But when the Horned Frogs head to Lubbock to face the Texas Tech Red Raiders this Saturday, that’s exactly what they’ll find.
The Red Raiders are lead by third-year head coach Kliff Kingsbury and sophomore quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Mahomes comes in as a vastly improved player. He has nine passing touchdowns this season to go along with four on the ground, and has yet to be sacked this season.
Texas Tech likes to pass early and often. The Red Raiders have thrown 130 passes in three games and are ranked seventh for most passes in the nation.
Luckily, the TCU offense is firing on all cylinders and should be able to compensate for any defensive lapses. With defensive linemen Mike Tuaua, Davion Pierson and James McFarland all out for this game, the Frogs will have to improve their pass rush after SMU quarterback Matt Davis scrambled his way through the TCU defense last week.
TCU head coach Gary Patterson said after the SMU game that he expects the offense to carry the load this season due to the injury bug that has plagued the defense. Patterson said it seems that Heisman candidate quarterback Trevone Boykin and company are more than up to the task.
Boykin has 985 yards passing and 148 yards rushing this season for a combined total of 1,133 yards. Running back Aaron Green has been a consistent producer on the ground, averaging six yards per carry.
The wide receiver trio of Ty Slanina, Josh Doctson and Kolby Listenbee has combined for 35 catches for 630 yards, giving Boykin a variety of options.
TCU will face Texas Tech at a crucial point in the season.
The Frogs enter the game tied for third place in the AP poll with Ole Miss, while the Coaches’ Poll has TCU in sole second place, behind Ohio State.
The Frogs were in sole possession of third place in the AP rankings before last week’s games. A less-than-perfect showing against SMU combined with the mounting injuries and Ole Miss’s win at Alabama dropped TCU into a tie.
In addition to the national rankings implications, the Tech matchup marks the transition into Big 12 conference play. After a joint championship with Baylor last year, the Frogs are gunning for a sole title in 2015.
A win in Lubbock, one of the toughest places to play in the conference, would be a nice way to move into the remainder of the season.
The game will also serve as a litmus test for the ability of the patchwork defense, which has had little time to work cohesively as a unit in actual competition.
If the Frogs can escape Tech with a win and limit Mahomes’s production on offense, TCU fans should feel a little more at ease about their defensive woes.
While beating Texas Tech on the road is no easy feat, TCU has the offensive firepower to withstand the air-raid onslaught that Kingsbury will look to deploy. It’s going to be a back-and-forth shootout, but the Frogs will be 4-0 come Sunday.
TCU 56, Texas Tech 45.
Kickoff is scheduled for 3:45 p.m. from Jones AT&T Stadium.