(AP) – That record 82-point game is already in the past for TCU.
The 10th-ranked Horned Frogs now have some road work to do Saturday, going to No. 20 West Virginia for the first of consecutive games that could have a significant impact on determining the Big 12 champion and perhaps who plays in the college football playoff.
It’s also an important one for the Mountaineers, who were picked to finish near the bottom of the Big 12 but will enter November with a chance for the conference title.
“I don’t know if any of the games that we played on the road, except for the Baylor game that we played this year, would be more magnitude than what this ballgame is,” coach Gary Patterson said Tuesday, three days after TCU’s 82-27 victory over Texas Tech.
West Virginia (6-2, 4-1) has a four-game winning streak that includes beating then-No. 4 Baylor 41-27 on Oct. 18, the Bears’ only defeat. The only losses for the Mountaineers were the season opener against then-No. 2 Alabama and their Big 12 opener versus then-No. 4 Oklahoma.
The clash between TCU (6-1, 3-1) and WVU is already garnering national attention. ESPN’s College GameDay is setting up Saturday morning in Morgantown.
After that trip, the Frogs return home for a matchup the following weekend against No. 11 Kansas State (6-1, 4-0), the Big 12 leader.
Patterson expects leading receiver Josh Doctson, who rolled his right ankle against Texas Tech, to be able to play Saturday. However, the coach said backup quarterback Matt Joeckel’s season is likely over after he took a shot to the leg.
The Horned Frogs have already split a tough two-game swing against Oklahoma and Baylor, beating the Sooners 37-33 at home before a wild 61-58 loss in Waco on Oct. 11. They almost certainly have to win out to be part of the first four-team playoff.
Patterson pointed out that the Frogs have already accomplished one of their goals.
“We wanted to get to be bowl eligible, we got to that point. Now everyone counts once,” Patterson said. “Two tough games in a row. West Virginia going to Morgantown, really they’re playing really well right now on both sides of the ball, and then Kansas State. You can say the same about them.”
And talk about TCU the same way.
The Frogs are the nation’s highest-scoring team at 50.4 points per game while allowing 21.6. Junior dual-threat quarterback Trevone Boykin has established himself as a legitimate Heisman Trophy contender, including a career-high 433 yards with a school-record seven touchdown passes in the romp over Texas Tech.
During its winning streak, West Virginia has held the potent offenses of Baylor and Oklahoma State in check. The Mountaineers won 34-10 at Oklahoma State last weekend.
“We’re going to have to get ready,” Patterson said. “We expect West Virginia to play its best game to date.”
Against the Cowboys, Wendell Smallwood ran for a career-high 132 yards, Clint Trickett went 21 of 30 and passed for 238 yards and two touchdowns, and Mario Alford caught seven passes for a season-best 136 yards.
Next up for the Mountaineers is a TCU team that won 39-38 in double overtime at Morgantown in 2012 before West Virginia returned the favor with a 30-27 victory in OT at Fort Worth last season.
“Now we’re both sitting here with six wins and are doing pretty good things here on all three sides of the ball,” WVU coach Dana Holgorsen said. “As far as with what we’re concerned, it’s another big game. It’s another Big 12 game.
“It doesn’t matter where it’s at, shoot, it’s going to be a big game. Last week we had a pretty big game against Oklahoma State that we were able to do what we needed to do to be able to win. To be able to come back home – we know it’s going to be a great game. It’s going to be a great, exciting weekend.”