TCU vs. WVU Has Shootout Written All Over It
WVU travels to Fort Worth Texas to take on Gary Patterson and the TCU Horned Frogs.
The Mountaineers face their biggest test since opening the season at FedEx Field against Virginia Tech. Gary Patterson and the TCU Horned Frogs have impressed the nation with a 4-0 start.The Horned Frogs were picked by the Big 12 media to finish fifth in the conference, and with their quick start, it shapes up to be the biggest game of the season for WVU thus far.
Both teams are coming off of a bye week, some may be concerned not knowing what the week off will do to the Mountaineers, but coaches believe it could not have come at a better time.
“Hopefully we can get healthy.” WVU defensive coordinator Tony Gibson said. “That’s the biggest thing, we needed it. It’s not like it broke up any momentum of us playing really well so it came at the right time.” Gibson concluded.
Another concern for the Mountaineers, is the run game. The Mountaineers have struggled defending the run this season, allowing 226 yards a game to opponents. There are a few things you can blame for the lack of run stopping. One being missed tackles, because Head Coach Dana Holgorsen knows it has nothing to do with the scheme.
“It’s not scheme because we’ve been pretty good against the run here over the last two years. So, you didn’t see me sweat about it. Like I said, we have to do a better job up front of holding gaps, which we have depth, we need guys to step up and be real dudes.” Holgorsen said.
The Horned Frogs have averaged a whopping 232 rushing yards per game. That is first amongst the Big 12. Gary Patterson and the Horned Frogs have a quick and shifty, down hill runner in Darius Anderson who is third in the Big 12 in rushing and is averaging 6.2 yards a carry. Hard to be optimistic about that when the Mountaineers have given up 5.3 yards a carry to opposing runners.
TCU Quarterback Kenny Hill does not make stopping the run any easier. Hill had a forgettable game in Morgantown last year, a forgettable season rather, but the Senior from South Lake, TX has bounced back, and has become the greatest threat to the TCU offense. Though Hill has not found a specific “go-to” receiver, the Horned frogs have spread the ball around for Hill’s nine touchdowns on the season. But Hill’s athleticism is what makes this an intriguing matchup. The Mountaineers have struggled with dual-threat quarterbacks in the past, and we all saw it against Josh Jackson and Virginia Tech. Hill has made himself comfortable in the pocket this season compared to years past, but with his ability to run, you have to expect he will take every opportunity to keep the TCU offense moving.
The strength of Gary Patterson’s team lies on defense. The horned Frogs have the number three defense in the Big 12, and are especially talented when it comes to stopping the run. Thru five weeks TCU is allowing 95 yards to opponents on the ground. That is a big fall off from the 231 the Mountaineers are averaging this season, but do not expect Offensive coordinator Jake Spavital to keep the ball out of running backs Justin Crawford and Kennedy McKoy’s hands. Quarterback Will Grier will need a big game to keep the Mountaineers rolling.
With the way the Mountaineers have tackled and played on defense the first four weeks of the season; combined with TCU’s ability to give up the big play, this has all the makings of a classic Big 12 shootout.