TCU expected to have another lopsided win over BYU

BYU was a lopsided loser in its last trip to TCU. The result was

as bad at home against the Horned Frogs last season.

And those games were when the Cougars (2-4, 1-1 Mountain West)

were still considered among the nation’s best teams. Not the

offensively challenged squad they have become this season, when

they have already fired their defensive coordinator.

That is why BYU is an unprecedented underdog at fourth-ranked

TCU (6-0, 2-0) on Saturday, even though Frogs coach Gary Patterson

remains wary of the Cougars.

”BYU week has always been traditionally, and still is, a tough

week,” Patterson said. ”You always have to be careful. You just

don’t want to be the next team, the team that they break out on. We

have to be ready to play.”

The Cougars are 29-point underdogs, the largest they have been

since at least 1985, according to the odds maker RJ Bell of It is only the sixth time BYU has been at least a

20-point underdog in that same span.

Two years ago, the Cougars arrived at Amon G. Carter Stadium as

the nation’s ninth-ranked team and with a 16-game winning streak,

then lost 32-7. They were ranked 16th and at home last year when

TCU beat them 38-7 for their only conference loss.

BYU has managed only 17 points a game this season (ranked 113th

nationally), and its 24-21 victory over San Diego State last week

marked a season-high scoring game.

”They’re hungry, the way they played last week was, they were

flying around, they were playing with passion,” Frogs quarterback

Andy Dalton said. ”They are kind of fighting for their lives right

now. … They have a lot at stake.”

TCU is 6-0 for the second year in a row, and the fourth time in

11 years.

The Frogs are coming off consecutive shutouts for the first time

in 55 years and are the nation’s top-ranked defense, allowing only

230 yards per game.

While opponents struggle to move the ball against them, the

offense led by Dalton, their newly engaged quarterback, has

recently improved its production. TCU has gone from 375 total yards

against SMU three weeks ago, to 474 yards and then 578 last


”Again, I’ve been impressed with them,” said BYU coach Bronco

Mendenhall, who added the role of defensive coordinator when Jaime

Hill was fired after four consecutive losses.

The Frogs held Colorado State to 161 yards in a 27-0 victory two

weeks ago, and limited Wyoming to 191 yards in a 45-0 victory last

Saturday. Third-ranked Boise State, the other highly ranked team

from a conference without an automatic BCS bid, also had a 45-point

victory over the Cowboys this season.

”I’m sure that’s important to some people, but you’re not going

to get anything from me,” TCU center Jake Kirkpatrick said of the

identical margins over Wyoming. ”(Patterson) has always stressed

to win by one point. It always feels better to win by more because

it means you played better. But all we can do is show up and play,

and everybody else can talk about that stuff.”

The first BCS standings of the season come out Sunday night.

TCU is playing the second of three consecutive home games, a

stretch that wraps up against 23rd-ranked Air Force the following

Saturday. The Frogs have won 17 consecutive home games, and 32 of

their last 35 games overall.

When asked if the plan was to try to stop TCU or try to keep up

with the Frogs, Mendenhall said neither.

”The focus is on improving our team,” the BYU coach said. ”My

focus still is on our team and driving them and motivating them and

teaching them. ”

After finally becoming a BCS buster for the first time last

season, and wanting to do it again, TCU’s goals are much


”You get an aura about you when you get on a roll. That’s what

we’ve talked about,” Patterson said. ”I don’t think we’re on

that, but I think we’re getting closer to that. We’ll see the next

two games.”