TCU earned its first win of the season last week at Air Force. Let’s take a look the Frogs’ matchup with Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday.
TCU’s Casey Pachall has surprised a lot of people with his success over the past two games. Anyone questioning who the leader of TCU’s offense is needs to watch the games more closely. Pachall is squaring off against Monroe’s Kolton Browning. Browning must be licking his chops to throw the ball 40 times against a weak TCU secondary. However, on pure skill and ability, Pachall has the edge. Advantage: TCU
Jyruss Edwards will get the start for ULM, but Centarius Donald has outgained his counterpart. ULM does not make its money on the ground. Ed Wesley will still not be playing, but Matthew Tucker and Waymon James ran with a purpose last week. TCU’s depth at running back is a major advantage. Advantage: TCU
Antoine Hicks had a good comeback game after struggling versus Baylor. Josh Boyce also had a good game last week versus Air Force, as he caught five passes for 76 yards. Freshman David Porter also got into the end zone for the second straight game for the Frogs. TCU’s secondary will have the unenviable task of trying to slow down ULM receiver Tavarese Maye. Maye, who is also a sprint champion, is averaging 14.1 yards per catch and can use his speed to beat TCU cornerbacks over the top. TCU has more depth and talent from top to bottom, but Maye could give TCU headaches. Draw.
Kenny Cain served TCU well last week in Tanner Brock’s absence. Brock will be out again this week, so Cain and Kris Gardner will need to step up again. In ULM’s 3-4 scheme, it likes to bring pressure from the outside, but the defensive ends aren’t the best at getting sacks and tackles for loss. Last time I checked, Tank Carder is still going to be wearing a TCU uniform this weekend. Advantage: TCU
It seems like TCU’s secondary gets just about everyone riled up. Everyone has an opinion on it. The secondary is not as bad as it showed at Baylor. Johnny Fobbs had no tackles versus Baylor then led TCU in tackles versus Air Force. However, the secondary is also not as good as many people expected in the preseason. Kevin White has done an admirable job at corner, and Trenton Thomas filled in well for Sam Carter last week. The secondary will be tested mightily this weekend versus ULM. Darius Prelow and Nate Brown could play corner and safety for a lot of Division I teams, and until TCU’s secondary can stop a strong passing attack, it gets nothing more than a draw versus Louisiana-Monroe. Draw
TCU was not as good on special teams a week ago in the return game, but the coverage teams made some very nice plays. Antonio Gravesand Travaras Battle are both very good on punt and kickoff coverage teams. Look for TCU to get a big play or two on special teams this weekend. ULM averages just 18.1 yards per kickoff return. Advantage: TCU
TCU is looking to take another step forward after showing its strength last week versus Air Force. I expect Pachall and the TCU offense to move the ball well, and I expect more big numbers from the offense. The TCU secondary will learn as the game goes on how to contain Browning and limit the big plays. TCU wins 45-17.