Football

Matching Up: TCU vs. Texas Tech

We take a look at each match up with Texas Tech and TCU.

The Match Ups

Texas Tech Pass Offense vs. TCU Pass Defense
Texas Tech
Despite Arkansas not wanting anything to go deep, and they did an excellent job of that, it limited Patrick Mahomes to 243 yards, which now means that Texas Tech is only 2nd in the nation in passing offense. Truthfully though, this is something to be concerned about and I’ve always thought that there’s a learning curve with spread quarterbacks and when opposing teams gum up the middle of the field with linebackers that young guys, like Mahomes, can be prone to throwing ill-timed interceptions and not having good days. It will be interesting to see how TCU plays this, especially with a defensive line that may not be up to snuff and a somewhat depleted secondary (losing Iloka and Texada). Texas Tech has the receivers clicking and it doesn’t hurt that the running backs are dangerous coming out of the backfield as well. And just in case you’re keeping track, Jakeem Grant is leading the way at receiver and it’s not all that close. He has 21 receptions, although Reginald Davis and Devin Lauderdale each have 10 catches and Ian Sadler has 13. Considering that Lauderdale was almost shut-out last week, I’d look to see him at least get a few more looks.
TCU
I feel like I’m at a disadvantage here as I haven’t been able to keep up with all of the players out with injury. That’s not intended to be a shot, that’s just me not being able to wrap my head around everyone that is injured. The bottom line is that TCU still knows how to play defense and that’s what they’ve always done. Heck, I picked TCU to win the Big 12 based on that truism and why I gave them the slight edge over Baylor. The schedule hasn’t been the toughest, but TCU is still 42nd in passing yards allowed and 25th in passing efficiency defense. The problem for TCU is that they just lost one of my favorite players to watch, Ranthony Texada for the year and I think they also lost a pretty good JUCO safety, Kenny Iloka I think, that was previously starting as well is also out. TCU is down to Nick Orr (5-10/180) and Niko Small (5-10/187) at cornerback while Michael Downing (5-11/175) and Denzel Johnson (6-2/205) are playing at safety.
ADVANTAGE: Texas Tech
Texas Tech Rush Offense vs. TCU Rush Defense
Texas Tech
Based on everything that I know, I should be picking TCU here, but with as many plays as I would expect both teams to have, I think it would be really tough for TCU to keep pace after a while. Kingsbury has mentioned that he needs to get the running backs more involved and maybe this is the week. DeAndre Washington is averaging 96 yards a game, with Mahomes at 43 and Justin Stockton at 36 yards a game. The offensive line for Texas Tech has been stellar and Quinton White has done an admirable job blocking.
TCU
The front seven have taken quite a hit defensively and this is the area that I think I’ve lost track of what’s happening. I think the linebackers are new starters, Ty Summers (6-2/23) and Montrel Wilson (6-3/208), while the defensive line has some real issues. Terrell Lathan was injured against SMU and I think there were some other guys out as well. Josh Carraway (6-4/250) was also playing defensive line and was injured, but he might play. The other starters are Davion Pierson (6-2/305) and Chris Bradley (6-2/255). If Lathan can’t play then I don’t know who plays, because next on the depth chart was Mike Tuaua (6-3/253). Just like with the pass defense, statistically, the Horned Frogs are doing just fine, allowing only 156 yards a game on the ground and ranks 30th overall with 21 tackles for loss. But . . . TCU allowed 178 yards to SMU on Saturday and I’m not completely sure how to figure that out. Although SMU has run the ball for over 200 yards in each of their previous two games, so how about that stat.
ADVANTAGE: Texas Tech
Texas Tech Pass Defense vs. TCU Pass Offense
Texas Tech
I don’t think there’s much to discuss from the perspective that TCU clearly has a big advantage here, but I did want to point out how I’ve really liked the way that Gibbs and Curtis have handled the secondary. I really didn’t know what to think about J.J. Gaines moving to cornerback and my quick initial thought was one of fear because I thought there’s no way a safety is going to convert to a cornerback in a fall practice, but that’s exactly what happened. I’ve been pleasantly surprised in how he’s played and I haven’t noticed him do a ton of bad things, which means that he’s been solid. This move was the result of moving Jah’Shawn Johnson to a safety spot and talk about a player that’s worked wonders at a position. Johnson isn’t the biggest player, but he plays hard and he hits hard and that’s probably going to take a toll on him at some point, but thus far he’s bee the newcomer of the year on defense. He’s been better than I could have envisioned. As far as a pass rush is concerned, last week, there wasn’t just a ton of time for Texas Tech to do a ton, but having Pete Robertson back is a huge advantage and having Gary Moore be available for Branden Jackson should come in handy with this game and the needed depth.
