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Scouting Report: TCU

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Following a wild shootout win in Lubbock, Texas returns home to welcome a TCU team who had struggles of their own in their Big 12 opener against Iowa State, a 37-34 defeat. The Horned Frogs will bring an experienced QB and a veteran coach who knows how to beat the Longhorns. Let’s take a look at what to expect from TCU:

Offense

The TCU offense is led by sophomore QB Max Duggan, who is coming off a good freshman season. Duggan had an eventful offseason, dealing with the diagnosis of a heart condition that raised doubt whether he would play this season. He ended up being cleared to play and picked up right where he left off after sitting out the first half against Iowa State, completing 16 of 19 passes for 241 yards and 3 touchdowns to go along with 1 interception on a pass that should have been caught. There is no reason to expect Duggan to be limited in any capacity on Saturday and he will almost assuredly be starting. One thing to keep in mind is Duggan killed Texas on the ground in their matchup a season ago (13 carries for 72 yards and a TD) and the Horned Frogs would be smart to implement as much QB run game as they can considering the Longhorns have not faced mobile QB’s in their first two games.

The Horned Frogs are replacing their two leading rushers from a season ago, Darius Anderson and Sewo Olonilau, and spread carries around to several different running backs this past weekend. Emari Demercado led the team with 8 carries for 39 yards, but redshirt freshman Dawin Barlow looked good in limited action (3 carries for 21 yards). 

At receiver, TCU is looking to fill a big void left by Jalen Reagor’s departure to the NFL. Taye Barber led the team in catches against the Cyclones with 5 for 82 yards and a TD. He is very dangerous in the slot. Many Texas fans may recall the name Quentin Johnston. The freshman from Temple flipped his commitment from the Longhorns to TCU just before signing day and is already making his presence felt in Fort Worth, catching a touchdown in his first career game. TE Pro Wells will also get involved in the passing game and had a touchdown against the Longhorns last season.

If there is one area of concern for TCU on offense, it is the offensive line. The Horned Frogs allowed 7 sacks against Iowa State and were giving up constant pressure throughout the game. A few of the sacks can be attributed to backup QB Matthew Downing playing the entire first half and not playing well, but tackles Andrew Coker and Austin Myers struggled all afternoon with giving up pressure to Iowa State’s defensive ends. Joseph Ossai was close to getting home on Alan Bowman several times this past Saturday and will have another golden opportunity to make his presence felt.

Defense

TCU did not play as well as many expected on the defensive side of the ball in their season opener. Iowa State RB Breece Hall had a monster game (18 carries for 155 yards and 3 TD’s) thanks to some questionable run defense by TCU’s linebackers and safeties. Despite their struggles overall, LB Garret Wallow is still one of the best linebackers in the conference and Texas had no answer for him in 2019. Dee Winters is in his first full season as the starter at middle linebacker and has flashed a lot of potential. One wildcard Texas will have to be aware of is LSU transfer Marcel Brooks, who is another difference maker the Horned Frogs have at linebacker. Brooks did not play against Iowa State but it would be very Gary Paterson like to unleash him against the Longhorns.

On the backend of the defense, Trevon Moehrig and Ar’Darius Washington might be the best safety duo in the Big 12. Cornerbacks Noah Daniels and Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson took their lumps against the Cyclones, so it would not be surprising if they received a little more help from Moehrig and Washington this weekend.

Overall Thoughts

Most college football experts agree teams make their biggest improvement from game 1 to game 2. For Texas, it was not true at all as they got everything they could handle from Texas Tech. It remains to be seen if TCU will clean up some of the issues that surfaced week 1, but it’s hard to bet against a Gary Patterson coached team fixing what needs to be fixed, especially defensively. TCU has historically owned the Longhorns since joining the Big 12, so Texas will have to show major improvements both on the field and in their game plans or they will be in for another rollercoaster ride Saturday afternoon. 

Jameson McCausland is originally from Frisco, Texas, where he grew up a Longhorn fan. His two favorite sports are football and baseball, both of which he covers for HornSports. He enjoys spending time with family and friends in his spare time. Jameson is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.

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