Photo Courtesy: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
After a titillating game against a ranked Kansas State Wildcats squad, the Texas Longhorns will look to provide themselves with a little bit more of a cushion this weekend against the TCU Horned Frogs. Today, our Devon Messinger and Dylan DeRaud name their X-factors to watch out for in the YouTube video above.
Texas’ biggest X-factor on Saturday is Quinn Ewers. Let’s not overthink this. With the sophomore quarterback back in his first start in a few weeks, the Longhorns gunslinger will look to shake off some rust in his homecoming game, having been raised in Southlake, TX – just a 30 minute drive from Ft. Worth. The TCU defense has been middle-of-the-pack in terms of quality this year, however the Longhorns have tended to play to the level of their competition this season. As a result, Ewers will need to have a strong showing and stay efficient, something that the Longhorns offense has been struggling with in his absence.
For TCU to pull off the upset over Texas, the X-factor of the game comes down to turnovers and takeaways, particularly revolving around TCU’s young quarterback, Josh Hoover. TCU is ranked second in the Big 12 for turnovers, largely due to Hoover’s propensity for throwing an interception in every game he has started. His tendency to force throws into tight windows raises questions about his decision-making, and Texas’s secondary will need to be ready to capitalize on any mistakes. The outcome hinges on whether Hoover can avoid getting in his own way, as his performance will play a significant role in determining TCU’s fate.
On the flip side, Texas’s defense is a force to be reckoned with, tied for third in the Big 12 in takeaways, averaging 1.7 per game. While TCU boasts offensive weapons and a quarterback with impressive arm talent, the ultimate question is whether Hoover can resist the urge to force throws into challenging areas. Be on the lookout for a possible Chandler Morris appearance if Hoover continues to gift the Texas offense with extra possessions on Saturday.