Key Matchups: vs. No. 10 TCU

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Quarterback

Advantage: TCU

Sophomore Shane Buechele elbowed his way back into the quarterback conversation with a dominant performance on Saturday against Baylor. With both Buechele and freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger healthy for the approaching road matchup, Texas’ quarterback situation has returned to its seemingly continuous state of uncertainty. But no matter who ends up stepping onto the field, the Horned Frogs will have the advantage under center. 

Junior Kenny Hill has led his team to a single loss in eight games behind 15 touchdowns and over 1,800 yards. Despite a sloppy performance in the loss to Iowa State in Week 9 — including two interceptions and a key fourth-quarter fumble — Hill remains to be one of the top playmakers in the Big 12 conference. However, he’ll need a win at home to stay in the playoff conversation. 

Running Back

Advantage: TCU

Freshman running backs Toneil Carter and Daniel Young breathed new life into Texas’ run game last Saturday. Young averaged an efficient 8.6 yards per carry, and the team was able to establish a ground game early in the road win over Baylor. Still, until we see more from these emerging threats, the polished TCU ground offense maintains an edge. 

Sophomore running back Darius Anderson has churned his way to 627 yards and six touchdowns — the fourth best in the conference. He has been a consistent weapon for the Horned Frogs through all eight games, but may struggle to produce in the face of the formidable Longhorn ground defense.

Wide Receiver

Advantage: TCU

Texas flexed its receiving muscles last Saturday as it saw production up and down the line. Sophomore wide receiver Lil’Jordan Humphrey led the way with five catches and 55 yards to go along with a touchdown. But that performance came against the lowly Bears, and not the conference-best pass defense of TCU. 

The Horned Frogs boast an equally-if-not-more-talented bevy of receivers. Senior John Diars and freshman Jalen Reagor have a combined 675 receiving yards and six touchdowns this season, while senior Desmon White has another 22 receptions. The trio provide a number of deep threats for Kenny Hill and the Horned Frog offense. 

Defense

Advantage: TCU

For what feels like the first time the season, Texas lacks an advantage on defense heading into a matchup. The team has leaned heavily on its defensive units all season as the orange and white offense struggle to find consistency on the other side of the ball. Junior cornerback DeShon Elliott and junior linebacker Malik Jefferson have made their case as the best two pieces on the Longhorn roster, but their combined effort may not be enough heading into the defensive juggernaut that is TCU. 

The Horned Frogs currently sweep the conference in defensive categories. They possess the top run defense, pass defense, scoring defense and total defense. Through eight games, they’ve held opponents to an average 14.8 points per contest. They won’t need to beat Texas on the offensive end, though they can. The Longhorns will struggle to put up more than a touchdown on the road against the sea of purple and white defenders.