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Big 12 Football

Game Preview: #15 Texas @ TCU

Photo: Candi Bolden - Star-Telegram

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The Texas Longhorns (5-2, 3-1) travel to Fort Worth on Saturday to face in-state foe Texas Christian University (3-3, 1-2). Gary Patterson and the Horned Frogs have had the Longhorns’ number lately, winning four of the last five. Despite the defensive struggles Texas has experienced in the last few games, they still control their destiny as it relates to a berth in the Big 12 Championship Game on December 7th.  While that goal seems lofty at best, if Tom Herman can get things turned around in Cowtown it will help tremendously with team confidence down the stretch.

What: Texas Longhorns (5-2, 3-1 Big 12) vs. TCU Horned Frogs (3-3, 1-2 Big-12)
When: Saturday, October 26, 2019
Time:  2:30 PM CST
Venue: Amon G. Carter Stadium
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Television: FOX
The Line: Texas -1.5

Last Meeting Between the Two Teams: Texas defeated TCU 31-16 (November 22, 2018, Austin, TX)
All-Time Series Record: Texas leads TCU 63-25-1

The Coaches

TCU Horned Frogs

Head Coach:  Gary Patterson
Head Coaching Experience: 19th year as a head coach
Years as Head Coach at TCU:  19
Career Record:  170-66
Career Record at TCU:  170-66

Texas Longhorns

Head Coach:  Tom Herman
Head Coaching Experience: 5th year as a head coach
Years as Head Coach at Texas:  3
Career Record:  44-16
Career Record at Texas:  22-12

All that Matters is the Now

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” — Buddha

A lot has been said about the Texas program lately, particularly the defense, and rightfully so. Rumors of the beginning stages of a mutiny, reports of unhappiness among players for a variety of reasons, and supposed blatant disrespect between players and coaches have all surfaced. These rumors, reports, hearsay — while some or all of it may be true, the irrefutable fact about this team is that it has talent. A lot of it.  And despite the “doom and gloom” projected on this team by the media and fans, the team’s goal of reaching the Big 12 Championship is still alive.  Texas has lost two games, each by a touchdown, to the current #2 & #5 teams in the country. The wheels haven’t come close to falling off yet in Austin, and Saturday’s matchup provides ample opportunity for Tom Herman’s club to reestablish themselves in the Big 12 pecking order. Texas doesn’t need an epiphany to get the job done. It needs individual players to play their respective roles, and play them well, while simultaneously playing for the greater team good. It’s an easy concept to promote, but difficult to implement.

The Patterson Effect

Despite losing 3 of their last four games, TCU head coach Patterson will have his guys prepared for Texas.  He always does. Patterson is 5-2 against the Longhorns since TCU joined the Big 12 in 2012, and holds a 5-3 overall record against Texas. The Horned Frogs lost on the road last week 24-17 to Kansas State, but TCU typically bounces back the week following a loss. The Horned Frogs are 41-16 in regular season games following a loss under Gary Patterson.

The O&D Skinny – TCU

TCU’s defense is statistically the best in the Big 12 and ranks 11th nationally. They allow only 281 yards per game and will look to force Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger into making mistakes. TCU only has 11 sacks this season, but a Jeckyl & Hyde defensive line for Texas is prone to the sack, regardless of opponent. Senior DB Jeff Gladney will likely be tasked with covering Collin Johnson, which could prove to be an entertaining matchup. Sam Ehlinger threw for 399 yards and four touchdowns last week in the narrow win over Kansas, and he will likely need a big game against the TCU defense to notch the win.

True freshman quarterback Max Duggan leads the Horned Frog offense, which ranks seventh overall in the Big 12. While Duggan has thrown for nine touchdowns with no interceptions this season, he is averaging just over 200 yards passing per game. Patterson uses a run-heavy attack led by senior Darius Anderson.  Anderson has speed and power and has rushed for 6 TDs and 588 yards this season. After an impressive 2018 season, wide receiver Jalen Reagor is having a mediocre 2019 effort. The junior has 271 receiving yards and has caught three TD’s on the season. Despite Reagor’s current stats, he’s someone the Texas secondary must pay attention to as he is capable of making big plays.

Summary

This game hinges on the ability of the Texas defense or the capacity of TCU’s offense. Todd Orlando’s unit needs a makeover and Saturday’s effort will manifest a changed group, or more of the same. TCU offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie has kept Duggan in-check for the most part, but he will likely give the true freshman more leeway on Saturday in effort to exploit a struggling Texas secondary. If the Longhorns can leave Fort Worth with a win, they become bowl eligible for the third time in three years under Tom Herman.

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Aaron Carrara is the founder and publisher of HornSports and has covered University of Texas athletics since 2011. Aaron is a member of the Football Writer's Association of America and the U.S. Basketball Writer's Association and is a proud father to three boys.

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