Earlier, Brett told us why he thinks Utah will win this Saturday. Now, it's Zach's turn to explain why TCU is going to have a happy flight home to Fort Worth.
The TCU Horned Frogs are coming back to Salt Lake City. Last time Gary Patterson's crew played at Utah's Rice-Eccles Stadium, they suffered what many considered to be the most disheartening loss in the past three decades of TCU football. That 2008 TCU ballclub rolled into town ranked eleventh in the nation, looking end Utah's undefeated run, and move one game closer to assuring itself its first BCS bowl appearance.
TCU rolled up 202 yards of total offense in the first quarter, put 10 points on the stadium scoreboard, and dominated the Utes in all three aspects. Things looked to be rosy for the men in white. Then, TCU kicker Ross Evans missed two second half field goals, the Utes marched 80 yards on the final drive of the ball game (nearly 30% of their ENTIRE Offensive output), and the Horned Frogs watched the Utes celebrate a come-from-behind victory.
Gary Patterson hasn't forgotten that feeling. Fifth-year senior Andy Dalton hasn't forgotten either.
Last year in Ft. Worth, the Horned Frogs enacted sweeping revenge, dispatching the Utes 55-28 in what was one of the most complete performances I have ever seen.
Now, with TCU having cleared all of the major hurdles in front of them this year, including a leap frog of Boise State in the BCS Standings this week, the Frogs are a victory in Salt Lake away from completely atoning itself of that 2008 meltdown.
The 2010 Frogs have been extremely impressive. Although Dalton has struggled in some aspects, the TCU offense has been balanced and potent. The Frogs are 5th nationally in total offense averaging nearly 500 yards per game. The TCU offense has weapons all over the field. In the backfield, Ed Wesley and Matthew Tucker are solid. On the outside, Jeremy Kerley, Jimmy Young, Bart Johnson, and Josh Boyce are the best playmakers the Utes have seen all year long.
|TCU's defense will be stout as usual|
In this matchup with Utah, look for TCU to run the football effectively. Tucker and Wesley can carry a large load, both in quality and quantity. Air Force ran the ball well against the Utes last weekend. Look for the Frogs to devote a larger portion of their game-plan to option football, with which Andy Dalton is very familiar. This rushing game, along with the always stellar TCU rush D, will allow the Frogs to control time of possession.
The Utes will certainly be aided by a raucous home crowd. Both squads share one another's strengths. Offensively, the Utes counter the TCU backfield with a great duo of their own: Matt Asiata and Eddie Wide have been solid this season. Utah receivers Jeremy Brooks and DeVonte Christopher can stretch the field as well as anyone in the country. Shaky Smithson is a Special Teams guru.
Suffice it to say, this one is going to be close. The difference between 2010 and 2008 is it is TCU who starts a senior QB. Back in 2008, it was Utah senior QB Brian Johnson who led the Utes on the game-winning drive. On Saturday, look for Dalton to break free of his "big-game-itis" and shine on the big stage. With only sludge opponents remaining on the docket, this is TCU's last test. The Texas Christian Horned Frogs are ready to complete the atoning process.
Just don't let it come down to Ross Evans.