This week: TCU
Record: 5-0 (2-0 in C-USA)
Interesting Fact: TCU has the nation’s second longest unbeaten streak.
TCU comes into town as defending Conference USA champions, undefeated, ranked in both national college football polls and very talented.
Despite its No. 17 ranking in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll and a No. 18 ranking in The Associated Press Poll, the recognition could be based on previous accomplishments, as the Horned Frogs have put together some less-than-impressive victories thus far.
TCU has started 5-0 in less than convincing fashion, with victories against Navy, Army and Vanderbilt, while squeaking past Arizona and Tulane. But what has been impressive about TCU’s victories is that the team has suffered injuries.
The Horned Frogs already lost two tailbacks. Senior Ricky Madison is gone for the season, and last year’s freshman sensation, Lonta Hobbs, missed the past two games. TCU will count on freshman Robert Merrill, who has stepped in as a more than adequate replacement by averaging 122 yards a game since Hobbs went down. However, Hobbs will see action against the Bulls.
TCU’s offense also lost its starting quarterback, sophomore Tye Gunn, but backup Brandon Hassell has been efficient, leading the team to its last three victories. However, Gunn appeared in last week’s victory against Army and will start Friday against USF. But Hassell also will see time under center for TCU.
Where the Horned Frogs are particularly strong is on defense. After leading the nation in total defense last season, TCU ranks 15th nationally in defense so far this season, while leading C-USA in total defense, scoring defense and rushing defense. The Horned Frogs, which are led by linebacker Martin Patterson and defensive end Bo Schobel, yield an average of 12.4 points per game, while allowing under 70 yards rushing per contest.
TCU is susceptible against the pass, ranking in the bottom half of the conference and allowing 216 yards per game. The secondary, led by Marvin Godbolt and Mark Walker, does have 10 interceptions, but teams have had success throwing deep.
Compiled by Oracle correspondent Jason Davis