Spotlight on TCU for Big 12 showdown
It's taken until year two of Big 12 play for the TCU Horned Frogs but they finally have the scenario they want for a conference game.
TCU hosts its first night Big 12 game Saturday against Texas in a 6:30 CT game on FOX Sports 1 at Amon Carter Stadium. TCU will bring an undefeated home record, have quarterback Casey Pachall available if needed and have a standing-room only crowd.
Now the Horned Frogs have to deliver a product worthy of the buildup.
TCU (3-4, 1-3) in the Big 12 has played in close games throughout the season but has failed to deliver a signature victory. The Frogs have close losses to LSU, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
Beating a Texas (4-2) team that has rebounded from a slow start and is now 3-0 in Big 12 play would be that win.
But it's going to take something the Frogs have had trouble delivering this season, a complete game for four quarters.
"The key is to understand we're playing close," TCU head coach Gary Patterson said. "We need to play the first half better than we have and keep doing what we have in the second half. We've just got to understand when we get our chances we've got to make the most of them. We've got to do some better things. We've got to play better up front."
The defense has played well enough for the Frogs to be better than 3-4 but the offense has been inconsistent. Pachall, who suffered a broken left arm in a Sept. 7 win over Southeastern Louisiana, is back but the Frogs will start Trevone Boykin. Whoever is at quarterback, TCU has to improve on an offense that's averaging just 330 yards a game, 130 less than the Longhorns.
Patterson said the Frogs have tried to change things up in practice but the bottom line is the team has to make plays during games, something that hasn't happened.
It doesn't help that the Frogs get a Texas team on a roll and one that Patterson said played its best offensive football in four or five years in a 36-20 upset win over Oklahoma on Oct. 12.
Texas may also have revenge on its mind after TCU spoiled any hopes of a BCS bid for the Longhorns last year with a 20-13 victory in Austin behind Boykin. While Patterson said he doesn't take anything from that game, Texas head coach Mack Brown doesn't see it that way.
"It's very similar," Brown said of this year's TCU team. "They're as well coached on defense as any team in the country. They're in every ballgame. This is one where we were on a roll and they knocked us out of a lot of things we were trying to accomplish last year."