Big 12 College Football Picks: Texas Longhorns at #4 Texas Christian Horned Frogs

Texas Longhorns at #4 Texas Christian Horned Frogs
Amon G. Carter Stadium – Fort Worth, Texas
Saturday, October 3, 2015, 12:00 pm Eastern, TV: ABC
Opening Line: TCU -17 1/2
Current Line: TCU -15
Opening Total: 70
Current Total: 72
Opening Money Line: TCU -950 / Texas +625
Current Money Line: TCU -650 / Texas +475

TCU is a heavy favorite against a reeling Texas team.
TCU is a heavy favorite against a reeling Texas team.

The Texas Longhorns are 1-3 this season and have lost two straight games in heartbreaking fashion. IT doesn’t get any easier as Texas travels to the #4 Texas Christian Horned Frogs Saturday. TCU is 4-0 this season.

Texas leads the series against TCU 62-22-1, including 27-9 in Fort Worth. TCU has won 2 of the last 3 games since joining the Big 12 three seasons ago. Last year, the Horned Frogs won 48-10 in Austin.

Texas is coached by Charlie Strong. The Longhorns lost at Notre Dame 38-3 to open the season before beating Rice 42-28 at home. Texas lost at home to California 45-44. The Longhorns trailed by 21 points going into the fourth, but scored 3 touchdowns in the final quarter. The Longhorns missed the potential game tying extra point with just over a minute left.

Last week, Texas hosted Oklahoma State. The Longhorns scored two defensive touchdowns and led 27-24 with less than 2 minutes left in the fourth. After an Oklahoma State field goal tied the game, Texas took over deep in their own territory. The game appeared headed to overtime, but the Longhorns botched a punt that only went 10 yards. The Cowboys took over already in field goal range and would kick the game winning field goal to make the final 30-27. OSU was a 2.5 point favorite and the total was 63. Texas is 1-3 ATS and the total is 2-2 this season.

TCU is coached by Gary Patterson. The Horned Frogs opened the season with a 23-17 win on the road at Minnesota. TCU then beat Stephen F. Austin 70-7 and SMU 56-37, both at home. Last week, TCU opened Big 12 play at Texas Tech.

The game was back and fourth and neither team led by more than 9 points. Texas Tech took a 52-48 lead with just under 6 minutes to go. TCU scored the go-ahead touchdown with 23 seconds left on an incredible catch from running back Aaron Green on a deflected ball. Texas Tech had one more shot and tried a hail mary from their own 30. It was incomplete but the Horned Frogs were called for an ill-advised roughing the passer penalty. Texas Tech threw a short pass but several laterals got them all the way to the TCU 10 before being forced out of bounds to end the game.

The Horned Frogs held on for the 55-52 win. The game featured 13 ties or lead changes. The two teams combined for almost 1,400 yards and 70 first downs. Neither team had a turnover. TCU was a 5 point favorite and the total was 83.5. The Horned Frogs are 1-3 ATS and the total is 3-1 this season.

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Texas is being outscored 35-29 this season. The Longhorns average 345 yards per game on offense including 179 passing and 167 rushing yards. Texas is #106 or worse in total and passing offense. On defense, Texas is allowing 483 yards per game including 277 passing and 206 rushing yards. The Longhorns are #106 or worse in all defensive categories including points allowed out of 128 FBS teams.  Texas has forced ten turnovers and has four of their own. The Longhorns average 78 penalty yards per game and opponents average 46. Texas is 17/55 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 39/67. The Longhorns have forced 7 sacks and allowed 14. Texas is 9/9 scoring in the red zone with 7 touchdowns. Opponents are 19/21 with 14 touchdowns. Texas has a punt return for a touchdown plus three defensive touchdowns.

Quarterback Jerrod Heard has thrown for 613 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, and rushed for 295 yards on 55 carries and 3 touchdowns. Tyrone Swoopes has thrown for 101 yards and rushed for 60 yards on 14 carries with a touchdown.

Running back Johnathan Gray has 38 carries for 149 yards with 3 touchdowns, plus 5 catches for 79 yards. D’onta Foreman has 26 carries for 99 yards with 2 touchdowns, plus 2 catches for 20 yards.

Receiver Daje Johnson has 13 catches for 196 yards. John Burt has 7 catches for 186 yards and a touchdown.  Armanti Foreman has 7 catches for 113 yards and a touchdown.

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TCU is outscoring teams 51-28 this season. The Horned Frogs are #5 in scoring nationally. TCU averages 637 yards per game, including 402 passing and 235 rushing yards. The Horned Frogs are in the top 3 nationally in total and passing offense, and #22 in rushing. On defense, TCU is allowing 406 yards per game, including 235 passing and 171 rushing yards. The Horned Frogs have forced 5 turnovers and have 4 of their own. TCU averages 80 penalty yards per game and opponents average 39 per game. The Horned Frogs are 35/64 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 22/71. TCU has forced 10 sacks and allowed 4 this season. The Frogs are 20/25 scoring in the red zone with 19 touchdowns. Opponents are 13/16 with 9 touchdowns. TCU has one defensive touchdown this season.

Quarterback Trevone Boykin has completed 64.7% of his passes for 1,470 yards with 14 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. He has also rushed for 190 yards on 46 carries with 2 touchdowns. Back-up Bram Kohlhausen has thrown for 112 yards with a touchdown. Running back Aaron Green has 73 carries for 434 yards and 6 touchdowns, plus 4 catches and a touchdown. Trevorris Johnson and Kyle Hicks will also get some carries.

Three wide receivers are questionable or out for TCU. Kolby Listenbee is questionable with an undisclosed injury. Ty Slanina is out indefinitely with a broken collarbone. Andre Petties-Wilson is suspended indefinitely. Josh Doctson has 35 catches for 593 yards and 6 touchdowns. Listenbee has 9 catches for 202 yards and 2 touchdowns. Shaun Nixon has 8 catches for 112 yards. Slanina has 11 catches for 134 yards. Desmon White has 10 catches for 134 yards.  KaVontae Turpin has 8 catches for 107 yards and 2 touchdowns. Five defensive players are listed as questionable or out.

Texas is 9-3 ATS against teams with winning home records, 5-2 after passing for less than 170 yards, 3-8 in October, 1-4 after a straight up loss, 1-5 overall and on grass, 0-5 after allowing 280 yards passing yards or more. The road team has covered 4 of the last 5 games in this series.

TCU is 4-0 ATS in October, 10-1 at home and on grass, 7-1 after gaining more than 450 yards or more, 6-1 after allowing 40 points or more, 4-1 after an ATS loss, and against teams with a losing records, 9-3 in Big 12 games, 12-4 after allowing 450 total yards or more, 14-5 overall, 11-4 after a straight up win, 8-3 after passing for 280 yards or more, 35-16 against teams with losing road records, 2-5 after scoring more than 40 points, and 1-4 after allowing 200 rushing yards or more.

Neither one of these teams are great on defense, and in fact are pretty bad. The difference is TCU has a top tier offense and Texas struggles to move the ball. The Longhorns simply don’t have the fire power to get in a shootout with the Horned Frogs, but they can’t stop them either. TCU wins this game handily.

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