A Look At The Match-Ups & Unit Battles Between WVU and TCU
West Virginia vs Texas Christian
West Virginia rushing offense vs. TCU run defense
Gary Patterson constructed the Horned Frogs with a strong defense, but last year that defense dipped, particularly against the run, where they gave up an average of 186 yards per game. So far this season it appears TCU again has a strong run D, as it leads the Big 12 in fewest rushing yards allowed, giving up just 94.5 per game. That includes allowing Arkansas’ normal strong rushing attack just 129 yards. WVU ground game will be the strongest TCU has faced to date, though, as West Virginia (231.0 ypg, 2nd in Big 12) has rushed for over 200 yards in each of its first four games.
West Virginia passing offense vs. TCU pass defense
TCU’s defense against the pass put up strong numbers against FCS-level Jackson State (41) and Arkansas (138). But when the Horned Frogs came up against high-powered passing attacks in SMU (339) and Oklahoma State (398), cracks began to show. West Virginia’s own passing attack has proven very capable itself so far this season, as it is averaging 363.8 yards per game and threw for at least 330 yards against each of its first four foes.
Advantage: West Virginia
TCU rushing offense vs. West Virginia run defense
WVU’s defense against the run wasn’t great in its first three games (179.9 ypg), but then it got gashed for 367 yards on the ground by Kansas. Not great turned to downright awful. TCU thought its ground attack may struggle at Oklahoma State without starting RB Kyle Hicks. But backup Darius Anderson stepped in and rushed for a career-high 160 yards to lead TCU to a win at Stillwater and earn the Big 12 offensive player of the week honor in the process.
TCU passing offense vs. West Virginia pass defense
Admittedly WVU’s defense against the pass this year (225.0 ypg, 4th in the Big 12) has been inconsistent. But so has TCU’s passing offense (264.8 ypg, 9th in the Big 12). Horned Frog quarterback Kenny Hill has been solid (73 percent completions, 9:3 TD:INT ratio) but with just one completion of over 38 yards, he hasn’t been the big play machine he was earlier in his career at Texas A&M.
TCU special teams vs. West Virginia special teams
WVU leads the Big 12 in kickoff returns (28.2), but against TCU, the Mountaineers will face the Big 12’s best KO coverage units. TCU does have a punt return advantage (7.0-4.0), but WVU has an advantage in net punting (38.4-32.9).
Both teams had an open date before their meeting on Oct. 7 in Fort Worth. The series between the two is tied at 3-3 overall and 1-1 at Amen G. Carter Stadium. TCU is 244-166-16 all-time at Carter, which is technically 87 years old but was completely renovated in 2012. From 2012-14, two of the three games between WVU/TCU went to OT and the other was decided by just one point.
It remains to be seen if TCU is as good as it was in 2014 and ‘15, when it finished in the top 10. But there’s no doubt that the Horned Frogs are much better than they were last year, when they slipped to 6-7. This will be West Virginia’s biggest test since its opener against Virginia Tech and it figures to go a long way in determining whether the Mountaineers will contend for a Big 12 title or be a middle of the pack club this year.
Predicted Score: TCU-42 West Virginia-37