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October 19, 2012TCU, ranked 23rd in the first BCS standings, hosts No. 17 Texas Tech on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. It'll only be the Frogs' third meeting with the Red Raiders since 1995. TCU beat Texas Tech 12-3 in 2006, the last time the two teams played.
Here's my weekly 20 observations, thoughts and notes leading up to kickoff:
1. How good was Trevone Boykin last week at Baylor? Forget the fact he led his team to a decisive conference win in his first career road start, and forget the fact he bounced back from a rough game against Iowa State. Focus on this: He was 14-for-14 passing for four touchdowns on third down. Gutsy performance by the redshirt freshman.
2. As nicknames go, Deuce Boogie is at least interesting, if not pretty solid. Boykin's Twitter handle has seemed to stick among Frog fans.
3. All that said, before you fire up the Boykin Heisman campaign, remember this: The Baylor defense isn't very good. At all. Three weeks ago, it gave up 70 points to a great West Virginia offense. Problem is, that same West Virginia defense was held to 14 points last week against Texas Tech.
4. Speaking of the Texas Tech defense, I think the key matchup Saturday will be the Red Raiders' linebackers' ability to contain Boykin, and how Boykin counters pressure from them. Against Iowa State, A.J. Klein and, especially, Jake Knott were able to pressure Boykin once he scrambled out of the pocket, forcing him into several bad throws and narrowing his margin of error. That didn't happen much last week against the Bears.
5. Stansly Maponga will still be a gametime decision, and it could remain that way the rest of the season. Patterson said Tuesday the junior defensive end will probably need surgery after the season to repair a foot injury he suffered in the first half against Baylor. At this point, it's simply a matter of how much pain Maponga can tolerate, Patterson said.
6. Even if Maponga plays Saturday, he likely won't see near the workload he usually does. That means someone will have to fill in. True freshman Josh Carraway probably won't start, but Patterson said Carraway could start seeing more involvement in the position in practice, coming up from the scout team.
7. Hard to argue SI.com naming Devonte Fields a second team midseason all-American. Fields, the only true freshman named to either the first of second team, leads the Big 12 in sacks with 6.5.
8. Skye Dawson was one of the two players available at Tuesday's press luncheon, and I couldn't help asking him just how hard it is to field a punt. Sounds simple, but is it? Think about: Not only do you have to catch the ball, but you have to do it with an entire coverage team barreling your way, regain composure and try to put together a decent return.
"It's a lot harder looking outside in," he said. "But taking so many reps in practice throughout the whole summer, it just comes natural."
When the conditions worsen, Dawson said his focus has to sharpen even more.
"You have to zone in, especially like at SMU when the ball's slippery and the field is wet, you really have to focus in on it," Dawson said. "Not everything goes as planned."
9. Last week, I mentioned Dawson could be key for the TCU offense on returns because he would be able to give the Frogs the advantage in the field position battle. That's partly because I didn't think TCU would be able to get into a shootout with the Bears. This week, I think they can keep up with Tech in a shootout, considering how Boykin has developed over the past couple weeks. But Dawson still will be key, obviously.
10. The last time these two teams met, TCU shut down the Red Raiders, 12-3. Texas Tech would go onto finish 8-5 and was pretty average the rest of the season, its biggest win coming at then-No. 24 Texas A&M. But that doesn't mean the Red Raiders had a shortage of offensive minds on staff. Head coach Mike Leach, essentially the Godfather of the spread offense, and co-offensive coordinators Sonny Dykes, now at Louisiana Tech, and Dana Holgorsen engineered a Tech attack led by quarterback Graham Harrell, who finished the year with 4,555 passing yards and 38 touchdowns, none of which came against the Frogs.
11. Another week, another slate of huge games in the Big 12 conference. Outside of Kansas at Oklahoma at 6 p.m. on Saturday, every league game could go either way. Here's the quick rundown for the rest of the day: Iowa State at Oklahoma State, 11 a.m., Texas Tech at TCU, 2:30 p.m., West Virginia at Kansas State, 6 p.m. and Baylor at Texas, 7 p.m.
12. Patterson didn't necessarily rip into TCU season ticket-holders Tuesday, but he did throw in a couple subtle remarks.
"The last time we played Tech here in '06, there were more Red Raiders in it than TCU people," he said. "Can't win home games and keep home field advantage if that's the way it's going to be for us in the time we've been here. They've got to come, they've got to stay, and they've got to understand they've got to help us. Or they got to deal with what we have to deal with."
And he didn't sound too inspired for Saturday.
"We've filled our stadium with people who wear red and black and have become home team people and bought season tickets that have changed," he said. "They're probably going to be wearing red and black on Saturday, but the other 11 games they'll be in purple."
13. Had a chance to catch up with Deryck Gildon this week. Gildon, who would have been a sophomore this year, will be returning to TCU in January after spending the semester at a Mississippi junior college due to academic issues.
Off the field, it's good to see Gildon straightened up academically - he truly did sound humbled.
On the field, he'll obviously be a big boost to a depleted linebacker corps that will be without Kenny Cain after the season. When Gildon left the team in May, I don't think a lot of people realized just what the Frogs were losing. Gildon, at 6-foot-2, 235 pounds, combined the size of Tanner Brock with the speed and athleticism of Cain. He was a true talent at the position and likely would have started this year.
14. The last time Texas Tech beat a top-5 team before last weekend's win over West Virginia? Last year against then-No. 3 Oklahoma. The Red Raiders went on to lose the rest of their games, finishing 5-7.
15. TCU's last game played on ABC was the Frogs' 17-10 win over Oklahoma in 2005.
16. My opinion: Seth Doege is an under-the-radar kind of guy. But that seems to be the case with most Texas Tech quarterbacks, most of which are simply plugged into the spread offense often run there. But let's not underestimate results, which Doege has had (1,891 yards, 21 TD, 7 INT). And now he has a marquee win to go along with them.
17. If Kansas State wins Saturday, Collin Klein will have something to do with it. That would make him, in my mind, the Heisman favorite over Geno Smith.
18. Matthew Tucker has been banged up the past couple games, but that hasn't given him any leeway when it comes to keeping the starting job at running back.
"[Tucker] going to have to get himself healthy, but if he's not careful, B.J. [Catalon] is going to take his job," Patterson said.
19. It's hard to completely believe Tucker, if healthy, will be fighting for carries, but Catalon has been impressive, especially after fumbling twice in the first half against Iowa State. The true freshman leads TCU in rushing with 247 yards on 53 carries.
20. I'm with Patterson. There might be a lot of hate and trash talk exchanged between the two teams' fan bases, but it's hard to call Saturday's game a rivalry when TCU and Texas Tech have met just twice since 1995.
But I'm also with Patterson in that the meeting between the two schools, now that they're in the same conference and now that they'll be playing annually, has the potential grow into a rivalry, as does the Frogs' games against Baylor and Texas.