The two squads have followed similar trajectories this season. Each enters the matchup 1-1 in Big 12 play and 3-2 overall. With Oklahoma on deck the following week, TCU arguably needs a win more.
Injuries are clouding the outlook for this game, which could come down to which side handles its personnel issues better.
Texas Tech at TCU
Kickoff: Thursday, Oct. 11 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Spread: TCU -7
Three Things to Watch
1. Status of the QBs
Lots of questions surround the quarterback position for both of these teams. Supposedly, TCU’s Shawn Robinson will be available for the Horned Frogs after suffering a shoulder injury in the team’s last game. The same goes for Tech’s Alan Bowman, who suffered a partially collapsed lung in the Red Raiders’ loss to West Virginia.
But if neither is unable to return, a Michael Collins-Jett Duffey duel could be in the cards. If that happens, it could be advantage Texas Tech. While Collins has played in more games (four vs. two), Duffey has had more opportunities. The sophomore is 23-for-36 for 285 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions to go along with 167 rushing yards (on 21 attempts) and two scores. Collins is 6-for-14 for 105 yards and a touchdown through the air and has another 29 yards and a score on the ground.
2. Ball security
Turnovers play a crucial role in every football game, but they seem especially important for these two teams. The Horned Frogs have played loose with the ball this season, giving it away 12 times in five games.
Meanwhile, Tech’s porous defense sustains itself on turnovers, given that it does little to stop opponents from moving the ball. The Red Raiders are last in the Big 12 in total defense (447.6 ypg) and second to last in scoring defense (31.0 ppg).
3. Kicking game
Although placekicker Jonathan Song played the role of hero in TCU’s win over Iowa State, the Horned Frogs have seen some ups and downs in the kicking game this season, hitting six of nine field goal attempts this year. If TCU needs another big kick on Thursday night, it could be a dicey proposition.
On the other side, senior Clayton Hatfield has been steady for Texas Tech, connecting on six of seven attempts with a long of 41 yards.
Good luck getting a handle on this game out without knowing who will be behind center for either team.
TCU can at least lean on Darius Anderson and Sewo Olonilua at running back to keep the chains moving if Shawn Robinson can’t go. The backfield duo is helping propel the Horned Frogs to nearly five yards per carry. Tech’s notoriously poor run defense could be in for a long night.
Unless the Red Raiders can force a few turnovers, look for TCU to control the clock with its ground game. The Horned Frogs will force a few negative plays on defense that stymie Tech drives to secure a win in a lower-scoring game than expected.
Prediction: TCU 31, Texas Tech 24
— 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.