To say TCU has had a rough start to the 2013 campaign would be an understatement.
Not only did the Horned Frogs lose their season opener to LSU in Arlington, they will also be without senior quarterback Casey Pachall for at least eight weeks after he fractured his left forearm in last week's 38-17 win over Southeastern Louisiana, according to Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Sophomore Trevone Boykin will take over for Pachall on Thursday against 2-0 Texas Tech.
The explosive Red Raiders scored 41 points against SMU in Week 1, then turned around and scored 61 points against Stephen F. Austin in Week 2. Texas Tech ranks ninth in the country in points per game.
Will Boykin be able to lift TCU over Texas Tech in desperate times?
Here's a breakdown of the Big 12 clash on Thursday, complete with my prediction.
*All statistics courtesy of CFBStats.com
When: Thursday, Sept. 12 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, TX
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Betting Line (via Covers.com): TCU -3
TCU Injuries (via USA Today)
Out: QB Casey Pachall (Wrist), G Michael Thompson (Knee)
Questionable: No injuries to report
Probable: No injuries to report
Texas Tech Injuries (via USA Today)
Out: No injuries to report
Questionable: WR Jordan Davis (Hamstring), G Tony Morales (Shoulder), QB Michael Brewer (Back)
Probable: No injuries to report
Top Storyline: How Will Trevone Boykin Fare Under Center?
After Pachall's suspension last season, Trevone Boykin started TCU's last nine games. The Horned Frogs went 3-6 during that time, losing to Michigan State by one point in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.
The drop-off from Pachall to Boykin was predictably noticeable.
Pachall averaged 9.8 yards per pass attempt while tossing 10 touchdowns to one interception in four games before his suspension.
For the 2012 campaign, Boykin averaged seven yards per pass attempt while tossing 15 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. He went 13-of-29 for 209 yards with one interception in the 17-16 loss to Michigan State.
But one thing that is worth noting is that Boykin does have dual-threat ability. He rushed for 417 yards and three touchdowns last season. He's still a downgrade from Pachall in the pocket, but he can at least make some plays with his feet.
So far, Boykin has gotten off to a strong start, going a combined 15-of-25 for 203 yards and two touchdowns in limited action against LSU and Southeastern Louisiana.
Prediction: Texas Tech 35, TCU 30
Who will win on Thursday?
I think TCU's defense is a bit overrated at the moment, and I think Baker Mayfield and Co. will be able to put up enough points to emerge victorious.
The Horned Frogs returned nine defensive starters this season, so there's still time to patch things up, but, as of now, the unit doesn't look as dominant as it did last season.
Texas Tech employs a pass-happy offense. TCU currently ranks 71st in the nation in yards per pass attempt allowed. That sounds like trouble to me.
Yes, star defensive end Devonte Fields returns to the field for TCU after a two-game suspension, but he will probably be a little rusty in his first week back.
Another thing: Texas Tech ranks 19th in the country in opponents' yards per carry. Although the Red Raiders have played inferior competition, those are still pretty good numbers against anyone.
Boykin may be saddled with more pressure than he can handle right off the bat as starter. I'll take Mayfield over Boykin any day.