Texas (4-4, 3-2) travels to Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth on Saturday to take on TCU (7-1, 4-1). The Longhorns have struggled moving the ball at times this year, and points figure to be at a premium in this contest. Let’s take a look at what to expect from a good TCU defense and special teams units:
The Horned Frogs defense will be based out a 3 man front, with Ben Banogu, Ross Blacklock and Chris Bradley occupying the defensive line positions. Banogu is a transfer from Louisiana-Monroe and is leading the team in sacks with 4.5. Blacklock will line up at nose tackle and has been very productive in his redshirt freshman season. Bradley is a 3 year starter who has 2 tackles for loss on the season. The trio are very stout against the run and do an excellent job of allowing their linebackers to fly around and make plays.
Ty Summers and Tavin Howard are two of my favorite defensive players in the Big 12. Howard was a first team All-Big 12 member in 2016 and has an incredible nose for the football. He has totaled 6.5 tackles for loss and leads the Horned Frogs in tackles with 60. Summers was a second team All-Big 12 member last season and has 2.5 tackles for loss through the first 8 games this year. Gary Patterson’s defense will mainly operate out a 3-2-5 look, with Summers and Howard being the only linebackers on the field. Howard in particular possesses great speed and always finds himself around the football.
Senior Ranthony Texada is in his third year as a starter and will hold down one of the corner positions. Texada is a physical corner, as evident by his 2 sacks and 22 tackles. Sophomore Jeff Gladney will start at the other corner position.
Nick Orr, Niko Small and Ridwan Issahaku will be the three safety starters for the Horned Frogs. Orr has made 34 career starts and ranks second on the team in tackles (43). Small and Issahaka have combined for 4 sacks and are very physical safeties.
It is going to be very tough for Texas to move the ball on Saturday. The experience and talent on the TCU defense is something they have not possessed in years. Gary Patterson knows the Longhorns struggle to protect the quarterback and run the ball, and you can bet he will do everything in his power to exploit that.
KaVontae Turpin is one of the most dangerous return men in the country. Turpin returned a kick for a touchdown last week and is averaging 35 yards a return. Turpin also handles punt returns and is averaging 16.3 yards per return.
Kicker Jonathan Song is a perfect 7 for 7 on field goals, with a long of only 39 yards. Punter Adam Nunez is averaging 38.6 yards per punt, with a long of 58 yards.