No. 4 TCU starts 3-week road stretch at UNLV

If No. 4 TCU seeks to improve its BCS fortunes, it’ll have to do

so away from the Lone Star State.

Three of the next four games for the Horned Frogs are on the

road, with its biggest game left a visit to No. 9 Utah next week.

But before that, the undefeated team that leads the nation in

scoring defense travels to Sin City in hopes of preventing any

Halloween tricks from UNLV.

”If you want to win championships, you’ve got to be able to

play on the road and it starts with UNLV,” TCU coach Gary

Patterson said. ”Every time we’ve played there it’s been a tough

ballgame and we don’t expect it to be any different than that this

time.”

Saturday’s game is likely to be tough – for UNLV. The Rebels

have won just one game this year and scored more than 10 points

just twice in seven tries. Their six losses have all been lopsided,

and they’ve allowed more than 41 points in four games.

UNLV has had an extra week to prepare for TCU because of an open

date, but coach Bobby Hauck said that doesn’t make things any

easier.

”They are hard to game plan (for) because they do everything

well,” Hauck said. ”They are explosive at every position. They

run well on defense as well as at all the skill positions on

offense.”

Hauck said he spent the bye week recruiting as well as

practicing.

TCU’s 8-0 season includes road wins at SMU and Colorado State,

games the Horned Frogs won handily. Since 2003, TCU is fifth in the

country with a 35-14 record in games on the road or at neutral

sites.

This year, TCU leads the country in allowing an average of 9

points, 117.9 yards passing and 12.1 first downs per game. Its

offense is ranked 11th in the country, and it has held steady in

the fourth slot in the AP poll since Oct. 10, the day after a 45-0

win over Wyoming.

But Patterson said playing on the road is tough because it

limits his ability to develop younger players or play them in a

pinch.

”The hard part about road games is you can only take 64 players

in the Mountain West Conference – different than home when you have

everybody,” Patterson said. ”A lot of other conferences travel 70

to 75 (players).”

All teams at the top of the rankings have to play well now, he

said.

”Everybody’s playing for a conference title, everybody’s trying

to get to a bowl game and so every game’s tough,” Patterson said.

”Every team that we have left on the schedule has a reason for

them wanting to beat us.”

Hauck said his team, through its woes, is finding out what kind

of character its players have.

”It’s not easy going out and getting beat on Saturdays and then

to get up on Monday and go back to work and try to come out on top

again the next week,” he said. ”It takes some character and I

think we’re finding that out about ourselves.”

But Patterson said UNLV has the advantage of the bye week and

can score against good teams – especially at home. He cites UNLV’s

21 points against then-No. 12 Wisconsin in its season opener and 26

points against then-No. 25 Nevada.

”They played a lot different playing at home than playing on

the road,” Patterson said.