Texas vs. TCU prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins the game between the Horned Frogs and Longhorns.
Texas vs. TCU Game Preview
When: Friday, November 25 – 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin, TX
The winner this Friday in Austin punches its ticket to the postseason. But obviously that won’t be the story when the Frogs and the Horns meet for the 87th time. All eyes will be fixed firmly on Charlie Strong, who’s expected to be coaching his final game at Texas. His Longhorns figured to already be bowl-eligible, but somehow blew a lead to Kansas, of all teams, last week to bring cries for a coaching change to a three-year high on the 40 Acres.
TCU hasn’t been much better in 2016, though Gary Patterson has more than enough equity banked to avoid the same fate Strong is facing. The Frogs have been one of the Big 12’s biggest disappointments from start to finish, following up their best win of the year, 62-22 over Baylor, with another dud last Saturday against Oklahoma State.
What To Know About TCU
A lack of consistency has vexed Patterson and the staff since the Week 2 loss to Arkansas. Running back Kyle Hicks emerged as the centerpiece of an offense that has struggled with Kenny Hill behind center. The play of the defense, Patterson’s specialty, has been an even bigger riddle this fall. Talent is not the problem, especially with linemen Josh Carraway, Aaron Curry and James McFarland setting the tone up front. Yet, the unit has been mediocre when it has mattered most, like ranking 103rd nationally at making third-down stops.
What to Know About Texas
Yes, the team is young, beginning with true freshman quarterback Shane Buechele. But it also looks poorly prepared at times, which is why Strong is on the chopping block. The Longhorns only play well in spurts, make too mistakes and have lost five of their last six games that were decided by a touchdown or less. There have only been a few things this program could count on this season—the running of D’Onta Foreman, who’s received support from his blockers, and a feisty front seven that’s helped produce a league-high 38 sacks. Foreman is on target to eclipse 2,000 yards rushing, despite sitting out the Week 2 game with UTEP.
Offense: Texas. It’s close, but the Longhorns will have the two best players in this game, Foreman and LT Connor Williams.
Defense: TCU. Both teams will get after the pocket Friday, but the Horned Frogs are tighter on the back end with safeties Nick Orr and Denzel Johnson.
Special Teams: Texas. The placekickers are similarly inconsistent, but punter Michael Dickson gives the Longhorns a shot to flip the field and pin TCU deep in its own territory.
Coaching: TCU. Both staffs are having terrible years, but Patterson is coming off back-to-back seasons of at least 11 wins.
Intangibles: Texas. Emotions will be running high in Austin. Both teams want to give their seniors a bowl trip, but the Horns will have the added motivation of wanting to win this game for Strong, a coach they’ve enjoyed grinding for over the last three years.
Matchup To Watch
Foreman vs. TCU linebackers Ty Summers and Travin Howard
Summers and Howard are active and athletic, with the range to make plays from sideline-to-sideline. But Foreman only moves in one direction, north-south. The Horned Frogs are undersized at every level, so Foreman might reach the 2,000-yard threshold Friday on yards after contact alone.
Texas vs. TCU Betting Odds
Spread: Texas -1
Over/Under: No line as of post
Texas vs. TCU Prediction
Forget the second-tier bowl invitation. This is about pride more than anything else. And while both teams were horrible a week ago, Texas will find the right formula to send off Strong with a .500 season in front of mixed emotions at Memorial Stadium. Foreman will carry the offense on his broad shoulders—again—helping Buechele close out his first regular season with a solid effort through the air. Hill’s problems will continue with a couple of picks, wilting in the face of pressure from Malcolm Roach, Breckyn Hager and the rest of the UT front seven.
Texas vs. TCU Score Prediction: Texas 31, TCU 27