TCU coach Gary Patterson called New Mexico "a dangerous team" during last week's Mountain West media teleconference, which may have been a surprise to the Lobos (0-6, 0-1 in MWC), who fired head coach Mike Locksley three weeks ago and replaced him with defensive coordinator George Barlow.
The Horned Frogs (4-2, 2-0) follow their bye week with a 1 p.m. game Saturday against New Mexico at Amon G. Carter Stadium.
But Patterson was not offering coach-speak and insisted after TCU's practice Sunday that New Mexico, which has been outscored by an average of 44-18 this season, has dangerous receivers.
"Their wide receivers are really good," Patterson said. "They're the No. 2 throwing team in the league."
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Tarean Austin and B.R. Holbrook have each shared playing time at quarterback with near identical stats, and have combined to help the Lobos average 232.8 yards passing per game, a yard better than TCU.
Austin has completed 58 of 112 attempts with an interception and three touchdowns. Holbrook, who has started the past two games, has completed 59 of 103 passes with two interceptions and three touchdowns.
Their main targets have been Ty Kirk (41 receptions for 353 yards) and Deon Long, who leads the league with 113.6 receiving yards a game (580 total yards on 31 catches, with three touchdowns). Long transferred from West Virginia and missed the 2010 season. Lamaar Thomas, a junior transfer from Ohio State, has nine receptions for 156 yards and two scores.
"They're freakin' good," Patterson said. "They're a lot better football team than they were their first six games."
Patterson said the coaching change is no doubt hard for the Lobos, but "sometimes it's better because you're playing and you don't have any worries. It makes them more dangerous."
Linebacker Kenny Cain, who did not make the trip to San Diego State last week, has practiced this week and will play Saturday, Patterson said.
"We're trying to win a conference title," he said. "New Mexico is just the next team. We're trying to get to 3-0 in conference."
Times have changed
TCU is 6-0 against New Mexico since joining the Mountain West in 2005. The last time the Horned Frogs lost to the Lobos was 1997, when Gary Patterson was New Mexico's defensive coordinator. The Lobos beat the Frogs in 1996 and 1997 by a combined score of 67-17 in Western Athletic Conference games.
256-79The combined score in TCU's six consecutive wins against New Mexico dating to 2005. Of the 79 points the Lobos have scored, 38 of them came in the second half when the outcome was not in doubt.
For TCU news and updates follow Stefan Stevenson on Twitter @FollowtheFrogs