TCU is preparing for a game against an Arkansas team that wants to “break your will,” coach Gary Patterson said Monday during the Big 12 coaches conference call.
It will be the kind of game in which the Horned Frogs can prove their toughness and case for a place in the national conversation, he said.
“We understand that if you want to be a Top 25, Top 10 team, you’ve got to win big games in non-conference, and we consider Arkansas a big game,” Patterson said.
Arkansas averaged 4.2 yards on 43 attempts last year against the Horned Frogs in a 41-38 double-overtime victory last year. Quarterback Austin Allen scored the winning touchdown on a 5-yard run.
Last season, TCU finished fourth in the Big 12 in rushing defense, giving up 185.8 yards per game on the ground.
“You’ve got to be able to play people, like Arkansas, that can come right at you,” Patterson said. “They want to break your will.”
Arkansas was 11th in the SEC in rushing last year at 164.4 yards per game. Eight of the top 40 rushing teams in the country were in the SEC.
“They play in a conference where that’s the way people like to play,” Patterson said. “For us, that’s a great challenge to be able to show, because if you can do that, on a national landscape, you’re trying to gain some confidence.
“For us to get to where we want to get to, then you have to have an opportunity to beat a team like Arkansas.”
Asked if TCU should be considered one of the teams carrying the banner for the Big 12 after Texas, Baylor and West Virginia lost, Patterson said, “I’ve never been like that. I’ve never been somebody that’s felt like that. You’ve got to just go win ballgames. You don’t need to add any extra pressure or even talk about those kind of things. All of our conversation now is just playing Arkansas.”
Also in the conference call, Patterson said few of his starters played more than 20 snaps against Jackson State, favorable for the Horned Frogs against an Arkansas team that will have had two extra days’ rest.
TCU is coming off a 63-0 victory against Jackson State on Saturday. Arkansas defeated Florida A&M 49-7 on Thursday.