1. Will TCU be more energized after ten days of rest?
Last Saturday was the Frogs’ first open date since week one, giving TCU some much-needed rest. Because of the extra time off, TCU head coach Gary Patterson had flexibility in the team’s practice schedule. Patterson wanted to have physical practices early and have “game plan practices” this week. Thus, the Horned Frog players got a couple days off to get energy back. Patterson said quarterback Trevone Boykin would not have played if the Frogs’ game were last
Saturday, but he is healthier now and ready for Texas. Boykin, and the rest of the banged-up Frogs, will need to be energized to take down the Longhorns, who also had last Saturday off.
2. Can the Frogs play at their highest level for four quarters?
This has a lot to do with their level of energy. If the Frogs are rested and healthy, they will be more equipped to battle for 60 minutes. Texas has four wins by less than ten points this season, and if the Frogs can keep it close for four quarters and avoid digging themselves into a rut, they may be able to steal a close game in Austin.
3. Can TCU’s defense repeat the success it had in the Kansas State game?
The Horned Frog defense was stellar against Kansas State last week. The explosive Wildcat offense managed only 260 yards and a season-low 23 points. TCU is matched up with another stout offense this week, however, as the Longhorns rank thirteenth in the country with almost 40 points per game in 2012. The Frogs lead the Big 12 conference in rush defense, total defense, and opponents’ third down percentage, but they will need to have just as effective of a game plan to keep shut down the Texas offense.
4. Will TCU be able to establish a running game?
TCU needs to capitalize on weaknesses to beat a team ranked no. 16 in the country, and the Longhorns surrender 200 yards per game. If the Frogs can establish a consistent rushing attack, it will allow more flexibility for Boykin in the passing game. The Texas defense gives up only 229 passing yards per game. TCU has plenty of weapons in the aerial attack to exceed that number, but getting the running game will be critical in keeping the offense on the field and attacking the Longhorn defense.
5. What effect will the big stage have on the Horned Frogs?
The Frogs have been on plenty of “big stages” recently. They are no strangers to national TV, or to big-time opponents. But Thanksgiving Day in front of over 100,000 people is a test the team has not faced. The Frogs haven’t played on Thanksgiving since 1928, and haven’t seen anything close to 100,000-plus in the same building since the Rose Bowl. As usual, the concern with a young team is nerves getting to them. And against elite competition, there is little margin for jitters.