TCU (4-1) at Baylor (3-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 13, 7:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Floyd Casey Stadium (50,000) -- Waco, Texas. Television: FSN. Home Record: TCU 2-1, Baylor 2-0. Away Record: TCU 2-0, Baylor 1-1. Neutral Record: TCU 0-0, Baylor 0-0. Conference Record: TCU 1-1, Baylor 0-1. Series Record: Series is tied, 50-50-7.
GAME NOTES: After snapping the nation's longest winning streak last week, the TCU Horned Frogs will try to get back on track on Saturday night when they travel to Waco to play the Baylor Bears in a Big 12 Conference showdown.
The 2012 season started off in spectacular fashion for TCU, which won its first four games to extend its winning streak to 12 games. As a result, the team climbed to No. 15 in the country. The Horned Frogs took a dive in the polls after suffering a 37-23 loss to visiting Iowa State last weekend. It was their first conference loss since Nov. 6 2008, a span of 25 games, although 24 of those wins came as a member of the Mountain West Conference.
Baylor also got off to a fast start, winning its first three games to sneak into the Top-25. In their first Big 12 bout of the season, the Bears found themselves on the losing end of the highest-scoring game in conference history by falling to West Virginia, 70-63, on Sept. 29. The loss ended an impressive win streak of their own, having won nine in a row dating back to last November. It was the second-longest streak in program history.
In an all-time series that spans more than 100 years, TCU and Baylor are remarkably all squared up at 50 wins apiece (with seven ties). The Bears defeated the Horned Frogs on opening day in 2011 in a shootout, 50-48.
A big reason for TCU's loss last week was due to the absence of starting quarterback Casey Pachall (948 yards, 10 TD, INT), who was suspended indefinitely prior to the game following an arrest on suspicion of DWI. The signal-caller will not play again this year as he is leaving school to seek treatment. Without Pachall in the lineup, expect the team's offensive numbers (30 ppg, 413.4 ypg) to continue to go down.
In Pachall's absence, Trevone Boykin threw for 270 yards, ran for 39 yards, and scored a touchdown against Iowa State, but he also completed just 23-of-40 passes and tossed three interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Early in the season, the Horned Frogs would get off to an early lead and then lean heavily on the running game, but that becomes increasingly harder to do if you're playing from behind. The team shares the love in the backfield, with five different players amassing 20 carries and at least 100 yards, paced by Matthew Tucker (52 carries, 208 yards, TD).
Brandon Carter leads the club in all receiving categories with 23 catches for 402 yards and four touchdowns, although Josh Boyce is right on his heels (22 receptions, 296 yards, three TDs).
TCU boasts one of the nation's top defense, allowing 13.2 ppg (10th-best in FBS) and 274.6 ypg (ninth), but without a reliable offensive attack last week, the unit struggled.
Devonte Fields is one of the league's best pass rushers with 9.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. Jason Verrett, Kenny Cain, and Elisha Olabode have all been busy in the turnover battle by recording multiple interceptions.
Even before its 63-point outburst in the loss to WVU, Baylor had one of the nation's best offenses. It now sits with the second-ranked offense in FBS both in terms of scoring (54.2 ppg) and yards (601.5 ypg), ranking behind only Oklahoma State in both categories.
Nick Florence had big shoes to fill by replacing Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Robert Griffin III, but he has already out-done his predecessor in one regard by throwing for a school-record 581 yards last week. His numbers through four games are astronomical (1,585 yards, 16 TDs), although he's thrown five interceptions over the past three games.
Florence's success has benefited the receiving corps, especially Terrance Williams, who broke the school record for receptions in a game (17) and the Big 12 record for receiving yards in a game (314) against WVU. He now has a team-best 34 reception and six touchdowns, and his 667 receiving yards is fourth-most in the country. Lanear Sampson (311 yards, three TDs) and Tevin Reese (424 yards, four TDs) are also having solid seasons.
Jarred Salubi (66 carries, 296 yards) and Glasco Martin (50 carries, 181 yards) have split time in the backfield, with most of the red-zone work going to Martin (five TDs).
The Bears surrendered a whopping 70 points and 807 yards to Geno Smith and the Mountaineers the last time out, and the defense is now hampered with dismal year-to-date statistics (39.8 ppg, 571.2 ypg).
Bryce Hager is one of the few standouts of the unit with 54 tackles, five tackles for loss, and two forced fumbles. Terrance Lloyd and Chris McAllister each have a pair of sacks.
This Big 12 battle is a classic example of offense versus defense. The Baylor defense has played so poorly this season that Boykin is sure to improve upon his debut performance, but if he continues to turn the ball over, the stout Horned Frogs defense will suffer from being put in difficult situations. It should be close, but expect the home crowd to give the Bears a boost.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Baylor 31, TCU 30
10/10 10:34:42 ET