TCU
I probably don’t need to go into a lot of detail here, but yeah, the TCU pass offense is on point and there’s not a lot to being able to stop it. Trevone Boykin has been fantastic and he will most likely play fantastically (ype, I’m doing this) against Texas Tech. Josh Doctson (6-3/195) is a terrific threat and without question their best receiver, almost doubling the nearest receiver with 17 catches for 326 yards and 3 touchdowns. Someone mentioned that Kolby Listenbee (6-1/183) might be injured, but I’m not sure. He is the other wide option and has 9 catches for 202 yards and 2 touchdowns. Ty Slanina (6-0/193) is your inside receiving threat along with Desmon White (5-7/150). The line has only allowed 4 sacks thus far, so the line is holding up just fine. Boykin has always been a bit prone to stay in the pocket.
ADVANTAGE: TCU
Texas Tech Rush Defense vs. TCU Rush Offense
Texas Tech
Texas Tech has done a decent job thus far, but statistically, that statement really doesn’t play out. Texas Tech is 122nd in yards allowed per game and 120th in yards per rush, at 5.72. As pleased as we’ve been with the improved defense, there’s still a lot of work left to be done. Gibbs mentioned in his press conference that we’d see a bigger rotation of players, like against Sam Houston State and so that means we’ll see more Keland McElrath, Marcus Smith and Demetrius Alston. Other than Alston, there hasn’t been a ton of rotation with Rika Levi and Breiden Fehoko getting most of the snaps. I’m also getting more comfortable with the linebackers and how they are improving. It seems that Dakota Allen is starting to leapfrog some folks and Micah Awe should hopefully be fully healed this week. He wasn’t very active last week, maybe a result of his shoulder that he injured against UTEP.
TCU
The rushing attack has pretty much been by committee as Aaron Green was great against SMU, while Boykin is good for 50 a game. Trevorris Johnson ran for 71 yards against SFA, and Shaun Nixon has had sporadic carries, but he’s usually produced each game. Overall, TCU is running for over 230 yards a game and averaging nearly 5 yards a carry with 8 touchdowns. I think a large part of the credit here goes to the offensive line, who I think is one of the best in the nation, and having a mobile quarterback like Boykin opens up a ton of holes.
ADVANTAGE: TCU
Texas Tech Special Teams vs. TCU Special Teams
Texas Tech
Texas Tech is 36th overall in kickoff return coverage and 61st in punt return coverage. I think this is a pretty big improvement over last year. Jakeem Grant has solidified the kickoff return, as the team is averaging just a shade under 24 yards a return and Cameron Batson didn’t get a ton of opportunities returning punts last week. Michael Barton missed a chip-shot field goal last week and Taylor Symmank essentially got the day off for punting but still had to log some plays kicking off. I think TCU and Texas Tech have about equal returners in Turpin and Grant, while TCU has the advantage at kicker and Texas Tech at punter. I think Texas Tech has a slight edge in coverage, but I think this is a push.
TCU
The curse of Jaden Oberkrom continues as he is finally a senior and a terrific kicker. I say “curse” because I can’t spell his name without looking at it very closely and even then I’ll probably get it wrong. And truthfully, that’s not really a curse as much as it is an inconvenience. Oberkrom handles kickoff duties and has knocked 19 of 24 kickoffs into the stands and has made 3 of 4 on the year. The punting situation isn’t so great as Ethan Perry is only averaging 38 yards a punt, but he’s only had to punt 3 times. TCU sits at 59th overall in kickoff return defense and 40th in punt return defense. KaVontae Turpin is a darned good punt returner, averaging 26 yards a return and he’s also averaging over 13 yards a punt return.
ADVANTAGE: Push

The Tally

Both teams are favored greatly on their respective offensive sides of the ball and it’s a push from a special teams perspective. I do think that these are two evenly matched teams, especially after all of the defensive injury issues that they’re dealing with.

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