Step Up: TCU

Nick Castillo

Defensive Backs

TCU junior quarterback Trevone Boykin is having a phenomenal year. This season, Boykin has thrown for 3,021 yards and 24 touchdowns and has run for 548 yards and seven touchdowns. Thanks to Boykin’s great play, the Horned Frogs rank eighth in the nation in passing offense, averaging 323.6 yards per game. Additionally, TCU ranks second in scoring offense, averaging 45.9 points a game.

Texas’ defensive backs are going to have to step up to stop Boykin and the Horned Frogs’ high flying offense. The Longhorns will have to stop TCU junior wide receivers Josh Doctson and Kolby Listenbee, who have caught a combined 10 touchdowns this season and amassed 1,229 receiving yards. Texas will have its hands full against TCU, but, if the defensive backs can contain the Horned Frogs’ passing attack, it’ll be in a good position to pull off the upset.

Running Backs

Entering the season, the Longhorns wanted their identity to be the running game. But after a few injuries and suspensions, the running game struggled for most of the season. But over the past three games, Texas has been able to run the ball efficiently.  Texas’ running backs — senior Malcolm Brown and junior Johnathan Gray — have rushed for 495 yards and seven touchdowns during its current three game winning streak.

The Longhorns need their running backs to play efficiently against the Horned Frogs. TCU’s rushing defense is solid, as it ranks 21st in the nation, holding its opponents to only 123.1 yards per game. Texas will need Brown and Gray to rush for more than that on Thanksgiving.

Special Teams

Texas head coach Charlie Strong has often asked his players if “that’s them on the field or imposters.”

That question has been most applicable to the Longhorn special teams. Texas’ unit has had a horrible season. Junior kicker Nick Rose has missed seven field goals. Senior punter Will Russ has a big leg but has struggled with accuracy and has since been replaced by senior Michael Davidson. The Longhorns have also given up big returns, including a kick return touchdown against Oklahoma.

Despite their struggles, the Longhorns can upset the Horned Frogs if the special teams can step up.