The West Virginia Mountaineers (2-4, 0-3) are looking to end a three-game skid as they travel on the road to take on the TCU Horned Frogs (3-3, 1-2) Saturday at 7:30 pm EST and broadcasting on ESPNU.3
TCU head coach Gary Patterson is in his 23rd year at the helm and holds a 181-77 overall record.
"I have a lot of respect for him. I have a lot of respect for the program he's established. To do it for an extended period of time, especially in this day and age, is special," said West Virginia head coach Neal Brown.
The TCU offense is eighth in the country in pass efficiency (171.11) due mainly to a successful rushing attack in the top three in the Big 12 Conference at 227.2 yards per game.
"They've done a great job of mixing it up," said Brown. You can tell they've made it a point to improve running the football, and they have. They've ran it extremely well versus everybody they've played this year."
The running game's success is behind a big offensive line that averages 323.2 pounds per lineman, paving the way for Zach Evans' 117.0 rushing yards per game and five touchdowns along with Kendre Millers team-leading six touchdowns.
"The most improved aspect of their team is the offensive line. They're playing seven guys up there. They've had a couple of injuries, but they haven't fallen off. I think they've done a nice job of their development there."
Max Duggan is second in the Big 12 in total yards per game, averaging 263.3 yards, with 224.8 yards per game coming through the air. Duggan has a big target in 6'4" 201-lbs wide receiver Quintin Johnston along with speedsters Taye Barber and Derius Davis. Johnston is coming off career-highs seven receptions for 185 yards and three touchdowns in the 52-31 loss last week against Oklahoma.
"I think for them, it starts with [Max] Duggan the quarterback. The kid's a winner. He competes. I heard on the game the other night he's playing with a broken bone in his foot – you wouldn't know it. He's throwing the ball, I think, better than he has in his career."
Defensively, the TCU Horned Frogs are in unfamiliar territory, ranking in the bottom half of the conference in nearly every defensive category except passing yards, allowing 235.2 yards per game. However, according to Brown, Gary Patterson and his defense make it tough on offenses year in and year out, despite the unit dealing with multiple injuries this season.
"They take away what you do best," said Brown. "I think for them, it starts with their D-ends. That's where, if you look at it, compare it to the rest of the league - I think that's where they have a real advantage."
Preseason All-Big 12 selection defensive end Ochaun Mathis tallied a team-leading three sacks while counterparts Dylan Horton and Khari Coleman have combined for three sacks.
"They're really good. They're a tough match for you one on one in pass protection," added Brown before noting 2020 All-Big 12 first-team selection corner Hodges Tomlinson, who is tied for second in the league with two interceptions.
TCU is first in the Big 12 in average yards per punt return at 12.6 and third in kick returns at 29.2 yards per game.
West Virginia is 6-4 all-time versus TCU, including winning the last three meetings and the Mountaineers are 2-2 as the visiting team.
You can follow us for future coverage by following us on Facebook & Twitter:
Facebook - @WVUonSI