The Frogs face a tough challenge

After rolling over UNLV 48-6 last week, the Horned Frogs face their toughest challenge this season in unbeaten Utah. The Utes jumped to No. 5 in the BCS standings after defeating Air Force, 28-23. This sets up the first Top-10 matchup in Mountain West Conference history. The team that wins this game will have the opportunity to play in a BCS game and possibly the national championship. The loser will have to struggle to make up ground in the standings and will most likely not make it to a BCS game.

When TCU is on offense

The Utes have a strong defense this year and it will be intriguing to watch them play against a TCU offense that has recently hit its stride. The key matchup will be on the offensive and defensive lines. The TCU offensive line is anchored by senior center Jake Kirkpatrick and senior offensive tackle Marcus Cannon, both NFL prospects. Left guard Kyle Dooley is recovering from a sprained knee, but is expected to start.

The offensive line must protect Andy Dalton from the 10th-best pass defense in the nation. Utah has 23 sacks and ranks 12th in the nation and leads the MWC. The offensive line must keep Dalton upright to prevent him from being shaken and turning the ball over.

Turnovers will be a key factor in deciding the winner of the game. Last week against Air Force, Utah forced five turnovers. If the Utes do anything like that against TCU,it will be a rough day for Horned Frog fans. TCU has had a lot of success running the football this season and sophomore Ed Wesley is one of the best running backs in the country. Utah will have to stop the run in order to force Dalton to throw the ball downfield. Dalton has been playing well lately, and two of Utah’s safeties were banged up earlier this week.

When TCU is on defense

The Horned Frog defense has been near perfect the past five games, allowing only 16 total points. The team’s toughest test will come against Utah. Utah’s offense is ranked 21st in total offense, averaging almost 450 yards per game.Kyle Whittingham, Utah’s head coach, has said his team is going to use the entire playbook against TCU, so Gary Patterson’s defense must be prepared for anything. Utah will most likely look to run the ball early to wear down the TCU defense. Utah has two bruising senior running backs, Eddie Wide and Matt Asiata. Both backs are averaging roughly five yards per carry. The TCU defensive line will have to prevent Utah’s offensive line from moving up its blocks so that linebackers Tank Carder and Tanner Brock can make plays. Safety Tejay Johnson has been nominated for The Jim Thorpe Award, which is given to the best defensive back in the nation. Johnson will have to help support against the run and make plays in the secondary. Senior defensive end Wayne Daniels and the rest of the defensive line will have to pressure Utah quarterback Jordan Wynn. Wynn has played well this season, completing 69 percent of his passes with 13 touchdowns. If Wynn has time to throw the ball, the Utah offense will be able to score more than the 16 points TCU has allowed against its other MWC opponents.

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