closest teammate by logging 13 stops, and the Horned Frogs came up with a pair of INTs, two sacks and seven TFL, in holding the Cowboys to a paltry 258 yards of total offense (126 rushing, 132 passing).
Rather than think of what the future may hold with regard to competing for the Big 12 title, Patterson is trying to keep his team focused on the task at hand.
"I'm not even thinking about it. I didn't think about it before. Two weeks ago I had Oklahoma, then I had Baylor, then Oklahoma State and now I have Texas Tech. My advice to anybody would be to try to win the game that you're playing and not to worry about anything else."
The Red Raiders are dangerous when firing on all cylinders, but the Horned Frogs pride themselves on taking away the best part of the enemy's attack. Expect the home team to keep the good times rolling, as TCU continues its upward trek toward a possible conference crown.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: TCU 49, Texas Tech 27