Let's take a look at how TCU and WVU matchup to each other by taking a look at home both teams have done in conference play. The Eers have played five Big 12 teams, sporting home victories against Kansas and Baylor, and road wins over Tech and Oklahoma State. The lone conference loss was back in September, to a then highly thought of OU team, who pulled away from a close game late amid a slough of WVU turnovers and on the back of Samaje Perine and his four touchdowns.
TCU meanwhile, has played four big 12 games, with big wins at home over Tech and OSU, a close victory over OU, and of course that thing that happened in Waco. The two teams already have four common opponents, so it should be fun to see how they fared against those squads. Let's take a look at them game by game.
Against West Virginia, the Sooners did the bulk of their damage on the ground, amassing 301 of their 510 yards through the running game. This was Perine's breakout game, as he ran 34 times for 242 yards and the aforementioned four scores, overcoming an average game from Trevor Knight and a subpar defensive effort. OU wrote the book on how to beat the Eers - control the clock, run, run, and run some more, and protect the rock. OU scored on a kick return as well. WVU out-gained the Sooners 513-510 and had an outstanding effort from Clint Trickett, who threw for 376 and two scores, but tossed two picks as well. The Mountaineer rushing game was stifled, as they only gained 137 yards on 40 attempts.
The Frogs vaulted themselves in to the national conversation after upsetting OU in Fort Worth when they were the fifth ranked team in the country. It was also a coming out party of sorts for Trevone Boykin, who used his arm and his legs to accumulate almost 400 yards. TCU saw eight different players catch passes, led by Kolby Listenbee who broke free for several big plays on his way to a 100 yard day. Boykin led the team in rushing with 77 yards, as B.J. Catalon and Aaron Green were mostly bottled up. Defensively, the Frogs corralled Perine, holding him 3.5 yards per carry, though he did score three times. TCU avoided an epic meltdown (that would come the next week sadly), as they had an extra point blocked and returned for a safety and turned the ball over on consecutive plays late in the fourth.
WVU had the benefit of facing OSU after a devastating loss to TCU in Fort Worth, and the lingering effects of that game did them in from the beginning. For a change, it was the Mountaineer running game that took control, as Wendell Smallwood had a career day. Clint Trickett didn't put up big numbers, and Kevin White only had three receptions, but the WVU defense had a solid day, forcing two ints and limiting the OSU ground game, outside of one long, 51 yard gain. The Mountaineers are a much different team on the road, and this was one of those game where they didn't play well, but were that much more talented than their opponent. The Eers used a big fourth quarter to turn a close game in to a blowout.
TCU played one of their best games of the year against OSU, earning a huge bounce back win after their first loss of the season. The Frogs limited OSU to nine points, and without a completed pass in the second half. All-American candidate Tyreek Hill was held without an impact play, and the special teams unit did an awesome job of keeping the ball away from him there, too. Trevone Boykin was almost perfect, completing over 80% of his passes, throwing for over 400 yards, dropping in three scores, and adding over 40 yards on the ground. B.J. Catalon had a great game as well, rushing for over 100 yards and two scores, and the Frog D was absolutely dominant - holding Daxx Garman to 132 on 25 attempts and forcing two picks. The OSU offense couldn't get anything going, managing only 258 yards.
In another example of their road team verses home team persona, WVU barely beat Tech in Lubbock, needing a late rally to secure a three point victory on a 55 yard field goal as time expired. I actually picked Tech in this game, before I knew they were a disaster, but that's beside the point. The WVU D, which has been pretty good, gave up 565 yards (the Red Raiders actually out-gained WVU in this game), and Davis Webb went off, throwing for almost 350 yards and three touchdowns. DeAndre Washnington ran for over 100 yards as Tech gained over 200 yards on the ground. Clint Trickett threw for 300 yards and two scores, Wendell Smallwood and Rushel Shell had over 100 yards apiece, and Kevin White went OFF, pulling in 13 receptions for 123 yards.
TCU... well, they ran out of fireworks. The 82 points was a Big 12 record, Boykin tossed seven touchdowns, and two backup running backs had over 100 yards. Tech looked like they would keep up in the first quarter, but after that? Butt. Whoopin. There's not much else to say, is there?
A loud cheer went up in the stadium as it was announced that the Eers had done what the Frogs couldn't, and help a fourth quarter lead. The team that could barely beat Tech dominated the Bears, holding Bryce Petty to a 24.2 QBR, drawing a record 215 yards in penalties, and allowing only 318 yards (which is far below Baylor's average). Clint Trickett had an excellent game, throwing for three scores and over 300 yards, mostly to Kevin White, who had an exceptional game. Baylor couldn't get the ground game going, and WVU blitzed effectively (something I expect to see a lot of Saturday), flustering Petty and limiting his deep ball attack.
Do we have to talk about this? TCU played an amazing offensive game for 49 minutes. They were good enough on defense for 49 minutes. And then.. Baylor happened. The combination of some questionable play calls, some questionable officiating (that came back to bite them a week later), and some Petty magic, led Baylor to an improbable comeback win at home. Boykin was very average, the running game was nothing to note, and only Kolby Listenbee really stood out. A B.J. Catalon return touchdown and a Marcus Mallett pick six were almost enough, but TCU wilted down the stretch and Shock Linwood gashed them in the fourth. We lost. I can't talk about this any more.
This should be a great matchup on Saturday. WVU has struggled on the road, but that won't be a factor, obviously. TCU has only played two road games, scored big in both of them, but will leave Texas for the first time all year and play in inclement weather. The tape shows two evenly matched teams, but only one will come out of the weekend still in the Big 12 title race.