The first big test for BYU is finally upon us and it is a Thursday night tilt. TCU has the number one ranked defense giving up only 207 yards per game, while BYU is ranked 16th in total offense by gaining 452 yards per game, so obviously something has to give.
TCU has had a tough test in playing Oklahoma a few weeks back, so the Horned Frogs will not be intimidated at all by BYU. However, the passing game is what ultimately undid TCU against Oklahoma and the passing game is the Cougars strength.
BYU has a very balanced offensive attack with Harvey Unga in the running game, and look for TCU to contain Harvey and the BYU running game to below their average. The Cougars do get back wide receiver Michael Reed back from injury to go along with Austin Collie, and possibly the best tight end in the country in Dennis Pitta. Max hall will need to have a big passing game and follow what Oklahoma did to be able to exploit the TCU secondary.
[polldaddy poll=1001449]The offensive line of BYU against the defensive front of TCU is the most intriguing mathcup, because BYU has given up only one sack all year while TCU has 27 in seven games for an average of just under four per game. The combo of Jerry Hughes and Matt Panfil show good quickness coming off the edge could cause problems for the Cougars guards, which could force BYU to put Fui Vakapuna in the back field as an extra blocker on passing downs.
The toughest defense to date that BYU has faced was last weeks opponent, New Mexico, and they were semi successful in slowing down BYU. BYU will have to put the ball in Max Hall's arm to win the game, because TCU may not be able to completely stop the running game but they will do enough to make BYU think twice about running.
TCU is still undecided on the status of quarterback Andy Dalton, because of injury and since he did not play last week expect Marcus Jackson to start. Jackson has won the last two games for TCU and in that time is now leading the team in rushing.
Jackson is more of a mobile quarterback who is able to make plays if something breaks down on the play. TCU should follow the gameplan that New Mexico used, which was to control the ball with the running game. TCU has running back Aaron Brown, Joseph Turner, and quarterback Marcus Jackson in the running game to be able to control the ball.
TCU in the passing game does not have the playmakers at the recieving positions, but BYU's secondary has looked vulnerable at times, so TCU could be successful there. The Horned Frogs will have to do something in the passing game to create a balance in their offense and keep BYU's defense honest.
Before I give the final score here is how ESPN and Scouts Inc. rate the positional units and they think TCU will win 20 to 17.
|Brigham Young at TCU Matchups|
<!-- -INLINE TABLE (END) -->Final Score: BYU 24 TCU 20