In the last game of the season, TCU (4-7) takes on Baylor (9-1) with nothing to play for besides pride. The Frogs will not be going to a bowl game for the first time since 2004 while Baylor is coming off a 49-17 loss against Oklahoma State that ended its national championship hopes.
Here’s who to watch for each team:
Derrick Kindred, Sophomore, Safety
Even after last week’s 17-point effort, Baylor’s average of over 60 points per game through its first nine games is no fluke. This offense is fast and to counter that a team needs speed on the defensive side. Enter Kindred, a sophomore who has had 17 tackles over the last two games. Kindred may be pressed into man coverage against Baylor’s speedy receivers and counted on to prevent runs from bouncing to the outside. Look to see if Kindred can minimize big-play damage and continue his current form.
Jason Verrett, Senior, Safety
With TCU’s bowl hopes gone, Saturday’s matchup with Baylor will be the last Verrett plays in a Horned Frog uniform. A shutdown corner and fan favorite, Verrett will have his hands full against Baylor’s high-powered passing attack. Verrett may be matched up against Antwan Goodley. Goodley is a Midland, Texas native who has 1,193 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns on the season. Enjoy Verrett’s final game in royal purple.
Jon Koontz, Senior, Defensive End
Though not as well known as Verrett, Koontz is another senior who will have a large impact against Baylor in his last game as a Frog. Koontz saw his workload increase this year after the injury to fellow defensive end Devonte Fields. In the last two games, Koontz has seven tackles and two sacks. Koontz will be crucial in containing Lache Seastrunk and Shock Linwood, Baylor’s speedy running backs.
Bryce Petty, Junior, Quarterback
In his first season as a starter, Bryce Petty has enjoyed a wealth of success and has even found himself on the Heisman Trophy shortlist. His Heisman hopes took a serious hit a week ago, however, in a disappointing loss to Oklahoma State that saw Petty vastly outplayed by his the Cowboys’ Clint Chelf. Petty threw for 359 yards and two touchdowns, completing 28-of-48 passes in a game that saw the Bears struggle to get anything going on either side of the ball. With star wide receiver Tevin Reese sidelined for the rest of the year with an injury, Petty and the Bears will have to figure out how to utilize their other offensive weapons for the remaining two games this season if their BCS bowl hopes are to stay alive.
Shock Linwood, Redshirt Freshman, Running Back
The Bears 2013 running game can only be described as electric. They have averaged nearly 280 yards on the ground per game this season. Yet against Oklahoma State, Baylor only managed 94 yards in their least productive game all season. The absence of injured back Lache Seastrunk was noticable as Shock Linwood found little to no running room amidst a stout Cowboys defensive front. While head coach Art Briles has said he is “hopeful” Seastrunk may return for the TCU game, if he is not ready to go, Linwood will have to put the Oklahoma State game behind him and focus on putting forth a better performance against TCU.
Cyril Richardson, Senior, Offensive Guard
When a team like Baylor struggles to rack up yards the way they did a week ago against Oklahoma State, it’s natural for fingers to be pointed at the offensive line for not doing its job. After losing star lineman Spencer Drango, who had started 22 straight games, to back surgery, the Bears front line looked flustered and lost. With his loss, senior All-American Cyril Richardson and the rest of the Baylor offensive line will have to prepare for another tough test. The TCU defense will surely enter the game with a chip on its shoulder after a last second loss to Kansas State two weeks ago. If Baylor wnts to get its prolific offense back in motion, it will all start with Richardson and the rest of the offensive line.