TCU Football vs Baylor at McClane Stadium on the Baylor campus in Waco, Texas on November 5, 2016. Photos by Michael Clements.

print
Seniors Austin Schlottman and Ranthony Texada will dress to play for one final time in Amon G. Carter Stadium against their arch-rivals, the Baylor Bears, for a special Black Friday 11 a.m. kickoff.

Head coach Gary Patterson is worried about the excitement that senior day entails.

“A lot of things get thrown off on senior day,” Patterson said. “You have to be careful that you understand that it’s a great day, but you’re also here to win a football game. There’s a lot on the line.”

Besides Schlottman and Texada, TCU will honor a total of 35 seniors in their pregame ceremony. The class posted a 38-12 record during their four years in Fort Worth, claiming the 2014 Big 12 title, 2014 Peach Bowl championship and the 2016 Alamo Bowl championship.

Over their entire career, the senior class has defeated each Big 12 school at least once, has 10 wins against ranked opponents and looks to claim their third perfect home schedule.

This senior class is special and one that Patterson will always remember and look upon favorably.

“No matter what the record was, I really enjoyed being around them,” Patterson said. “This group has worked hard and done things with class. You could pull a lot of guys out of this class and say that about them.”

The Baylor game is one that Texada said he always circles on his calendar, not just because of the rivalry, but the chance to see familiar faces, including his brother, Baylor cornerback Raleigh Texada.

“A lot of us have played against or with some Baylor players in high school,” Texada said. “With the schools being so close, it’s always going to have that type of feel.”

Following a strong performance in Lubbock against Texas Tech Saturday, the Horned Frogs will be forced to play on limited rest.

“Playing at 11:00 a.m. [Friday] is almost two days early,” Patterson said. “It’s important for us to keep the game plan and get rest. What you’re used to doing in six days is done in four days, that’s asking a lot on the kids.”

In head coach Matt Rhule’s first season at Baylor, the Bears have experienced an abysmal season, their only conference win coming against the Kansas Jayhawks.

Patterson refuses to dwell on the team’s horrible record during preparation, however, as teams with unfamiliar systems and head coaches are always harder to prepare for.

“It’s always more difficult when you haven’t played somebody,” Patterson said. “They aren’t going to a bowl game, this is their bowl game. We’re going to get their best shot.”

Baylor Wide receiver Denzel Mims has totaled 1,061 receiving yards in 2017 to give the Bears a seventh-consecutive season with a 1,000 yard receiver. Quarterback Charlie Brewer set a Baylor record for completions (43) while recording his first career 400-yard passing performance against Texas Tech. Brewer’s completion rate this season of 68.6 ranks second all-time on Baylor’s single-season list.

“When you have wide receivers like they do, we have to get ready to go,” Patterson said. “Anybody who thinks this is a ‘check-mark’ game should show up, because it will not be like that.”

Baylor’s offense will be faced with a difficult task matched-up against TCU’s stout defense. The Horned Frogs lead the nation this season by holding six opponents under seven points. TCU has held all opponents except West Virginia under their season average in scoring and total offense. The Frogs have also not allowed a single second-half point in its last five games.

With a win against the Bears, the Frogs will clinch a date with the Oklahoma Sooners in the Big 12 Championship game scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 2 at 11:00 a.m. in AT&T Stadium. A win will also give Gary Patterson his 11th all-time 10-win season as the head coach of the Horned Frogs. Prior to Patterson’s arrival in Fort Worth, TCU had only achieved four 10-win seasons.

“We know we have to take care of business,” Schlottman said. “That’s been our ultimate goal since last summer. This is a big game. We’ve got to do our jobs, take care of business and win. There won’t be a lack of motivation this week.”

Texada knows that a spot in the Big 12 Championship is theirs for the taking, but also understands that TCU cannot afford to overlook the Bears.

“The Championship is a big deal, but right now all we are looking at is Baylor and trying to figure out how to get past them,” Texada said. “We have to take Baylor for what they are.”