After falling to Texas 30-7 last week, TCU (3-5) looks to bounce back against West Virginia (3-5), who comes into the game after losing three straight.
Here’s who to watch for each team:
Casey Pachall, Senior, Quarterback
He’s back. Pachall will most likely be the starter for this Saturday’s game against West Virginia, his first start since Week 2 against Southeastern Louisiana when he broke his forearm. Pachall’s 13-for-34 performance against Texas was underwhelming in a rain-delayed game. Head coach Gary Patterson said this week that he wanted Pachall on the field for his leadership abilities. Pachall’s leadership and intangibles may be just what this offense needs to get back on track.
Davion Pierson, Sophomore, Defensive Tackle
TCU missed this 305-pound sophomore from Oklahoma City, Okla., in the rush defense last Saturday against Texas. Texas racked up 187 yards rushing and successfully ran for first downs to shorten the game after the rain delay. Pierson is back from injury this week and the defense will be glad to have him back. West Virginia’s two leading rushers, Charles Sims and Dreamius Smith, have nearly 1,000 yards rushing combined and are averaging almost five yards a carry. Look to see if Pierson is effective in his first game back from injury this Saturday.
Sam Carter, Junior, Safety
Carter had seven total tackles including six assisted tackles against Texas, and he is regarded as one of TCU’s most important defensive players. Carter was named the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week back in Week 5 against SMU. After a rough game against Texas, Patterson and the rest of the TCU defense will be looking to Carter for a big game and perhaps force a fumble or an interception against a West Virginia team who a had its own share of quarterback issues throughout the season.
Charles Sims, Running Back, Senior
Following the departure of West Virginia superstars Geno Smith and Tavon Austin, many wondered who would step up and deliver for the Mountaineer offense. Running back Charles Sims was brought in to help solidify the West Virginia offense after a junior season at the University of Houston where he finished second in all-purpose yards in Conference USA, Much like the Mountaineer’s season however, Sims has been underwhelming through the first eight games of the season. Despite being the best offensive weapon for West Virginia, having rushed for 600 yards and four touchdowns this season, he has yet to show the big play capability that was expected from him at the start of the season. If the Mountaineers are able to get anything done offensively on Saturday, look for it to come through Charles Sims.
Darwin Cook, Safety, Senior
Despite the return of Casey Pachall, the TCU offense failed to generate much of anything against a stout Texas defense. West Virginia’s leading tackler Darwin Cook will be anxious to pick up right where the Texas defense left off. Through eight games this season, Cook has amassed 51 tackles, 44 of which have been unassisted. His team-leading four interceptions makes him a threat to the TCU passing game which has struggled immensely this season. In a game that will feature two struggling offenses, it may come down to the two defenses to decide Saturday’s matchup. Look for Cook and the West Virginia defense to make a big impact this weekend
Kevin White, Wide Receiver, Junior
In a blowout loss against Baylor three weeks ago, wide receiver Kevin White had a breakout performance that saw him reel in seven passes for 130 yards and two touchdowns. He is averaging 15.7 yards a catch and ranks third in receptions with 24. He leads the Mountaineers with three touchdowns, despite missing a game and leads West Virginia in receiving yards with 9 less catches than receiving leader Charles Sims. What White brings to the Mountaineers is the threat of the deep ball, something that plagued the TCU secondary a week ago against Texas. The Frogs struggled to contain the Longhorns on 3rd down, and gave quarterback Case McCoy ample time to find his receivers downfield. Should they give West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett the same luxury Saturday, look for him to target White early and often.