We've been down this road before.
Just last season, BYU and TCU faced off with a trip to a big-money bowl on the line.
This time, the roles are reversed.
Something else has changed, too. This time, Mendenhall's not worried about BYU wilting under the spotlight. "[They] handled whatever attention that was surrounding that game much better [than we did]," Mendenhall said. "But we've had a big game like this already this year in Oklahoma, and I think our team has matured and handled that well."
"Our conference is stronger than the WAC," Mendenhall said. "I don't think there's any argument about that."
While the Frogs face two ranked teams in remaining conference play (BYU and No. 19 Utah), the Broncos only play one more team with a winning record. If the Frogs win out, that strength of schedule should jump them ahead of Boise in the standings. But as Patterson noted, that talk remains premature. "We're playing BYU," he said. "If we don't win this ballgame, [the schedule] doesn't make any difference anyway."
Patterson has never shied away from motivational techniques. He takes special steps to prepare for BYU in particular, putting Cougars helmets on the tackling dummies at practice.
"You know, we do that for about every opponent," he said. "But last year was BYU. And to be honest with you, this year was, too."
Last year, TCU sacked Hall six times and picked him off twice. In order to keep him on his feet, BYU needs tailbacks
Unga, the MWC's leading rusher with 95.8 yards per game, has scored at least a touchdown in each of the past five games. That kind of yardage will be hard to come by against TCU's fourth-ranked defense, which has given up just 81 yards per game and three scores on the ground and which held BYU to 23 rushing yards last year.
Unga's yardage will open up the passing game and enable Hall to find dangerous tight end
But despite limited opportunities, Dalton is having a career year throwing the ball. The junior is completing 65 percent of his passes and despite just 142 attempts is on pace to finish with career highs in touchdown passes and passer rating.
The Cougars have struggled mightily with pass defense, giving up 238.5 yards per game (89th nationally). Against San Diego State last week, they allowed a 30-plus-yard pass for the third week in a row. Considering the amount of man-power BYU will devote to stopping the Frogs' 11th-ranked running game, Dalton could continue to cause problems for a lackluster secondary.
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