Five Questions: TCU vs. Texas Tech

Five Questions: TCU vs. Texas Tech

1. Can TCU put together back-to-back well-rounded performances?

Consistency is something fans have not seen out of TCU this season, on either side of the ball. Last week’s game was the first time the Frogs kept a clean sheet in the turnover category in 2012. After a convincing win against Grambling State in the season opener, the Frogs struggled with penalties, turnovers, and lulls on both sides of the ball. That all stopped in the Baylor game. Against arguably the best team on the schedule thus far, taking care of the ball will be even more important than in weeks past.

2. Which team will spread the ball around more effectively on offense?

Both offenses can put up points, and each has its own unique set of playmakers. However, Saturday’s game is a rare Big 12 contest, in that it could become a defensive struggle. TCU spread the ball to 11 different offensive players in last week’s win over Baylor, while 14 different Red Raiders touched the ball on offense in their upset of West Virginia. With two stout defenses squaring off, neither offense can rely on a select few weapons. Saturday’s winner will likely be the team that more effectively spreads the ball around and puts together the most creative offensive playbook. One thing we can expect from the game is a lot of names in the box score.

3. Which defense will have better success on third down?

Texas Tech leads the nation in third down conversion rate. The Red Raiders have been successful on nearly 57 percent of their third down tries in 2012. The Horned Frog offense ranks no. 40 in the country on the season, with a conversion rate of just under 45 percent. However, TCU comes off a game last week in which it converted 14 of 19 third downs, and quarterback Trevone Boykin completed every third down pass he attempted. The Red Raider defense held West Virginia to 9-21 on third down tries last week. The Frogs dominated in the time of possession category against Baylor, and the defense will have to end drives on third down if they want to do the same this week.

4. How will Stansly Maponga’s foot injury affect his play?

Maponga suffered a foot injury against Baylor last week and didn’t return to the game. He was the only defensive player for the Frogs that saw his name in the pre-season All-Big 12 honor roll, and though his numbers are down this season, teams still have to account for his presence coming off the edge on the pass rush. If Maponga can’t play, Patterson said freshman Josh Carraway would see time in that spot. Even if Maponga is on the field, his effectiveness may be hindered by the injury. Mid-season All-American Devonte Fields could be slowed by double-teams if the Frogs don’t see production from Maponga’s position on the defensive line. The defense takes a serious hit if Maponga is not a factor against an offense that scores 40 points per game.

5. What will TCU’s “home-field advantage” be throughout the game?

In what is likely to be a rowdy fan atmosphere, TCU fans will need to bring enthusiasm to Amon Carter Stadium. Head coach Gary Patterson said Tuesday that the team builds off of an emotional crowd of Horned Frog fans. There will likely be just that, but a strong following of Texas Tech fans will likely also be in the building. Saturday could be one of the rowdiest crowds that has filled Amon Carter stadium in recent past, and the stadium atmosphere could be a difference-maker for either team in a close game.