Patterson expects ‘vastly improved’ Texas Tech team

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The Horned Frogs will need to contain Texas Tech’s high-powered offense, which averages a Big 12-best 48.4 points per game, in order to stay on the winning side of conference play.

TCU football enters Thursday’s game against Tech following a bye week where the team rested, recovered and practiced.

Head coach Gary Patterson announced Monday that sophomore quarterback Shawn Robinson will play, with his starting role still to be determined. He was helped off the field in the fourth quarter of the Iowa State game after suffering a shoulder injury.

Shawn Robinson continued his turnover trend against Iowa State. Photo by Heesoo Yang

Practice with the bye was good,” said senior linebacker Alec Dunham. “I think we surprised Coach Patterson with the energy we had in the off week.”

To prepare for the Red Raiders, Patterson and his team watched film of both past and present Texas Tech stars, including Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

You’re never surprised with anything when game-planning with Coach P,” said Dunham. “He’s a guy that’s looking at everything. Coach P just tries to uncover every rock and leave no rock unturned.”

The Horned Frogs work on their line play during practice. Photo by Cristian ArguetaSoto.

Patterson said the team is “prepared for possibly everything” they will see against Texas Tech but would not put anything past Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury, who he called “one of the brightest minds in all of college football.”

The nation’s leader in total offense, Texas Tech, will travel to Fort Worth averaging 591.4 yards per game through their first five contests. The Red Raiders also rank second nationally in passing offense with 407.6 yards per game.

Last season, TCU traveled to Lubbock and defeated the Red Raiders 27-3, but the score did not reflect what happened on the field in Patterson’s eyes.

We ended up giving up only three points, but they ran for over 200 yards against us,” he said. “You gotta get ready to handle it all. They’re a lot tougher to defend.”

Kingsbury has utilized three different quarterbacks this season: Alan Bowman, McLane Carter and Jett Duffey. Duffey has beaten teams with both his legs and arm, as he has completed 64 percent of his passes for 265 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing for 167 yards and two touchdowns this season.

I think any defense needs to respect Texas Tech and what they’re known for,” Dunham said. “You can’t prepare for anything because their Air Raid offense does it all, so the biggest thing is going in and preparing and honing in on our rules. We prepare to do everything.”

Bowman is in select company as one of six Texas Tech quarterbacks since 1999 to throw for at least 10 touchdowns with three or fewer interceptions through four starts. Bowman has thrown for 1,680 yards and 11 touchdowns with only three interceptions and ranks fourth in the nation in passing yards per game (336 yards).

Bowman suffered a partially collapsed lung in Tech’s last game against West Virginia but is expected to be available to play.

Alan Bowman (10) drops back to pass during the first half of an NCAA college football game against West Virginia in Lubbock, Texas. (AP Photo/Brad Tollefson, File)

The Big 12 has all types of quarterbacks that you have to game plan for,” said defensive end Ben Banogu. “We’ll game-plan for all of them, and whoever is out there, we will be ready to play against them. It’s our job to hold them to one less point than what their offense is going to put up.”

Dunham said the Frogs did not target their preparation toward one player but the team as a whole.

Like the Horned Frogs, Kingsbury and the Red Raiders will enter Thursday’s prime time contest off a bye week. Patterson said this is the best way to schedule a Thursday night game.

“It’s never fair if you play on Thursday night and one team plays on Saturday and the other team didn’t,” he said. “The fairest way is that both have the same amount of time.”

TCU’s last Thursday night game was Oct. 29, 2015, when the No. 5 Horned Frogs defeated West Virginia, 40-10.

The Horned Frogs and the Red Raiders will kickoff under the bright lights of Amon G. Carter Stadium at 6:30 Thursday evening.