The Horned Frogs have gone just 2-4 since Casey Pachall’s DWI arrest, but this is not a reflection of the play of Trevone Boykin. The freshman has filled in admirably at the position, throwing for 1,540 yards and 14 touchdowns against eight interceptions. Boykin has been a threat on the ground as well, rushing for 267 yards and two scores on 93 attempts. Texas has also been the beneficiary of strong quarterback play for much of the season, and David Ash has responded from a mid-season slump with back-to-back impressive performances. Overall, the sophomore has completed 69.3 percent of his passes for 2,354 yards and 17 touchdowns while throwing just five interceptions. Ash’s efficiency rating of 161.7 leads the Big 12 and he is the leader of a Texas offense that has averaged nearly 40 points per game.
The Longhorns have been one of the better running teams in the Big 12 this season, and Johnathan Gray has played a big role in his freshman campaign. Gray leads the team with 607 yards on the ground and is coming off of his first career multi-touchdown game. Joe Bergeron has become one of the nation’s top short-yardage backs, as he leads the team with 16 rushing touchdowns, and the return of Malcolm Brown solidifies the unit even further. TCU has been unspectacular on the ground, as its leading rusher has earned just 445 yards. As a team, the Horned Frogs average 3.9 yards per rush and have run for just nine touchdowns in ten games.
Texas receivers Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley are both coming off of strong performances against Iowa State, as the pair combined for 15 receptions for 250 yards and a score against the Cyclones. Both Davis and Shipley have had nice seasons, as they have each caught at least 40 passes for 500 yards and have hauled in a total of 15 touchdowns. TCU has a balanced receiver unit as well, with at least four wideouts catching 21 or more passes for at least 300 yards. Josh Boyce has been the most productive Horned Frog, catching 56 passes for 756 yards and seven scores, and Brandon Carter has become a deadly big-play threat. Neither team is struggling at the position, but the Horned Frogs have benefitted from more depth at wide receiver in 2012.
The offensive line has been perhaps the most impressive unit on this Longhorns’ team, as it allowed just seven sacks for 56 yards. Ash has consistently had time to complete passes downfield, as his receivers are averaging over 13 yards per catch. The run blocking has been strong as well, as the line has opened up running lanes all season for the Texas backs and allowed them to earn 4.8 yards per carry. TCU has not been nearly as efficient of offense this year, averaging under four yards per carry and 12.8 yards per catch. In addition, the TCU offensive line has surrendered 22 sacks for 166 yards. This has hindered the Horned Frogs on drives throughout the season.
The Texas defensive line is playing as well as it has all season and is coming off of an especially strong performance against Iowa State. Alex Okafor is enjoying a fine senior season, leading the team with eight sacks and 12 tackles for a loss. Cedric Reed has done a nice job filling in for an injured Jackson Jeffcoat at the opposite end, and defensive tackles Desmond Jackson and Brandon Moore have been solid up the middle in the past couple of games. As a whole, the Longhorns have recorded 23 sacks on the season. The Horned Frogs, too, boast a strong defensive line, as they too have brought the opposing quarterback down 23 times. That said, the Texas offensive line has been much tougher than that of TCU, and it will be much tougher for the Horned Frogs to generate pressure because of this.
The play of the Texas linebackers has improved greatly in the past two weeks after struggling for much of the season. Steve Edmond has grown since the start of the season and he now leads the team with 43 unassisted tackles. Texas is still allowing five yards per rush and has surrendered and average of 200 yards per game on the ground. The Longhorns’ unit has made strides in limiting big plays, but will have to continue to improve its tackling. TCU has been one of the most stout run defenses in the Big 12, as it allows just 3.1 yards per carry and 98.4 rushing yards per game. The Horned Frog linebackers have been solid in bringing down opposing backs all season long.
The Horned Frogs have been tough to beat through the air, as they have held opponents to just 6.6 yards per pass attempt. Teams have averaged 227.9 yards through the air per game against TCU, but the Horned Frogs have also intercepted 17 passes. Texas has been solid in the secondary as well, but opponents have been able to earn 7.7 yards per pass and have averaged 229.6 passing yards per game. The Longhorns have allowed four fewer scores through the air than have the Horned Frogs, but they have also recorded six fewer interceptions.
Both teams have been strong returning kicks this season, with Texas earning 24.3 yards per return and TCU averaging 22.3 yards on kickoffs. The Horned Frogs have had the edge on punts, as they have gained an average of 15.4 yards on returns while Texas has earned 9.9 yards. The Horned Frogs have also been the more consistent team on field goals tries, as kicker Jaden Oberkrom has nailed 16 of his 22 attempts and is perfect on 37 extra point tries. The Longhorns have struggled at kicking field goals, going 7-for-13 attempts as a team. Three extra-point attempts have also been missed.