West Virginia vs. #5 TCU Preview

TCU Horned Frog WR Kolby Listenbee is healthy, providing Boykin with the deep threat that's needed to keep the safeties honest. Photo Courtesy: Dominic Ceraldi
TCU WR Kolby Listenbee is the deep threat that’s needed to keep the safeties honest.
Photo Courtesy: Dominic Ceraldi

By Darius Williams

Game Info
West Virginia Mountaineers vs. #5 TCU Horned Frogs
Thursday – October 29 – 6:30pm CT
Amon G. Carter Stadium – Ft. Worth, TX

Somehow, after not playing this past weekend due to the scheduled bye week, the TCU Horned Frogs found themselves dropping in the polls. After an impressive 45-21 victory over Iowa State on September 17, the Frogs sat comfortably at either #3 or #4 in just about every poll. Take a weekend off and now they find themselves at #5 in those same polls.

Thursday night at 6:30 PM, the Frogs take to the field at Amon Carter Stadium against the equally rested West Virginia Mountaineers. The game will be nationally televised on FOX Sports 1. If the result of this game is anything like the previous three since the Mountaineers inclusion into the Big XII, be prepared for a thriller.

“It’s always been a war” said TCU coach Gary Patterson. Last year’s contest came down to the last play, a game winning field goal for the 31-30 victory. The (3-3) Mountaineers are looking to snap a three game losing streak after opening the season with three wins for coach Dana Holgerson. If the streak is to end in Fort Worth on Thursday, a magical performance by Fort Worth’s own Skylar Howard at quarterback will be needed. Coming into the game averaging just over 261 yards a game passing with 15 TD’S and 6 picks, he has played solidly over the first six games. That will have to improve if he is to match what TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin will undoubtedly do.

The Heisman Trophy candidate is firing on all cylinders. He leads an offense that is one of the most potent in all of college football, averaging 50 points an outing. The 12 day break gave those who were previously injured, time to heel and get rejuvenated for the stretch run. Receiver KaVontae Turpin left the Iowa State game early with an injury and missed the remainder of the contest. He is expected to fully return for Thursday’s game.

Not much of a secret these days as to what the Frogs will do on offense. Look for about 35 pass attempts from Boykin, of which about 30 should be completed against an injury plagued Mountaineer secondary. Of those 30 completions, All American candidate receiver Josh Doctson should haul in about half of them. The 6’3″ Doctson is on pace for a 2,000 yard receiving season. When the attack moves to the ground game, Boykin figures to play a prevalent part there as well. Aaron Green should get the fare share of carries, but the recent play of backup tailback Kyle Hicks warrant some totes for the sophomore transfer. Kolby Listenbee is healthy, providing Boykin with the deep threat that’s needed to keep the safeties honest when defending Doctson.

The Fort Worth Brewer High grad, Skylar Howard, will have some chances against the suspect secondary of the Horned Frogs. His main target, receiver Shelton Gibson, should find running routes against corners Corey O’Meally and Nick Orr quite pleasing. If the offensive line can get to the second level of the TCU defense, matching up with the undersized linebackers they have, tailback Wendell Smallwood could have a huge day. He has 678 yards rushing so far this season with an 6.7 yard average. His running will be vital if the Mountaineers are to upset the #5 Horned Frogs.

Prediction: TCU 52 – West Virginia 30