#4 TCU Horned Frogs vs. #18 Texas Longhorns (11/12 @ 7:30 PM EST)
Spread: Texas -7
Money Line: TCU +224 / Texas -271
Overview and Betting Info
ESPN college gameday will be heading to Austin for a matchup between the fourth-ranked TCU Horned Frogs (8-0) and the eighteenth-ranked Texas Longhorns (6-3). It’s a rivalry dominated by TCU in recent history, winning seven of their last ten meetings. Texas won last season and will have a chance at back-to-back wins against the Frogs for the first time since 2007.
TCU is 7-1-1 against the spread this year, seven of their previous eight games. They also did well on the road, going 3-0-1 versus the spread. They’ve gone over the point six times, including in three of their previous five games.
Texas has also fared well, going 6-3 against the spread. They’ve covered three of their previous five games and are 4-1 when playing at home. They’ve leaned toward the under all season, hitting it five times. They’ve gone under in three of their last five games.
TCU Horned Frogs
TCU finds themselves ranked fourth in the nation at 8-0. Their success has been propelled by an offense averaging over 500 yards per game (4th in FBS) and 7.36 yards per play (2nd FBS). It’s not a shock when you look at their roster, as it’s filled with dangerous playmakers. Chief among them is quarterback Max Duggan who already has amassed 2,407 passing yards and 24 touchdowns. While he’s among the best in the nation, Duggan has struggled with accuracy as of late. After completing 72% of his passes over their first five games, he’s completed just 58% over their last four games. It’s not something we usually see from the senior, and it will be a vital part of the game Saturday as he deals with a wild Texas crowd.
Duggan is helped by some elite playmakers, including receiver Quentin Johnston (42 receptions, 650 yards, 4 TDs) and running back Kendre Miller. Johnston has found the end zone in their last four games and is third in the conference in yards. The other elite playmaker is running back Kendre Miller. He’s the second-leading rusher in the conference and leads a rush attack that is fifteenth in the country with 219.7 yards per game. He’s gone for over 100 yards in seven of his last eight games and has a whopping 12 touchdowns on the season.
Defense is where the Frogs can be beaten, as they allow 396 yards per game (86th in FBS). Worse, they surrender over 30 points per game to ranked opponents. Despite their struggles, it’s an aggressive defense with a few players capable of changing a game. Keep an eye on linebacker Dee Winters (6.5 sacks and 43 tackles) to combine with defensive backs Josh Newton (7 PD, 2 INT) and Bud Clark (3 INT) to put pressure on Texas’ freshmen quarterback Saturday.
While Texas’s season has had its ups and downs (primarily due to injuries), they find themselves at 6-3 and ranked eighteenth in the country. It’s impressive, as they have a freshman at the helm in quarterback Quinn Ewers. He won the job in the summer and has performed well. Accuracy has been an issue, especially over the last two weeks, where he’s completed just 46% of his passes. Less than ideal, but both games were on the road against ranked teams. At home, he’s completed over 70%. He has three experienced pass catchers that he relies on in Xavier Worthy (441 yards, 9 TDs), tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders (450 yards, 5 TD), and Jordan Whittington (426 yards, 1 TD).
While Ewers and the passing game have shown promise, this offense is powered by running back Bijan Robinson. He’s been a beast all season, leading the Big 12 in yards (1,129) while adding 12 touchdowns. It’s worth noting that he is coming off a monster game (209 yards) against a KSU defense that is on par with TCU. The running back is also a dangerous receiving threat, with 314 yards and two touchdowns. TCU will scheme against him, but they don’t have the personnel to contain Johnson.
The Texas defense allows 381.7 yards per game but has successfully kept teams out of the end zones. While they struggled on the road at Oklahoma State and KSU, they’ve yet to allow more than 21 points at home. One area they will need to improve on Saturday is their secondary, as the Longhorns have the second-worst completion percentage in the conference. This was highlighted last week when they were lit up by Adrian Martinez, a running quarterback who managed a career day with 329 passing yards. They have a very talented corner in D’Shawn Jamison (7 PD, 2 INT) that can help contain Johnston, but they’ll need the rest of the unit to step up as one of the best passing attacks in the country comes to town. Also, keep an eye on linebacker Jaylan Ford who has been the backbone of the defense (2 sacks, 2 INT, 2 FR) and leads the Big 12 with 82 tackles.
Free Pick: TCU +7
We acknowledge that Bijan Robinson could go for over 200 yards again, but we still like TCU here. As dominant as the Texas run game is, the TCU passing game will be a big problem for the Longhorn’s defense. They have been exposed in a big way these last two games, giving up 391 yards to Spencer Sanders and 329 to Adrian Martinez. Duggan is a better passer than both, meaning Texas is in trouble.
The home-field advantage stops us from taking the money line, but we’re happy to take the 7 points to roll with TCU Saturday night.