Both TCU and West Virginia enjoyed bye weeks last weekend which should mean that the two teams will be well rested for their game Thursday night. The last time the Mountaineers were on the field they were beaten handily by Baylor in Waco. The time off should allow them to regroup. They’ve also had their fair share injuries, so a bye week was definitely needed to help heal, and get ready for the final stretch of the season.
TCU’s last game against Iowa State was exciting for exactly one-quarter before the Horned Frogs asserted themselves and scored 31 unanswered points to win easily. The Horned Frogs issues with players missing time due to injury and other reasons have been well documented however it seems like each week the Horned Frogs get back another key piece of their team. They’ll need a fully healthy team to survive their final five game which includes games against the Baylor, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. TCU will need to wary of a trap game this week since Thursday night games in the Big 12 have seen some pretty big upsets in recent years.
DATE & TIME: Thursday, October 29th, 6:30 PM CST
LOCATION: Amon G Carter Stadium (Fort Worth, TX)
FORECAST: Clear with winds 8-10 mph, 68° F
TV: FS1 / FOX Sports Go
BETTING LINE: TCU -14, O/U 75
WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS 3-3 (0-3)
West Virginia’s non-conference results at the start of this season provided hope that Dana Holgorsen had found a suitable quarterback replacement as well as a great defense. The Mountaineers entered Big 12 play as a ranked team expecting to get over the six or seven win hump this season, unfortunately the results haven’t met expectations. There is some discussion that Holgorsen is on the hot seat and that fans need to see progress in the last half of the season, missing out on bowl eligibility might be the straw that breaks the camels back. There is reason for hope in Morgantown, after this weeks game against TCU the Mountaineers will face Texas Tech, Texas and Iowa State at home with road trips to Kansas and Kansas State mixed in. The best case scenario has the Mountaineers winning their last five Big 12 games to finish the regular season at 8-4, this isn’t that outlandish of a scenario given the schedule. It’s also not outlandish to think that the Mountaineers could lose four of their final six games to end up at 5-7. This weeks game against TCU is extremely important as it will set the tone for the rest of the season, the Mountaineers don’t have to win but they do need to be competitive.
KEYS TO THE GAME FOR WEST VIRGINIA
Establish A Tone – Going into the season there was talk that West Virginia might have the best defense in the entire conference to date that defense hasn’t shown up for Big 12 play. The Mountaineer defense needs to come out of the gates with a few stops to set the tone for the rest of the game. TCU has shown that they can be contained for at least half of a game maybe West Virginia can do it for a whole game.
Get The O Going – Starting the game strong on offense would be huge for the Mountaineers. If Skyler Howard can find a rhythm early on with his skill players this could turn into a very interesting game.
Next Man Up – This goes for almost every team in the Big 12 at this point. The Mountaineers lost the heart and soul of their defense when Karl Joseph suffered a season ending injury in practice. West Virginia has had other injuries and it’s time for the their backups to step and make some noise.
#3 TCU HORNED FROGS 7-0 (4-0)
When TCU left Ames, Iowa they were able to breathe a big sigh of relief as they had made it to their bye week with a perfect record intact. The extra weekend off was especially helpful for the Horned Frogs who were happy to get a little healthier over the bye week. This will be the healthiest the Horned Frogs have been since they started the season in Minnesota. Look for TCU to be focused on taking care of the Mountaineers early so they can move on to their preparations for their trip to Oklahoma State next week. It will interesting to see if a week off brings out a more excited and explosive TCU or will they could have a bit of rust they need to work off.
KEYS TO THE GAME FOR TCU
Win Big – The Horned Frogs have struggled to get many style points in their wins recently which is fine since they’ve got better opponents to show off against later in the season. The Frogs need to win big on Thursday so they don’t have to expose key players like Trevone Boykin to any more plays and potential for injuries.
Stifle Howard – The TCU defense has shown the ability to rush and pester passers with better offensive lines. This week they’ll need to be as big of a presence in the West Virginia back field as possible. When Howard feels pressure he tends to make ill-advised throws which the TCU secondary should feed off of.
No Mistakes – Stay away from turnovers and silly penalties. The Horned Frogs rank near the bottom of the conference with an average of almost 80 penalty yards a game, they need to clean that up quickly.
BY THE NUMBERS
|3rd Down Con||40.82%||55.79%|
|Opp 3rd Down Con||28.24%||33.02%|
|Sacks Given Up||3.17||0.71|
|Redzone Scoring %||82.76%||82.05%|
|Field Goal %||69.2%||72.7%|
West Virginia is out gunned, out classed and out matched in this game. The Horned Frogs should be re energized and ready to storm through the last half of the season and the Mountaineers are standing in their way.
West Virginia’s offense struggles early as the Horned Frogs explode for a big first half lead. The Mountaineers will close ground in the second half but it won’t be enough to keep up with the Horned Frogs this week.