Last week, TCU threw for 439 yards and scored 59 points in their Saturday matchup against South Dakota State. Usually that would indicate a blowout victory, but a serious lack of defense on both sides resulted in the 59-41 final score, and while that certainly isn’t what TCU was looking for defensively, it’s indicative of the style the Horned Frogs play.
That “score a bunch of points and hope your defense gets one stop” style might come back to hurt TCU this week, as they face off against a very different team. Arkansas runs a pro spread style, and in their last game, a thrilling 21-20 triumph over powerhouse Louisiana Tech, Arkansas struggled. Despite the Razorbacks’ issues, this is certainly not going to be an easy game for the Horned Frogs.
Date/Time: September 10/ 6:00 PM CST
Where: Amon G. Carter Stadium
Forecast: Scattered thunderstorms, high of 86, low of 69
Betting Line: TCU -7.5
Coming into this game, TCU is ranked 12th in the coaches poll, and 15th in the AP poll. Kenny Hill looked like he’s ready to be the new face of the program, but there were more questions that answers last Saturday on the defensive side of the ball. Expectations are as many fans, as well as players and coaches, are aiming for a playoff berth. This game is an important one if TCU wants to accomplish that goal, and they need to impress this week against a solid power five opponent.
Keys To The Game
Control the Trenches: While this is true in almost all games, controlling the trenches is especially important in this match up. For Arkansas, they need to slow down a great defensive line, led by the aforementioned Josh Carraway, and if they can’t do this, it will likely be a very long day in the Razorback backfield. On the other side, TCU needs to step up and keep the Arkansas blitz out of the backfield. Their offense is largely based on timing, and if that timing is interrupted, the passing game will struggle.
Dominate the Air: If TCU wants to win this game, they have to take the top off this defense early and often. The Horned Frogs will not be able to win if they can’t run, but if you want to run on this defense, you have to throw the ball up top and move them off the line. Arkansas operates under a power run heavy offense, but if they can’t pass they’ll struggle to put up many points on TCU.
Control the Tempo: TCU loves to go fast, Arkansas prefers long, demoralizing drives. Whichever team controls the tempo will have a huge advantage, forcing the other team to either keep up or slow down, and with how different these styles are, that change could be catastrophic.
This should be a really good game. While the line tells a different story, I think this game will be really close, and could very well come down to the last possession. Both teams struggled last week against bad teams, and neither has really given me a reason to think that they’ll win this game.
It’s really hard to bet against TCU in games like this. Typically when the Horned Frogs play a slower paced team they dominate the game, and add in that this game is being played in Fort Worth, this should be a much easier game than it likely will be. I never really bought into the preseason hype for TCU, and I think they’ll struggle in a few games this year that they probably shouldn’t.
While I think TCU won’t win this by as much as they probably should, I do think they’ll still win. They have more talent on both sides of the ball, and when it comes down to the end of a close game, that talent level will show. My score prediction is 41-35, TCU.