A rivalry is renewed as Big 12 foes TCU and Baylor face off on Saturday in a key conference game. Both teams are coming off their first losses of the season and will be looking to rebound with a victory to avoid falling behind the pack.
TCU was beaten handily at home by Iowa State, causing fans too quickly forget about all the progress made over the season's first month. The offense must become more efficient after putting up just 23 points despite 455 yards of offense.
Baylor had a bye week to prepare for the key matchup, giving them time to look into what went wrong in a shootout loss to West Virginia. It starts with the defense, which allowed Geno Smith to throw eight touchdowns while missing on just six of 51 throws.
Let's take a glance at all the important information for Saturday night's game followed by some players to watch as the Horned Frogs take on the Bears.
Which team will earn the Big 12 victory?
Where: Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco, Texas
When: Saturday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. ET
Listen: KESN 103.3 FM (TCU) or KRZI 1660 AM (Baylor)
Live Steam Audio: Baylor All-Access
Betting Line: Baylor -7.5 (Vegas Insider)
Injury Report (via USA Today)
TCU: Matthew Tucker (questionable, ankle)
Baylor: Jay Lee (questionable, knee), Jake Jackson (questionable, knee) and Mike Hicks (questionable, knee)
Key Storyline: Which team will take the rivalry lead?
Even though Baylor and TCU revitalized their rivalry a handful of years ago, it will be the first time in nearly two decades the game will be a conference game. The all-time series is currently tied at 50 with seven ties.
The Bears won a thriller last season in Waco, 50-48, bringing a three-game Horned Frogs winning streak to an end. A lot has changed for both sides since that meeting, but players for each team know how crucial these games are.
While playing at home gives Baylor a minor advantage, it's shaping up to become another memorable evening in Waco. It should be a terrific clash.
Baylor is just outside the Top 25 of both major polls despite its lost to West Virginia and a bye week. A victory over TCU would likely be enough to get the Bears back in the rankings with several more big games on the horizon.
The Horned Frogs have more discrepancy in their ranking. In the AP poll, they are behind Baylor among the teams also receiving votes. In the USA Today poll, however, TCU comes in at No. 23. Beating Baylor should bring the two rankings closer in line.
So it's clearly a significant game for both teams in terms of getting attention from the voters, as if the game needed even more at stake.
What They Are Saying
The Associated Press reports TCU head coach Gary Patterson had a meeting with school administration regarding quarterback Casey Pachall, who was recently suspended indefinitely.
Pachall was indefinitely suspended after being arrested early Thursday on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. That came eight months after the junior quarterback admitted to police that he smoked marijuana and failed a team-administered drug test.
Asked if there was any change in Pachall's status with the team, Patterson said, "not at this point."
David Ubben of ESPN believes freshman tackle Spencer Drango is one of the biggest keys to the Baylor offense after an impressive first month.
Art Briles decided to put his faith in a redshirt freshman, enlisting Drango to protect Nick Florence's blind side. The 6-foot-6, 310-pounder beefed up in his redshirt season, and it's already paying off. Baylor ranks second nationally in scoring offense and total offense, ranking second nationally in passing offense. The offense also ranks 44th in rushing offense.
TCU Player To Watch: Trevone Boykin
The Horned Frogs offense isn't the same without Pachall. The junior threw 10 touchdowns and just one interception while averaging nearly 10 yards per attempt. Boykin wasn't able to match that success in his first start, throwing three interceptions.
Boykin was put in a tough situation after the Pachall suspension, but now that he's had some time to step back and regroup, TCU needs him to raise his level of play moving forward if it's going to make a run at the Big 12 title.
Unlike most backup quarterbacks, it's not enough for Boykin to simply serve as a game manager. The Horned Frogs offense dictates that he has to become a key cog in the attack. Fans will find out over the next few weeks if he can handle it.
Baylor Player To Watch: Nick Florence
Florence has done a remarkable job of replacing Robert Griffin III. He's averaging nearly 400 yards per game while completing 64 percent of his throws. The senior has 17 total touchdowns as well, making him one of the most productive players in the country.
It all adds up to the nation's top passing game and second-ranked offense. Since the Baylor defense has struggled to contain even average opposing offenses, Florence better be prepared for a lot of high-scoring games.
Iowa State provide Florence with the blueprint for finding holes in the TCU defense. It will be his toughest test to date, which means everybody will see if his torrid pace from the first month is a sign of things to come or just due to the level of competition.
Which side has the edge?
Key Matchup: Horned Frogs secondary vs. Bears receivers
The TCU defense ranks third in the Big 12 in pass defense, allowing just over 180 yards per game through the air. The unit has also intercepted 10 passes while giving up just six passing touchdowns, giving it a chance to slow down Baylor's attack.
Even though those are solid numbers, the Horned Frogs are even better against the run, so don't expect the Bears' offensive approach to change. They are still going to throw early and often, hoping to find holes in the secondary.
That means it's up to Terrance Williams, Lanear Sampson and Tevin Reese to provide Florence with a lot of open targets at every level of the field. The trio is certainly capable of it, having combined to score 13 touchdowns in four games.
Baylor 35, TCU 27