West Virginia RB Wendell Smallwood vs. the TCU defense: The Frogs rank sixth in the Big 12 in rushing defense, allowing more than 150 yards per game on the ground. That could be good news for Smallwood, who ranks third in the conference, averaging 113 yards per game and 6.7 yards per rush.
All three Big 12 meetings between TCU and West Virginia have been decided on the final play, with two of the contests ending in overtime. Last year TCU kicker Jaden Oberkrom hit a 37-yard field goal to win the game.
TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin vs. West Virginia secondary: It’s no secret that the only way to beat the Frogs is to slow down the Heisman hopeful. West Virginia did that last year in nearly pulling off the upset. No one’s been able to do it this year though, as Boykin has 30 touchdowns and has accounted for more than 500 yards three times. The Mountaineers are fifth in the conference in passing defense, surrendering 233 yards a game. But they’ve struggled in their 0-3 conference start, giving up 139 points.
I thought he was the best player in college football last year and this year he’s not doing a whole lot different.
West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen on TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin
TCU vs. perception: The good thing for TCU is that Gary Patterson has his team focused on controlling what it can control, which is playing against its opponent. But the reality is that despite a 7-0 start the Frogs have dropped to No. 5 in the Associated Press rankings, which is their lowest spot of the season. Too many close games. Too many injuries. Whatever the reason, TCU hasn’t gotten much love nationally since the season started. The Frogs will have plenty of eyes on them Thursday night and can change that perception some with a strong showing against the Mountaineers.
4 Players who have started all seven games for TCU on defense: Lineman Josh Carraway and defensive backs Nick Orr, Derrick Kindred and Denzel Johnson.
▪ TCU, which is ranked fifth by the Associated Press, has a 21-game winning streak as a top-five team.
▪ The Horned Frogs have scored a first-quarter touchdown in 20 straight games, the longest streak in the nation and a Big 12 record.
▪ West Virginia’s rolled up at least 350 yards a game in 27 consecutive games, the longest streak in the country. TCU is fourth at 21.
Senior wide receiver Josh Doctson, the active leader in touchdown receptions with 32, is tied for 43rd all-time with 14 other players, including Desmond Howard and Steve Largent. His next TD catch will move him into a tie for 38th. That spot includes former Texas standout Jordan Shipley.
West Virginia starting quarterback Skyler Howard played at White Settlement Brewer for three seasons before beginning his collegiate career. The junior has thrown for more than 1,500 yards and 15 touchdown passes. He is averaging 261 passing yards a game, which ranks him sixth in the Big 12. The 15 touchdown passes is fifth-best in the conference.
When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday
Where: Amon G. Carter Stadium
Records: TCU (7-0, 4-0 in Big 12); West Virginia (3-3, 0-3 in Big 12)
Rankings: TCU No. 5 in AP poll; West Virginia not ranked
Series record: The series is tied 2-2
Last meeting: TCU won 31-30 in Morgantown
Radio: WBAP 820 AM, KTCU 88.7 FM
Forecast: Clear and 70
Point spread: TCU by 14