BIg 12 Thursday Night Picks: West Virginia Mountaineers at #5 TCU Horned Frogs

West Virginia Mountaineers at #5 Texas Christian Horned Frogs
Amon G. Carter – Fort Worth, Texas
Thursday, October 29, 2015, 7:30 pm Eastern, TV: Fox Sports 1
Opening Line: TCU -14
Current Line: TCU -14 (-115)
Opening Total: 74
Current Total: 74
Opening Money Line: TCU -600 / West Virginia +460
Current Money Line: TCU -625 / West Virginia +475

TCU is a heavy favorite against West Virginia Thursday.
TCU is a heavy favorite against West Virginia Thursday.

The 3-3 West Virginia conclude a brutal October gauntlet against four teams currently ranked in the top 14 nationally as they travel to the Texas Christian Horned Frogs Thursday night. West Virginia is 0-3 in the Big 12 ahead of only 0-4 Kansas and Kansas State. TCU is 7-0 this season and ranked in the top five in both polls. The Horned Frogs are 4-0 in conference and tied with Baylor and Oklahoma State for first.

The series is tied 2-2 between TCU and West Virginia. Since both teams joined the Big 12 four seasons ago, the road team has won all three games. The Horned Frogs won 31-30 in Morgantown last year.

West Virginia is coached by Dana Holgorsen. The Mountaineers opened the season with three straight non-conference wins all by blowouts. WVU beat Georgia Southern 44-0, Liberty 41-17 and Maryland 45-6. The Mountaineers have losses at Oklahoma 44-24 and Baylor 62-38 two weeks ago, plus a home loss to Oklahoma State 33-26 in overtime. WVU was off last week.

Baylor was a 20.5 point favorite against West Virginia in Waco and the total was 75.5. Baylor jumped out to a 17-7 lead in the first quarter and led 27-17 at halftime. The Bears blew the game open in the third by outscoring the Mountaineers 21-7. Each team scored 2 touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Baylor had 693 total yards to 471 for West Virginia. West Virginia is 2-4 ATS and the total is 2-4 this season.

TCU is coached by Gary Patterson. The Horned Frogs have road wins over Minnesota 23-17, Texas Tech 55-52, Kansas State 52-45 and Iowa State two weeks ago 45-21. TCU has home wins over Stephen F. Austin 70-7, SMU 56-37, and Texas 50-7. TCU was also off last week.

TCU was a 20.5 point favorite against Iowa State and the total was 69. Iowa State took a 21-14 lead after the first, but the Cyclones wouldn’t score again. TCU scored the last 31 points of the game. Despite the teams combining for almost 1,100 yards on offense the game stayed under the total. The Cyclones had two turnovers and the Horned Frogs had one. TCU is 3-4 ATS and the total is 4-3 this season.

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West Virginia is outscoring teams 36-27 this season. The Mountaineers are #29 in scoring nationally. West Virginia averages 486 yards per game on offense including 270 passing and 216 rushing yards. The Mountaineers are #29 or better in all three categories nationally. On defense, WVU is allowing 401 total yards including 233 passing and 168 rushing yards. West Virginia has forced 16 turnovers and has 12 of their own. The Mountaineers average 86 penalty yards per game and opponents average 68. West Virginia is 48/112 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 29/98. The Mountaineers have forced 11 sacks and allowed 19 this season. WVU is 24/29 scoring in the red zone with 17 touchdowns, and opponents are 16/20 with 10 touchdowns. The Mountaineers have allowed 2 defensive touchdowns

Quarterback Skyler Howard has completed 59% of his passes for 1,566 yards with 15 touchdowns and 6 interceptions, and also has 77 carries for 338 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns. Back-up William Crest, Jr. has seen some action in the three blowouts so far. He has thrown for 53 yards, and has 15 carries for 69 yards and a touchdown.

Running back Wendell Smallwood has 101 carries for 689 yards and 5 touchdowns, along with 18 catches for 106 yards. Rushel Shell has 88 carries for 332 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 6 catches for 54 yards.

Receiver Shelton Gibson has 23 catches for 540 yards and 6 touchdowns. Jovon Durante has 17 catches for 247 yards and 3 touchdowns. Daikiel Shorts has 20 catches for 251 yards and a touchdown. Jordan Thompson has 11 catches for 176 yards.

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TCU is outscoring teams 50-27 this season. The Horned Frogs are #2 in scoring nationally. TCU averages 616 yards per game, including 390 passing and 227 rushing yards. The Horned Frogs are in the top 5 nationally in total and passing offense, and #17 in rushing. On defense, TCU is allowing 397 yards per game, including 224 passing and 174 rushing yards. The Horned Frogs have forced 10 turnovers and have 7 of their own. TCU averages 80 penalty yards per game and opponents average 41 per game. The Horned Frogs are 54/98 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 44/125. TCU has forced 17 sacks and allowed 5 this season. The Frogs are 32/39 scoring in the red zone with 29 touchdowns. Opponents are 21/26 with 16 touchdowns. TCU has two defensive touchdowns this season.

Quarterback Trevone Boykin has completed 66.4% of his passes for 2,539 yards with 25 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. He has also rushed for 480 yards on 77 carries with 5 touchdowns. Back-up Bram Kohlhausen has thrown for 135 yards with a touchdown.

Running back Aaron Green has 110 carries for 658 yards and 8 touchdowns, plus 4 catches and a touchdown. Trevorris Johnson has 30 carries for 179 yards. Kyle Hicks has 25 catches for 138 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Receiver Josh Doctson has 60 catches for 1,067 yards and 12 touchdowns. KaVontae Turpin has 18 catches for 313 yards and 6 touchdowns. He is probable for undisclosed reasons. Kolby Listenbee has 15 catches for 303 yards and 3 touchdowns. Desmon White has 19 catches for 258 yards.  Shaun Nixon has 13 catches for 171 yards. Ty Slanina has 11 catches for 134 yards, but is out for the season with a broken collarbone. Three defensive players are listed as questionable or out.

West Virginia is 3-7 ATS after failing to cover, 2-5 after a straight up loss by 20 points or more, 1-4 after gaining more than 450 total yards, and overall, 1-5 after a straight up loss, in Big 12 games, and after allowing more than 450 total yards, 2-10 in October, 1-6 against teams with winning records, and 1-8 after a bye week.

TCU is 12-1 ATS on grass, 11-1 at home, 7-1 after gaining more than 450 total yards, 6-1 in October, 20-7 after a bye week, 11-4 in Big 12 games, 16-6 overall, 13-5 after a straight up win, and after allowing more than 450 total yards, 10-4 after accumulating more than 280 passing yards, 9-4 after a cover, 17-8 after passing for 280 yards or more, and 2-5 after a straight up win of more than 20 points.

TCU has struggled on defense, but when you score 50 points a game it doesn’t really matter. West Virginia can score but I don’t know if they can keep up with TCU. Still, I think the Horned Frogs win but the Mountaineers stay within the number.

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