This Saturday, the Horned Frogs travel to Morgantown, West Virginia to take on the Mountaineers. On the cusp of cracking the top four of the inaugural College Football Playoff, the newly 7th ranked TCU Horned Frogs will have to be perfect for the remainder of the season. A week after humiliating Texas Tech at home, the Frogs are out to prove that the 82-point outburst isn’t a fluke and their new ranking is deserved.
Meanwhile, West Virginia has taken many by surprise in their emergence as Big 12 title contenders, shocking the previously 5th-ranked Baylor Bears two weeks ago and now finding themselves ranked 20th in the country. Here are three players to watch for both teams heading into this weekend.
Kevin White, Senior, Wide Receiver
Regarded as one of the best wide receivers in the country, Heisman Trophy candidate Kevin White has been electric for the Mountaineers in 2014. Leading the Big 12 in every receiving category, White is West Virginia’s biggest offensive threat. Averaging nine catches and 130 yards per game, TCU’s best hope will be to limit White to short receptions and hope he doesn’t burn them deep. TCU’s secondary will certainly have their hands full with White come Saturday.
Clint Trickett, Senior, Quarterback
In what has been a remarkable breakout season for TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin, West Virginia’s Clint Trickett has quietly undergone a similar transformation for the Mountaineers. Leading the Big 12 with 345 yards per game, Trickett is a new quarterback this season and has been proficient in protecting the ball, with only five interceptions on the season. While Trickett certainly does not possess the mobility of Boykin, with a target like receiver Kevin White to aim for, Trickett and the Mountaineer offense is extremely dangerous.
Nick Kwiatkoski, Junior, Linebacker
Last week against Texas Tech, the TCU offense showed that they are able to score early and often. There is no question then that Nick Kwiatkoski and the West Virginia defense is determined to keep that potent TCU offense at bay and avoid yet another headline-grabbing score line. So far this season, Kwiatkoski leads the mountaineers with 62 tackles, nine of those for a loss. Given the significance of the game, don’t be surprised to see the WVU defense start aggressively to keep TCU from having yet another fast start.
Kevin White, Senior, Cornerback
Not very often do two players with the same first and last name get the opportunity to line up across from one another, and “the battle of the Kevin White’s” presents the most intriguing matchup of Saturday’s game. Not only do they share the same name, but both Kevin White’s are the best player at their respective positions. There are lingering questions as to how good White and the TCU secondary truly is, and those questions will be answered Saturday in one of their most difficult tests of the season.
Aaron Green, Junior, Running Back
In last weekend’s lopsided victory, Aaron Green made the most of his six carries, rushing for 105 yards and one touchdown on a 65-yard dash for TCU’s first touchdown of the game. TCU’s four-pronged rushing attack made up of Green, Trevorris Johnson, B.J. Catalon and Kyle Hicks has averaged 212 yards per game, a nice compliment to Boykin and the passing game. While TCU will look to stick to their guns through the air, the option to run the ball with four different backs adds a degree of versatility to the Frogs dynamic offense.
Deante’ Gray, Junior, Wide Receiver
When Josh Doctson limped off the field towards the end of last Saturday’s game against Tech, Frog fans feared the worst for their leading wide receiver. Although Coach Gary Patterson said he believes Doctson will play Saturday, the extent of his injury is still unclear. Even if he is able to go against West Virginia, his role will probably be limited. With his injury, Deante’ Gray becomes TCU’s biggest threat in the passing game alongside Kolby Listenbee. Gray had a fantastic day against Tech, the highlight being a 92-yard touchdown reception to put the Frogs up by 34. Look for Gray to have a big day against a Mountaineer secondary that allowed 200 yards through the air last week against a subpar Oklahoma State passing game.
It will be interesting to see how TCU responds to the pressure of being ranked the No. 7 team in the country. With West Virginia riding high off of two successive victories, they will be looking to make another statement against the Frogs. While highly unlikely that TCU will rack up another 82 points, expect a close shootout between two high-powered offenses. TCU 42, WVU, 38