West Virginia vs. TCU prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins the game between the Mountaineers and Horned Frogs.
West Virginia vs. TCU Game Preview
When: Saturday, October 22 – 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Milan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown, WV
Things are beginning to get very interesting in Morgantown. West Virginia moved to 5-0 with Saturday’s shockingly easy, 48-17 win at Texas Tech to surge eight spots to No. 12 in the AP poll. Could this be the savior the Big 12 has been seeking since Oklahoma lost its opener to Houston? The Mountaineers get another opportunity to make a national statement when TCU visits Milan Puskar this week.
The Horned Frogs were also one of the league’s first-half disappointments, losing twice and barely escaping Kansas prior to last week’s bye. However, TCU can quickly change the 2016 narrative by stunting West Virginia’s run in front of its home crowd.
What To Know About West Virginia
Yeah, there’s work to be done, and the schedule hasn’t been all that thorny, but the Mountaineers are on the verge of becoming a complete Big 12 team. Last week was an example of their potential. West Virginia outgained high-powered Texas Tech, 650-379, in Lubbock by dominating the line of scrimmage. Skyler Howard was sharp, the Rushel Shell-led ground game churned out 332 yards and five scores and an underrated secondary held Patrick Mahomes to his worst game of the season. After facing the Red Raiders, the Mountaineers ought to be prepared for whatever TCU throws at them.
What to Know About TCU
The Horned Frogs were rarely crisp in the first half of the season, which is disappointing for a squad that began the year with so much potential. Gary Patterson’s defense was surprisingly soft, and Kenny Hill needs to cut down on his mistakes. Still, this is a team with a lot of individual talent, such as running back Kyle Hicks, newcomer wideout Taj Williams and D-linemen James McFarland, Josh Carraway and Aaron Curry. And while TCU lost to its two toughest opponents, Arkansas and Oklahoma, both of those decided were decided by no more than six points.
Offense: West Virginia. Both teams can move the ball with balance, but the Mountaineers are stronger at the point of attack.
Defense: West Virginia. Coordinator Tony Gibson is doing an outstanding job with a rebuilt defense allowing just 19 points per game and ranking 15th nationally in pass efficiency D.
Special Teams: TCU. Returner KaVontae Turpin has been missed, but placekicker Ryan Graf has missed just one field goal and punter Adam Nunez was recently added to the Ray Guy Award Watch List.
Coaching: TCU. Dana Holgorsen is enjoying his best season since 2011, but he still takes a backseat to Patterson.
Intangibles: West Virginia. The Frogs may be the fresher team, but the Mountaineers are flying high after the demolition of Texas Tech and ascent up the polls.
Matchup To Watch
The West Virginia O-line vs. the TCU D-line
Strength versus strength in a must-see matchup that’ll go a long way to deciding who gets out of Morgantown with a momentum-building win. Carraway and Curry headline a pass rush that’s No. 11 nationally in sacks. But left tackle Adam Pankey and center Tyler Orlosky are the cornerstones of a front wall that’s surrendered a league-low four sacks.
West Virginia vs. TCU Betting Odds
Spread: West Virginia -4.5
Over/Under: No line (as of post)
West Virginia vs. TCU Prediction
The Mountaineers are hot, confident and back home, the catalysts of another important step toward a possible first-ever Big 12 crown. The Frogs can certainly be dangerous, thanks to their pass rush and offensive balance. But West Virginia is up for the challenge, because it can spread the ball around and make stops as well. In fact, it has the better all-around D, despite the dearth of household names. Howard will exploit the TCU secondary, with help from a clean pocket and receivers Shelton Gibson and Daikiel Shorts. And the defense will frustrate Hill into forced throws, two of which will result in costly turnovers.
West Virginia vs. TCU Score Prediction: West Virginia 37, TCU 27