Who to watch: TCU vs. Texas

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    After falling to Oklahoma State 24-10 last week, TCU (3-4) looks to bounce back against Texas (4-2), who comes into the game after dominating Oklahoma 36-20.

    Here’s who to watch for each team:

    TCU

    Trevone Boykin, Sophomore, Quarterback

    At the end of the day, this TCU team will only go as far as Boykin takes it. Despite Oklahoma State giving up three first-half interceptions last Saturday, the Frogs never controlled the game due to a struggling offense. Against the Cowboys, Boykin was 17-of-35, a 48.5 percent pass completion rate. He also rushed 15 times, but came up with just 46 yards. Looking ahead to this weekend’s matchup against Texas, it’s ultimately up to Boykin to create an offensive threat that will give the stalwart defense a break.

    LaDarius Brown, Sophomore, Wide Receiver

    However, full support from other key players will also be required in order for any sort of offensive revival to occur. Enter Brown, who at 6 foot 4 inches and 220 pounds is the Frogs’ largest receiving threat. Last Saturday against Oklahoma State, Brown caught a team-high six balls for a total of 48 yards. Increasingly, Brown has been used on slant patterns and in the short passing game, so watch for Boykin to tap him this weekend on third-down conversion attempts.

    James Dunbar, Senior, Offensive Tackle

    When evaluating an offense, it is often easy to overlook the impact of the linemen up front. Dunbar is one of just three seniors on the Horned Frogs’ offensive line this season. Boykin’s increased rushing as of late has often been the result of a collapsing pocket, which has forced him to utilize his scrambling ability. It is up to Dunbar and the rest of the offensive line to protect the quarterback and provide him with more time to throw. Giving Boykin the security and space to make careful, patient plays will be essential this weekend against an athletic Texas squad.

    Texas

    Jonathan Gray, Sophomore, Running Back 
    In what has been considered a subpar season for the Longhorns, sophomore running back Jonathan Gray has been the one bright spot for the lackluster Texas offense. Gray leads the Longhorns in rushing yards with 562, running for four touchdowns. He ranks second in the Big 12 and 36th in the nation for rushing, averaging 93.7 yards a game. Two weeks ago against Oklahoma, Gray and fellow running back Malcolm Brown each rushed for over 100 yards, as Texas dominated in the run game against a strong Oklahoma defense. If Gray and Brown are able to turn in a similar performance this weekend against TCU, it could be another long afternoon for TCU. 

    Jackson Jeffcoat, Senior, Defensive End 
    During a press conference Tuesday, TCU head coach Gary Patterson said the TCU offensive line needs to do a better job protecting quarterback Trevone Boykin. Junior defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat will be looking to capitalize on TCU’s offensive struggles as one of the best pass rushers in the league. Through six games in 2013, Jeffcoat leads the Big 12 in sacks with five. Additionally, he leads the conference in tackles for a loss and leads Texas with nine quarterback pressures. It does not seem that Boykin will be given any more breathing room this weekend, especially with Jeffcoat lined up on the opposite side of the ball. 

    Case McCoy, Senior, Quarterback 
    Senior quarterback Case McCoy will be under center once again on Saturday in place of injured starter David Ash. On the season, McCoy has thrown for 764 yards and four touchdowns, completing 61 percent of his passes. In his last game against 17th ranked Oklahoma, McCoy threw for 190 yards and two touchdowns and lead Texas to a massive underdog victory. McCoy finds himself in a similar position this weekend against the favored Horned Frogs, and he will be anxious to silence his critics and prove his ability to lead the Texas offense in Ash’s absence. Should McCoy turn in another solid performance against the Frogs, it will be hard for head coach Mack Brown to overlook him when Ash does eventually return to full health.