TCU (4-0) @ Baylor (5-0)
McLane Stadium, Waco, Texas
8:30pm Irish Time Saturday October 11th (ESPN)
Quickly becoming one of the nation’s top teams on an annual basis, the #5 ranked Baylor Bears have cracked the top five for the first time this season and will look to move up even more after a top-10 bout this week. The Bears haven’t won a game by less than 21 points this season, but they have yet to play a ranked team. That all changes this week. As one of the nation’s darkhorse threats to make it to the College Football Playoff in 2014, the TCU Horned Frogs have jumped from unranked to No. 9 in the country in two weeks time. The Horned Frogs took down No. 4 Oklahoma last week and will look to make it two straight top-five teams in two weeks — also, it’s the toughest game left on their schedule.
Baylor has one of the most potent offenses in the entire country this year, ranking eighth in passing yards per game, 18th in rushing yards per game and first in points per game, putting up 51 per contest. Having top quarterback Bryce Petty come back for his senior season has been huge for this team as he has been nothing short of great, passing for 1,024 yards and nine touchdowns with just one interception while playing limited time through the first few weeks because of a nagging injury. Not many people saw freshman wide out KD Cannon becoming his favorite target as he has caught 24 passes for 527 yards and five touchdowns this season. Jay Lee is the next closest receiver, racking up 19 catches for 294 yards and four scores. Watch out for senior Antwan Goodley to break out as he has played in just two games this year and has caught 10 passes for 183 yards and a score. Shock Linwood leads the run game with 449 yards and eight touchdowns while Johnny Jefferson has added 336 yards and three scores on 65 carries.
The Horned Frogs are blessed because they have an experienced quarterback behind center that stuck around even though he lost his starting job in 2013 to a returning senior in Casey Pachall. Gary Patterson is lucky Trevone Boykin stuck around because he is leading TCU to a dream season thus far with 1,176 yards and 10 touchdowns for the 19th-ranked passing offense in the nation. The junior quarterback has also led all rushers with 260 yards and three touchdowns on 51 carries. Josh Doctson has been Boykin’s favorite target, connecting with him 19 times for 212 yards and three touchdowns while Kolby Listenbee leads all wide outs with 272 yards to go along with two touchdowns on 14 catches. Deante’ Gray has been a legitimate No. 3 threat, catching 16 passes for 193 yards and three touchdowns of his own. While Boykin leads the run game, B.J. Catalon is close behind with 220 yards and four touchdowns on a solid 4.8 yards per touch this year.
Defensively, the Horned Frogs have been pleasantly stingy this season, ranking seventh in points allowed per game as well as seventh in total yards allowed per game with just under 280 per contest, including seven interceptions through the first four games. Baylor has also been quite stingy, allowing the fifth-least amount of points per game in the country as well as ranking fourth in total yards allowed per game with 267 per contest. McLane Stadium will be rocking for this matchup of top 10 teams on Saturday evening.
PREDICTION: TCU 21 Baylor 34