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Matchups to Watch: TCU vs. Baylor

Can the Horned Frogs salvage their season after a 1-3 start?

NCAA Football: Baylor at Texas Christian Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

After dropping its third straight home game of the 2020 season against the Oklahoma Sooners this past weekend, the TCU football team is off to its worst start since 1999. Now 1-3 overall, the Horned Frogs desperately need a victory to steer their season back on track, and they’ll attempt to do that when they face their rival Baylor Bears on Saturday.

Baylor fell 27-16 against Texas this past weekend, and the team had previously been forced to temporarily halt football activities due to the coronavirus. As a result, the Bears couldn’t play their scheduled home game against Oklahoma State on Saturday, Oct. 17. Nevertheless, Baylor has started 1-2 under first-year head coach Dave Aranda.

The Bears nearly saw their top two running backs opt out of the 2020 season. Both John Lovett and Trestan Ebner had reportedly opted out before The Dallas Morning News reported Monday that Lovett and Ebner will be available this Saturday against TCU. The two rushers have combined for 146 yards and two touchdowns on the ground thus far.

TCU’s lone victory this season came on the road against Texas. Can the Horned Frogs record another win away from The Carter? Here are three matchups to watch.

Khari Coleman vs. Casey Phillips

TCU’s true freshman pass rusher will be coming off a strong effort against Oklahoma, having totaled eight tackles and his first sack as a Horned Frog. Coleman has been working off the right side of the defensive line opposite Ochaun Mathis, and he was recently named the starter over Parker Workman. Coleman will look to pressure Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer, but he’ll need to get past left tackle Casey Phillips first.

Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson vs. R.J. Sneed

Top cornerback Noah Daniels had been off to a tremendous start to his season, but he was sadly sidelined against Oklahoma with a lower-body injury that head coach Gary Patterson said will probably keep him out for the remainder of the year. Without Daniels, TCU will need sophomore Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, the nephew of Horned Frog legend LaDainian Tomlinson, to step up and fill the team’s No. 1 cornerback role. He’ll be tasked with covering Baylor wide receiver R.J. Sneed, who has 15 catches for 161 yards and one touchdown.

Gary Patterson vs. Dave Aranda

Both Patterson and Aranda are known for their defensive minds. Before earning the head coaching position with the Bears, Aranda was the defensive coordinator at LSU, helping guide the Tigers to a College Football Playoff Championship. Aranda also led top-tier defenses at Utah State and Wisconsin. Both coaches will be locked in on defense this weekend, and it’s fair to assume this year’s TCU-Baylor matchup could be a low-scoring affair. But will either coach pull a rabbit out of his hat and call a game-changing play?