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Red Raiders will get true measuring stick of their progress vs. Horned Frogs

Tech's Big 12 opener scheduled for Thursday

Posted: September 9, 2013 - 9:52pm  |  Updated: September 9, 2013 - 11:37pm
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Texas Tech's Baker Mayfield leaps between Stephen F. Austin's Jordan Burton and Avery Henderson during their game on Saturday in Lubbock. (Stephen Spillman/AJ Media)  Stephen Spillman / AJ Media
Stephen Spillman / AJ Media
Texas Tech's Baker Mayfield leaps between Stephen F. Austin's Jordan Burton and Avery Henderson during their game on Saturday in Lubbock. (Stephen Spillman/AJ Media)
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Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury doesn’t know everything about his new team from watching non-conference games against SMU and Stephen F. Austin. He’s about to find out if the Red Raiders are ready for prime time.

No. 24 TCU (1-1) visits Tech (2-0) for a nationally televised Big 12 opener at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, giving the Red Raiders a chance to show if they’re ready for the step up in competition.

“We’ll find out,” Kingsbury said Monday. “It’s a great measuring stick. They (the Horned Frogs) are at the top of the conference, and if you look at all the preseason polls where people would pick them with all the returners they have coming back, it’s going to be a great challenge. I’m not sure where we’re at as a team, but I know they’re really good.”

Big 12 defensive player of the year Devonte Fields, TCU’s sophomore defensive end, will make his first start of the season against Tech, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Monday. Fields, who had 10 sacks and 181/2 tackles for loss last year, has served a game and three quarters of a two-game suspension. Which quarters Fields sits are at TCU coach Gary Patterson’s discretion, so he could play the entire game Thursday.

Regardless of Fields’ status, the Horned Frogs figure to challenge Tech anyway with All-Big 12 cornerback Jason Verrett leading an experienced secondary.

Tech did have a lot of success against TCU last year, posting a 56-53 triple-overtime victory in Fort Worth. That was easily the most points any team scored against the Frogs.

When Kingsbury turns on the videotape, what most impresses him about the TCU defense?

“There are never any easy yards,” he said. “You have to earn every inch you get. They never make a mistake. If you hit a deep play, it’s because you made a great play, and I think that’s a sign of a well-coached defense. You turn on the film and try to find something (vulnerable), but it’s not there.”

This summer, it was easy to picture the Tech-TCU game featuring preseason all-Big 12 quarterback Casey Pachall from TCU against Tech quarterback Michael Brewer, but now neither is available for the league opener.

Yet, it’s not the worst possible scenario for either side.

TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin threw four touchdown passes last year against Tech, and Tech freshman Baker Mayfield leads the Big 12 in total offense, passing yards and passing touchdowns through two games.

Mayfield’s softened the loss of Brewer to a back injury, and Kingsbury doesn’t think he needs special advice this week.

“He’s played in big moments,” Kingsbury said. “When you play in state championship games in front of 50,000 people in high school like he did (at Lake Travis) ... . He’s got a chip on his shoulder, and he’s got goals. He’s trying to prove a lot of people wrong, so I know he’s excited about the opportunity.”

Boykin passed for 2,054 yards and rushed for 417 last year. His latest opportunity to quarterback the Frogs arose when Pachall suffered a fractured forearm Saturday in a 38-17 victory against Southeastern Louisiana. Pachall started the first two games of the season, one a 37-27 loss to LSU, but Boykin started nine games last year.

If nothing else, Tech defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt has some clarity in game planning.

“We thought all along coming out of the LSU game that No. 2 (Boykin) was maybe the guy that was being the most productive for them,” Wallerstedt said. “Now here he is in the spotlight, on national television with a group of offensive guys that rally around him. I think they believe in him. This’ll be a huge test for us.”

 

don.williams@lubbockonline.com

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College football

Who: TCU at Texas Tech

When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday

Where: Jones AT&T Stadium

Records: TCU 1-1, 0-0 in the Big 12 Conference; Texas Tech 2-0, 0-0.

Rankings: TCU No. 24 in The Associated Press Top 25 and USA Today coaches poll; Texas Tech unranked.

Last game: TCU 38, Southeastern Louisiana 17; Texas Tech 61, Stephen F. Austin 13

Last meeting: Tech 56, TCU 53 (3OT) last year in Fort Worth.

TV: ESPN (Suddenlink Cable channel 31)

Line: TCU by 31/2

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Why Tech Will Win

1. Kingsbury and his Staff. 2. Easier to play a short week at home than a short week on the road. 3. Tech starters had 2nd half "off" against SFA. TCU had to play entire game. 4. Tech Student Section. 5. TCU prisoner QB is hurt. 6. Tech is a dog at home.

Those who like TCU should meet me at the far left window at the sports book at GNLV prior to kickoff.

Go Tech!

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Can't wait!

I've been looking forward to this game since KK was hired last December. TCU is a quality opponent any way you look at it, if we can win this game we have a chance to win ANY game. That's something I haven't said about TTU in about 3 years. I hope Mayfield impresses the heck out of the nation, I hope our offense makes the TCU D look like fools! I hope our defense can make some vital stops and begin to earn some respect! Obviously, a lot of this might be wishful thinking, but any of could happen if our young guys can keep their composure.

GUNS UP!!!

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What we know is

that we dont know anything about Tech yet and that TCU isnt as good as LSU.

I have this as a low scoring game if Tech wins it- otherwise I would think TCU should be considered the favorite ...even on the road

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crowd could be the deciding factor

As was stated, TCU is going to be tough no matter how you look at it. If Tech stays calm and does not turn the ball over they will have a chance IMO, but the game may be slightly in TCU's favor due to experience.

However, if the fans shows up and are as rowdy as they can be it could make a huge difference. Not only does it help to intimidate the other team, it even more so fires up Tech's players. The crowd going nuts is the difference between Hyder getting a few sacks or not.....adrenaline!

Guns Up!!

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I agree Mikey

All things considered TCU is likely a better team overall, at least at this exact point in the season. However, I feel like the home team advantage will make up for that enough to create a very even ball game. If we pull off a win of any sort I will be ecstatic.

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