1-Biggest question for TCU: How will Casey Pachall perform? Head coach Gary Patterson said after the LSU game that Pachall is the starter, even after he pulled the senior for Trevone Boykin in the second half. Pachall was heavily pressured by LSU’s defense and couldn’t find a rhythm. Patterson said he put Boykin in because of his ability to get away from that pressure. Pachall will be looking to bounce back against the Lions.
2-Pachall and Boykin both started against the Tigers, with Pachall at quarterback and Boykin at receiver. Patterson has said that Boykin will continue to see playing time at receiver and quarterback.
3-Both quarterbacks will have to be more consistent when they are asked to throw the ball. Pachall was 9-for-16 passing Saturday with an interception. Boykin was 6-for-12.
4-Biggest question for Southeastern: How will the Lions’ new starting quarterback, Bryan Bennett, play against TCU’s defense? Bennett played well in his first start for the Lions, rushing for 106 yards and three TDs against Southeast Missouri, but TCU’s defense is expected to pose a greater challenge.
5-Bennett transferred to Southeastern after two years as a backup quarterback at Oregon. He scored 9 passing TDs and 6 rushing TDs in his career with the Ducks.
6-TE Stephen Bryant said last week that RB B.J. Catalon was a player poised for a breakout season. After racking up 233 all-purpose yards and two total TDs (including a 100 yard kickoff return TD) against LSU, Catalon is making Bryant look almost prophetic.
7-Catalon and RB Waymon James ran the ball well against LSU. Both averaged more than five yards per carry. RB Aaron Green didn’t carry the ball at all, but that will likely change Saturday.
8-After Catalon’s impressive showing in the return game, he is now listed as the starting kick returner for TCU. Catalon replaced WR Brandon Carter fielding kicks after Carter fumbled on his first return of the night.
9-However, Carter is still listed as the starting punt returner for the Frogs. Carter seemed rattled following his fumble and dropped a few passes that he could have caught. This week is a chance for him to rebound.
10-Speaking of Carter, Pachall will need help from him and other receivers. TCU gained only 145 passing yards against LSU, and 60 of those yards came on two passes (a 25-yarder from Pachall to Carter, and a 35-yarder from Boykin to Josh Doctson). Pachall has to be more accurate, but the wideouts need to make plays.
11-The status of suspended defensive end Devonte Fields is unclear for Saturday. Without Fields, the team had difficulties rushing the passer against LSU.
12-Both of TCU’s sacks on Saturday came on blitzes by defensive backs, and Patterson said Sunday that he probably should have called more blitzes against the Tigers. It will be interesting to see if he does that Saturday to help generate a pass rush if Fields is held out of the game.
13-Regarding Southeastern’s defense, Patterson said Tuesday that the Lions blitz a lot and are difficult to predict. The Lions’ base defense uses three linemen, three linebackers and five defensive backs. The three starting linebackers for Southeastern each weigh 250 pounds.
14-Southeastern’s offense is similar to those in the Big 12, which should help the Frogs prepare for conference play. While LSU wore down TCU by running between the tackles and using that to set up deep passes, Southeastern runs a spread attack similar to Texas Tech or Oklahoma State, running and passing out of the shotgun formation. As Patterson said on Wednesday: “These guys do it all.”
15-Uniform watch: TCU debuted its new Nike uniform last week. TCU sports information director Mark Cohen said at Meet the Frogs that the team has 48 possible uniform combinations. So what will the Frogs wear Saturday? My prediction: Purple matte helmets and purple jerseys. Nothing fancy as the Frogs just try to record their first win of the season.
16-TCU is ranked No. 24 in both the AP and Coaches’ Polls. The Frogs will be the first ranked team that Southeastern has played since 2009, when the Lions lost to No. 5 Ole Miss, 52-6.
17-This will be the second straight season that TCU has opened its home schedule against an FCS team from Louisiana. TCU defeated Grambling State 56-0 in its season opener last season.
18-TCU has five players on its roster from the state of Louisiana. Southeastern has 12 players on its roster from Texas.
19-Stat that bodes well for TCU: Southeastern is 2-8 in road openers since 2003. Meanwhile, TCU has won its past 11 home openers. Not a good sign for the Lions.
20-Stat that bodes well for Southeastern: Seven FBS teams were upset by FCS teams last week, including Kansas State, which won the Big 12 last season. Not a good sign for the Frogs.
21-Interesting connection: Both teams have former players on the same NFL roster. Former Southeastern CB Robert Alford was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft. The Falcons selected former TCU DE Stansly Maponga in the fifth round.
22-Both coaches are on Twitter. (Patterson: @TCUCoachP. Southeastern head coach Ron Roberts: @CoachRonRoberts.) However, Patterson’s followers will have to follow @Earth_Pics themselves now. The coach tweeted Saturday that he will only be tweeting on Thursdays during the season. Sorry fans.
23-Impact player for TCU: Catalon. He scored one more touchdown against the Tigers than he had through all of 2012. He’s likely to add to that number Saturday.
24-Impact player for Southeastern: Bennett. Last week, Bennett became the first quarterback to rush for 100 yards in a game for the Lions in 26 years. He made a number of athletic plays in his time at Oregon as well. If anyone will keep the Lions in this game, it will have to be him.