Keys to a TCU Upset

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FORCE A MISTAKE EARLY

This game has offensive shoot-out written all over it, especially considering how poor TCU and Texas’ defenses have played. If it’s indeed going to be a track meet, it’s crucial that Texas doesn’t fall behind early. Yes, the offense needs to score early, but the defense also needs to force a TCU mistake early as well. A fumble, an interception or even forcing an early three-and-out would set the tone in a big way for Texas. It would also help deflate the TCU crowd and give Texas some early confidence against the No. 4 team in the nation.

ESTABLISH THE PASS

In two of his three starts, redshirt freshman quarterback Jerrod Heard had more rushing attempts than passing attempts. In his other start, a record-setting performance against California, Heard passed 31 times, but rushed 24 times as well.
Heard’s scrambling and rushing abilities is part of what makes him the best option for Texas at quarterback. A lot of those runs came from Heard making something out of nothing on broken plays. But, Texas needs to try and establish Heard in the passing game against the Horned Frogs. TCU’s pass defense is No. 6 in the Big 12, allowing 236 passing yards per game. This is a great game for Heard to make plays from the pocket and throw downfield. Yes, he can also make plays against a TCU defense that is also No. 6 in rushing defense, but Heard has a chance to really do some damage against the Horned Frogs through the air.

FIX SPECIAL TEAMS

Part of the reason why Texas is sitting at 1-3 are two heartbreaking special teams mistakes. There was senior kicker Nick Rose missing that infamous game-tying extra point against California. Against Oklahoma State, freshman punter Michael Dickson couldn’t catch a snap cleanly, setting the Cowboys up for the game-winning field goal. There have been some good things. Senior wide receiver Daje Johnson has been great in the return game, and Rose is 4-of-5 on field goals through four games. It’s just a matter of special teams being consistent and not making any more heartbreaking mistakes.