Virginia (2-1) at (17) TCU (2-0)|
Saturday, September 22, 12:00 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Phil Neuffer, Associate College Football Editor
GAME NOTES: TCU grabbed its first win against a Big 12 opponent as a member of
the conference last week, but this week the 17th-ranked Horned Frogs will
welcome the Virginia Cavaliers of the ACC to Amon G. Carter Stadium for a non-
After opening the season 2-0, Virginia was brought down to Earth last weekend
as the Cavaliers were routed 56-20 on the road against Georgia Tech. It was a
difficult loss for the Cavaliers who are coming off an 8-5 season in which
they made a bowl appearance. Part of that success came from a 4-1 mark on the
Last week Kansas welcomed TCU into the Big 12 and the Horned Frogs were able
to win, pulling out a 20-6 decision despite struggling on offense.
"Everybody said, 'When you go into the Big 12, you have to play your best
ball game every day to win games," head coach Gary Patterson said, "I'm not
sure if we did that."
The margin of victory was particularly surprising considering the Horned Frogs
posted a 56-0 win against Grambling State and were playing a Kansas team that
won only two games all of last season. Still the win extended the Horned
Frogs' winning streak to 10 games, which is the best such streak in the
Virginia has never faced TCU in Fort Worth with the only two previous meetings
coming on the road for the Horned Frogs. Those two contests were split with
the Frogs taking a 30-14 win in the 2009 season-opener and the Cavaliers
posting a 20-10 win in the 1994 Independence Bowl.
As an offense Virginia has been near the middle of the ACC in production this
season. The Cavaliers are sixth in total offense (379 ypg) and seventh in
scoring (26.7 ppg). Those numbers took a dip after the performance against
Georgia Tech last weekend. Virginia managed only 297 total yards in the game
and scored 13 of their 20 points in the fourth quarter when the outcome of the
game was all but decided.
Starting quarterback Michael Rocco struggled against the Yellow Jackets,
completing only 15-of-25 passes for 143 yards, while being intercepted twice.
Backup Phillip Sims directed some series in the second half to moderate
success by completing 6-of-8 attempts for 56 yards and two touchdowns.
Kevin Parks turned in the most productive day on offense with 87 all-purpose
yards in the game. He led the team in both rushing (53 yards) and receiving
If the offense was bad, the defense was worse in the loss. The Cavaliers gave
up 594 total yards in the loss, 461 yards on the ground and seven rushing TDs.
Virginia is now ranked near the bottom of the ACC in scoring defense (30.3,
9th) and total defense (407.7 ypg). The team's struggles were not unique to
the matchup with Georgia Tech as the Cavaliers have given up huge chunks of
yards all season long, including a conference-worst 868 passing yards.
Anthony Harris led the team with eight total tackles against Georgia Tech but
the Cavaliers really struggled to get into the backfield and slow the Yellow
Jackets ground attack. Jake Snyder recorded a sack in the game, to go with
seven tackles, which was the only tackle for loss recorded by the Cavaliers in
TCU has played only two games this season making their offensive totals seem
small but the per-game numbers are strong. The Horned Frogs are averaging 38
points and 509 yards per game so far. However in the Big 12, a conference with
some lethal passing offenses, the Horned Frogs are ranked third to last in
scoring and seventh in total offense.
Those offensive numbers were largely influenced by the matchup with Kansas.
The Horned Frogs still piled up 487 yards of total offense but four turnovers
and a 3-for-7 effort in the red zone kept TCU from putting up a more decisive
victory. The Horned Frogs also struggled on third down with a 2-for-10
"We came out a little flat,"quarterback Casey Pachall said. "We were just
shooting ourselves in the foot. We felt like they couldn't stop us, but at the
same time, we were stopping ourselves."
Pachall himself was not flat in the game, completing 24-of-30 passes for 335
yards and a touchdown. Pachall has now completed 84.6 percent of his pass
attempts this season. By completing his first five passes against Kansas,
Pachall set a TCU record with 16 consecutive completions dating back to the
2011 Poinsettia Bowl.
Brandon Carter was able to find openings in the Kansas defense all day,
catching eight balls for 141 yards and two scores, while Waymon James came
just a yard short of 100 yards rushing on 12 carries.
Under Gary Patterson, TCU has been a team known for defense and that hasn't
seemed to change with a shift to the Big 12. Against Kansas, despite giving up
380 yards of offense,. the Horned Frogs only gave up two field goals by
constantly getting off the field on third down. In the game Kansas converted
only 2-of-13 chances on third down and failed to score a touchdown on three
red zone trips. Joel Hasley led the team with a career-high 12 tackles,
including a pair of sacks.
Through two games TCU is the top team in the Big 12 in scoring defense (3.0
ppg) and second in total defense (225 ypg).
TCU clearly has a strong defense and a quarterback in Pachall that can win the
Horned Frogs' ball games. Virginia is a team that is solid but in a hostile
environment may struggle to get stops on defense and to produce on offense. If
TCU fixes its troubles with turnovers, the Horned Frogs will coast to a win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: TCU 35, Virginia 21
09/19 10:44:57 ET