TCU’s defense should dominate UNLV

After the BCS standings came out this past week, Horned Frog fans were pleasantly surprised to see TCU ranked No. 4 in the nation. With a dominating win against the UNLV Rebels, the Frogs could leap Boise State, since the two teams are only separated by .0013 points in the BCS standings. UNLV has had a rough year. The team is 1-6, with its only win coming against New Mexico. TCU should use this opportunity to prepare for the massive showdown with Utah next weekend.

When TCU is on offense

The TCU rushing offense is one of the most effective in the country. It boasts a trio of young, talented running backs. Ed Wesley, a sophomore starter, could break the 1,000-yard mark on the season against UNLV. He is averaging an astounding seven yards per carry.

The UNLV defensive line is composed of mostly seniors, so the linemen have the experience. However, the line has little talent, except for senior defensive end Isaako Aaitui. Aaitui has NFL potential and must play the best game of his life to try to slow down the TCU rushing attack.

The UNLV pass rush is not particularly strong, so the TCU offensive line should be able to open rushing lanes and protect quarterback Andy Dalton. Dalton played well against Air Force, and has remained hot this season. Will Chandler is an excellent talent at cornerback for the Rebels, leading the team with four interceptions this season. The rest of the UNLV secondary is not as capable of covering the talented TCU receivers. Dalton will have a good game because there will be no pressure on him in the pocket.

When TCU is on defense

The TCU defense has only allowed 10 points in the past four games. Against a mediocre offense like UNLV’s, which is ranked No. 114 out of 120 teams nationally, the defense should be able to dominate. Even though the Horned Frogs lost nose tackle Kelly Griffin for the season due to injury, the defensive line should still be able to penetrate into the backfield and get tackles for loss and sacks.

Wayne Daniels leads the defensive line with nine tackles for loss and six sacks, so fans should expect another good performance out of him. Rebel quarterback Omar Clayton is nothing exceptional. He distributes the ball to the receivers well enough and will now be able to use his most talented receiver, Phillip Payne, who is back after a suspension. Payne is a tall, strong receiver who has good hands, but he is not a speed threat. Payne will be matched up against senior cornerback Jason Teague. Payne does not have a significant size advantage over Teague, and he will have to adjust to being back, so he should not be a key factor in the game. The UNLV running game is almost non-existent, so they will have a lot of trouble trying to run the ball against a rushing defense like TCU’s. The TCU defense will dominate all aspects of the game.

Allen Kellogg is a sophomore journalism major from Alexandria, Va.