The Texas Longhorns and TCU Horned Frogs both found themselves locked in late comeback efforts during their first Big 12 games of the season last week. While UT ended up escaping with a wild win over Texas Tech, TCU fell short of knocking off Iowa State.
The Longhorns (2-0) are hoping to keep up their winning ways and get revenge on a TCU team that took advantage of numerous UT errors in a win last year. For the Horned Frogs (0-1), head coach Gary Patterson's goal is probably to see his team take a big step forward from its first game to its second.
Here's what to watch when the two squads tangle in Austin on Saturday.
TCU at Texas
Kickoff: Saturday, Oct. 3 at 12 p.m. ET
Spread: Texas -13
When TCU Has the Ball
Gary Patterson reunited co-offensive coordinators Sonny Cumbie and Doug Meacham on his staff this year after Meacham spent a couple seasons at Kansas. The pairing seemed to produce in game one, with the Horned Frogs busting out for 34 points and nearly 500 yards of total offense.
Sophomore quarterback Max Duggan gave TCU a spark after he replaced starter Matthew Downing in the second half against Iowa State. Duggan completed 16 of his 19 pass attempts for 241 yards and three scores in just one half of play. Unfortunately for the Horned Frogs, he also threw a late interception that helped ISU put the game out of reach.
The Longhorns have less to worry about when it comes to TCU's ground game. TCU averaged a meager 2.25 yards per carry last week. No player gained more than 40 yards on the ground on the day.
When Texas Has the Ball
Head coach Tom Herman made some changes of his own on the offensive side of the ball with his staff. Through two games, new offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich has helped breathe some life into the Longhorns' passing attack. Senior quarterback Sam Ehlinger has thrown 10 touchdown passes against just one interception, while he's averaging 9.4 yards per pass attempt.
A handful of solid receiving options have emerged for Ehlinger, too. They include sophomore Joshua Moore, a fast wide receiver with 200 receiving yards and four TD catches on the year. Lanky junior Brennan Eagles has chipped in with two scores of his own.
The Longhorns will have at least two members of their RB committee in action versus TCU, with Keaontay Ingram and Roschon Johnson ready to go. Heralded freshman Bijan Robinson's status isn't quite so clear after an awkward landing on a tackle in last week's win over Texas Tech.
Texas needed a fortunate bounce or two – including one on an onside kick – to squeak out a 63-56 victory in overtime at Texas Tech last Saturday. The Red Raiders didn't shred UT's defense, but the Longhorns did give up enough big plays to raise concerns about where things stand under new defensive coordinator Chris Ash. The good news for Texas is that Ash is just getting started, so the room for improvement is significant. Additionally, the Horned Frogs don't have weapons like Tech's T.J. Vasher and KeSean Carter at receiver.
Assuming TCU quarterback Max Duggan is at 100 percent, expect co-offensive coordinators Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie to spread the field and turn their signal-caller into a constant threat to make plays with his feet. The Longhorns may be content to back off in the secondary, allowing the action to unfold in front of their defensive backs. Not getting beat deep and forcing a few field goals sounds like a winning formula for them.
Prediction: Texas 35, TCU 27
Podcast: CFB Week 5 Preview + Predictions
— Written by Allen Kenney, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Kenney is founder and editor of BlatantHomerism.com and host of the Blatant Homerism Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @BlatantHomerism.