|Matchup Preview | September 12, 2013; 6:300PM, Jones AT&T Stadium; Lubbock, Texas|
|Texas Tech Red Raiders|
|#24 TCU Horned Frogs|
|The average height of the Texas Tech cornerbacks in 5’8. They have good speed, but even Garrett Gilbert at SMU was able to pick apart the Tech secondary for 388 yards earlier this season. A young defensive coaching staff will face its toughest test so far against TCU. What Tech lacks in size, they make up in experience as the Red Raiders start three seniors in their secondary.||On paper, the bigger TCU receivers should have a clear advantage against a smaller Tech secondary, but the TCU receivers have not shown much consistency through two games. The Frogs are still desperately searching for a go-to receiver. LaDarius Brown will be at least four inches taller his counterpart in this game. Griffin Gilbert will have an even bigger size advantage. Until TCU receivers show more consistency, this category is a draw. The TCU offense has moved more swiftly with Boykin under center as well.|
|Pete Robertson and Will Smith are nice players: solid linebackers that make the plays they are supposed to make. Thus far, the Tech linebackers have not been tested in the run game like TCU will test them. The Frogs best playmakers are in the backfield, and Tech linebackers will have to do a good job getting off blocks. Micah Awe leads Tech in tackles through two games.||
B.J. Catalon could cement himself as TCU’s best playmaker on offense with another strong game Thursday. A shifty and powerful runner, Catalon has done a good job making defenders miss so far this season. The TCU running backs are very talented and are as good as any set of backs that TCU will play against this season, but the difference between a mediocre and dominant run game for TCU will actually be the offensive line play.
Senior defensive end Kerry Hyder has done a good job making plays in the opponent’s backfield this season. He leads Tech with 3.5 tackles for loss, and he also has a sack. He’ll line up on both sides of the line Thursday, and he is the player that the TCU offensive line will have to pay the most attention to. He leads the Red Raiders with ten career sacks. Nose guard Dennell Wesley weighs in at 310 pounds, and he does a good job of eating up blocks. He’s the key to the Tech 3-4 scheme, but he has yet to make a tackle through two games which is why TCU’s offensive line has the edge.
Joey Hunt has been impressive through two games. He has been a leader for a young offensive line, and he has more than adequately identified blitzes and gotten the offensive line organized. Aviante Collins was rattled against LSU, and James Dunbar had to take his place. Collins must play better against Texas Tech and Kerry Hyder. Through two games, the offensive line has only allowed three sacks through the first two games.
|Baker Mayfield has done an impressive job commanding the complex Texas Tech offense through two games. He has thrown for 7 touchdowns and has thrown nary an interception. However, Mayfield faces his toughest test so far in the TCU defense. Jason Verrett will take away one side of the field and Mayfield’s favorite target Eric Ward. Jace Amaro will be his best weapon against TCU because he will likely draw matchups against Sam Carter and Chris Hackett. TCU must limit Amaro who is averaging 92 yards receiving per game. The key for Mayfield will be to keep up what he has done so far: get the ball out of his hand quickly.||
|Dre Washington and Kenny Williams are averaging just 3.8 and 2.7 yards per rush respectively. The running backs have taken a back seat in the ground game to their quarterback Baker Mayfield who leads Tech in carries and yards. Mayfield has done most of his rushing on first down which has put Tech in second and third & short situations.||
Through two games, Marcus Mallet and Jonathan Anderson both have double digit tackles. Anderson has all the measurables to be a great linebacker, and his speed is an asset that TCU did not have a season ago. Good news for Anderson: Tech loves to air it out, and right now, Anderson is better in coverage than in the box right now. Do not be surprised if Patterson opts to play the 4-1-6 against 10 and 11 personnel on Saturday. TCU’s linebackers must do a good job spying Baker Mayfield who is Tech’s leading rusher through two games.
Texas Tech’s offensive line has been stout in the passing game. They have formed a pocket for Mayfield to throw and kept him upright. In the run game, they have gotten little to no push. Tech is 54-15 at home since 2002, and the offense is able to operate comfortably in its own stadium. Mayfield gets the ball out of his hand so quickly that the offensive line has to only hold its pocket one to two seconds.
||Two games. Four sacks. Sure, Devonte Fields did not play against LSU, but Zach Mettenberger had six to seven seconds to throw at times. Anderson, Koontz, Lathan and McFarland all have to play better, and they have to carry some of the pass rushing load that Fields and Maponga carried a year ago. The defensive tackles for TCU are stout, and I question whether Tech will be able to run the ball with much consistency against the Frogs. However, the Frogs ability to get a pass rush is also a question mark. Devonte Fields is an elite player, but do not expect midseason form from him in his first game back. Expect 30 snaps for Fields on Thursday.|
|Tech is averaging over 30 yards per kickoff return and nearly 12 yards per punt return. They have plenty of athletes to return punts and kicks. Tech is averaging 44.6 yards per punt. Tech’s Jakeem Grant is as explosive as they come.||Catalon is a weapon returning kicks, and Oberkrom has consistently kicked the ball through the back of the end zone on kickoffs. Oberkrom was excellent against Tech last season, connecting on all six of his field goal attempts, but neither team has a clear advantage in this category.|
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