TCU HORNED FROGS (1-1)
at TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (2-0)
Kickoff: Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET
Line: TCU -3, Total: 62
Two Texas teams, both with quarterback questions, square off Thursday night in Lubbock, when No. 24 TCU arrives without its starting quarterback to take on high-powered Texas Tech.
The Horned Frogs looked poised to be a force in the Big 12, but senior quarterback QB Casey Pachall broke his non-throwing arm and will be out up to eight weeks. Trevone Boykin who filled in for Pachall last season when he went to rehab, takes over again. Boykin has already faced the Red Raiders, throwing four touchdown passes in last year's crazy 56-53, triple-overtime win for TTU. Texas Tech comes into the game with slightly more appealing quarterback questions. Although the Red Raiders hope to have back sophomore QB Michael Brewer who has been out with a back injury, they don't have to force the issue thanks to Baker Mayfield, an emerging freshman walk-on. Mayfield has tossed seven touchdowns and no interceptions in his first two collegiate games. Although TCU is 0-2 ATS this year, that's actually good news considering Gary Patterson is still coaching. Patterson is 18-4 ATS after losing two or more consecutive games ATS, and 40-26 ATS after losing against the spread. Texas Tech will try to pressure Boykin and force the often-flustered sophomore to turn the ball over. Since 1992, TCU is a dreadful 24-44 ATS when they commit two turnovers. The Red Raiders have had success in the past against TCU at home going 3-0 ATS & SU since 1993, including a 70-35 beatdown in the last Lubbock meeting in 2004.
Which Texas school will come out on top for Thursday's matchup? For the answer, connect to College Football Best Bets for all the StatFox Experts picks throughout the 2013 regular season and bowl season. The experts have a combined 59% ATS (20-14) mark in the first two weeks of the college football season, highlighted by StatFox Brian's 71% ATS (5-2) record and StatFox Scott's 70% ATS mark (7-3), which includes a 4-1 ATS record in games that are not featured on the marquee games grid published on Page 11 in the Platinum Sheet.
Boykin will need to do a better job than last year when he completed just 57% of his passes with 15 TD and 10 INT, but he did shine against Texas Tech by completing 26-of-44 passes for 332 yards (7.5 YPA), 4 TD and 2 INT. The Horned Frogs do get an added element of a versatile quarterback that Pachall did not really provide for his team. TCU hasn't been quite as dynamic as some would have thought and have started 0-2 ATS, which includes a 21-point win against Southeast Louisiana as 43-point favorite. This trend goes back over the past three years where the Horned Frogs are 10-17 ATS overall and 6-13 ATS as a favorite. TCU will also need to get a running game going, which has been lackluster thus far this year (141 rush YPG). Sophomore B.J. Catalon and senior Waymon James are the two leading rushers for the Horned Frogs but have just 183 yards combined thus far. Catalon did run well against the Red Raiders last year though, piling up 72 yards on 12 carries (6.0 YPC).
To complement the seven touchdowns thrown by Mayfield, the frosh has thrown for 780 yards, which is good for third in the FBS. Those numbers really jump out, but the critics will bring up that these gaudy stats have come against some lesser opponents being SMU and Stephen F. Austin. Mayfield's favorite target has been the explosive Eric Ward. Ward has hauled in 16 catches for 186 yards and has now elapsed over 2,000 yards over his career. In last year's triple-overtime win over TCU, Ward caught six passes for 61 yards and three touchdowns. Unlike their foes, the Red Raiders are 2-0 ATS and have covered both games easily. Also over the last 3 years, Tech is 14-13 ATS overall, but 3-1 ATS when the spread is between +3 to -3.