Football team ranks as nation’s fifth-best backfield

TCU’s offensive backfield was ranked No. 5 in the nation by Lindy’s 2010 College Football Preview Monday in preparation for the upcoming football season.

The TCU offense is led by four-year starter Andy Dalton, the nation’s leader in wins (29) by an active quarterback. Dalton’s 29 victories also tie him with Slingin’ Sammy Baugh (1934-36) for the most in TCU history.

The 2009 Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Year, Dalton was named to a pair of All-America teams. He was also one of 10 finalists for the Manning Award, presented to the nation’s top quarterback.

Dalton was eighth in the nation in passing efficiency last season with a 151.8 rating. Among active quarterbacks, he ranks third in lowest career interception percentage (2.4, 24 picks in 1,001 attempts).

A senior from Katy, Texas, Dalton has led TCU to top-10 rankings each of the last two seasons. In 2009, he guided the Horned Frogs to their first BCS appearance.

Dalton set a single-season TCU record in 2009 with 2,756 yards passing, while his 61.6 completion percentage and 23 touchdown passes placed second. Dalton is the Horned Frogs’ all-time leader in passing yards with 7,457. His 603 completions, 44 touchdown passes and 60.2 completion percentage rank second.

A two-time bowl game Most Valuable Player, Dalton ranked fourth on TCU last season with 512 yards rushing on a 4.4 per carry average. He has 1,176 career yards on the ground.

Also returning to the TCU backfield this season are sophomores Matthew Tucker and Ed Wesley who rushed for 676 and 638 yards, respectively, as freshmen in 2009.

The TCU ground game will also be bolstered by Aundre Dean, Waymon James and Dwight Smith.

Dean, who sat out last season per NCAA transfer rules, was a prep teammate of Dalton at Katy High School. Dean was a Parade All-American and ranked as the sixth-best running back in the nation coming out of high school.

Limited by injuries, Dean played in six games for UCLA in 2008 before transferring to TCU. He will have three years of eligibility for the Horned Frogs.

James, who redshirted last season, was rated by as the second-best running back in Texas and the 10th-best back in the nation out of Sherman High School.

Smith was the Texas 3A Player of the Year after rushing for a Carthage High School record 2,820 yards and 43 touchdowns his senior season.

Lindy’s Top 10 Offensive Backfields
1. Alabama
2. Virginia Tech
3. Texas A&M
4. Ohio State
5. TCU
6. Houston
7. Arkansas
8. Washington
9. Oklahoma
10. Nevada