TCU Horned Frogs (6-4 SU, 4-6 ATS) vs. No. 18 Texas Longhorns (8-2 SU, 5-5 ATS)
College Football Week 13
Date/Time: Thursday November 22nd, 2012. 7:30PM Eastern
Where: Texas Memorial Stadium Austin, T.X.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: TCU +8.5/TEX -8.5
Over/Under Total: OFF
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The TCU Horned Frogs will take the short trip to Austin to meet the no. 18 Texas Longhorns this Thursday night for some late Thanksgiving Day football. Speaking of Thanksgiving, I know Coach Mack Brown has a lot to be thankful for this year. After two extremely disappointing seasons with a combined 13-12 record, many Longhorns fans were calling for the end of Mack Brown’s tenure in Austin. However, Brown and the Longhorns have bounced back this season to put together a rather quiet 8-2 SU mark. Not only is Brown thankful to be out of the coaching hot seat, but the Longhorns can be thankful for renewed national prominence.
This week Texas looks to continue their quest towards a 10 win season over an in-state foe in TCU. Despite the short distance between the two schools, the Longhorns and Horned Frogs have not met since the 2007 season when Texas captured a 34-13 victory. Of course both schools will become much more familiar with each other going forward since TCU’s acceptance into the Big 12 meaning these two formidable opponents could blossom into a respectable football rivalry once again.
The Longhorns have put together 4 straight wins since losing back to back against West Virginia and Oklahoma earlier this year. Defensive momentum can be contributed to the 4 game winning streak. After giving up 49 points on average in the first 3 conference games this year, the Longhorns defense has regrouped to hold opponents to just 46 points combined in the last 3 conference games. That improvement in the play on the defensive side of the football has paid huge dividends for Texas during the 2nd half of the year.
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Offensively, Texas has been solid all season averaging 457 yards and 39 points per game. The offense has been very balanced averaging 192 yards on the ground (38th in FBS) and 265 yards through the air (42nd in FBS). Additionally, QB David Ash has played really well over the last two games hitting 36 of 50 passing for 628 yards with 5 touchdowns and 0 picks. Ash was benched in the 4th quarter of the Kansas win after hitting just 50% passing and tossing 2 picks against the Jayhawks. However since that point, Ash has found his confidence and throwing the football extremely well which will need to continue for Texas to keep their winning streak alive.
However, Texas’ offense will get one of their biggest challenges of the season this week against the TCU Horned Frogs. Coach Gary Patterson has built a defensive reputation during his tenure in Fort Worth. Despite having a young football team, TCU has still been one of the better teams in the country on the defensive side of the football allowing just 326 total yards per game (16th in FBS). This TCU defense held Kansas State to just 23 points in their 23-10 loss in the last outing and they can make things difficult for Texas especially up front with pressure on Ash.
Still, the Horned Frogs must find a way to turn things around on offense to pull off the upset this Thursday. TCU has been held to just 24 points in their last two losses and they will be going against an improved Longhorns defense this Thursday. The youth factor I alluded to earlier has definitely been felt more on offense for Coach Patterson’s team this season. Freshman QB Trevone Boykin has experienced growing pains completing just 58% passing for 1,540 yards with 14 scores and 8 picks on the season. Boykin has tossed at least 1 pick in each of the last 4 games and those turnovers have been costly. Additionally, TCU has struggled at times in the running game as well. Freshman tailback B.J Catalon leads the team with just 445 rushing yards on the season and as a team TCU averages 155 yards on the ground (72nd in FBS). Therefore, the Horned Frogs need some young guys to step up to get this offense rolling.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I know Texas has played well in recent weeks but that has been against some weaker opponents. I believe TCU’s defense keeps this game close and I also like the fact that Texas is just 8-15-1 ATS in their last 24 games at home. Take TCU +8.5
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