College Confidential

Inside the TCU-Minnesota matchup

TCU-Minnesota game preview

Carlos Mendez and Travis L. Brown of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram break down the Horned Frogs game at Minnesota. (Video by Travis L. Brown.)
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Carlos Mendez and Travis L. Brown of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram break down the Horned Frogs game at Minnesota. (Video by Travis L. Brown.)

TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin vs. the Minnesota secondary

boykin passing
TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin passed for 300 yards a game last season. Khampha Bouaphanh Star-Telegram

Boykin passed for 300.1 yards per game last season, and 258 yards and two touchdowns against the Gophers. Minnesota returns a veteran secondary led by Briean Boddy-Calhoun and Eric Murray. Boddy-Calhoun had five interceptions as an all-Big 10 first-team pick. Murray was a second-team all-conference pick. Minnesota held opponents to 193.5 yards passing a game last season.

75Tackles made by Minnesota linebacker De’Vondre Campbell, who is on the Butkus Award Watch list.

Minnesota running game vs. the TCU linebackers

Sammy Douglas
TCU Horned Frogs defensive tackle Terrell Lathan, left, and linebacker Sammy Douglas sack Southeastern Louisiana Lions quarterback Bryan Bennett during last season’s game. Paul Moseley Star-Telegram

The Frogs must replace the top two tacklers in their 4-2-5 defense, Paul Dawson and Marcus Mallet. True freshmen Mike Freeze and Alec Dunham could fill those roles along with junior Sammy Douglas. While the Frogs are green, so is Minnesota in the backfield. Texas native Rodney Williams is a senior, but he has just 707 yards in his career. Redshirt freshman Rodney Smith could be the workhorse.

0 Starts by the TCU linebackers. The Frogs are the only team in the country whose linebackers have never started a college game.

TCU vs. expectations

TCU expectations
TCU enters the seasons as favorites for a spot in the College Football Playoff after closing 2014 with a 42-3 victory over Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl. David Goldman AP

TCU came out of nowhere with a record-setting quarterback and a new offense in 2014 but won’t have that luxury this season. The Frogs are the Big 12 favorites and, to many fans, it’s going to be a down season they don’t reach the playoffs. The Gophers would like to end that hype machine as quickly as possible. The Gophers went 8-5 last season, with three of those losses against teams that were ranked in the top 16 at the time of the game.

58 Field goals for TCU senior kicker Jaden Oberkrom. The Arlington Martin graduate is the nation’s active leader in field goals.

Did you know?

TCUcoach Gary Patterson and Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill are close. Kill was in the wedding party when Patterson married his wife Kelsey.

TCU co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie called the plays for a Texas Tech team that beat Minnesota 34-31 in the 2012 Meineke Car Care Bowl. The Red Raiders rolled up 429 yards in that game.

Minnesota coach Jerry Kill received a contract extension earlier this month and is now signed through the 2019 season.

TCU is 10-4 in season openers under Gary Patterson.

Streaking

TCU has scored at least 30 points in 15 consecutive games.

The Frogs will be hard-pressed to top last season, as they opened the first five games with touchdown drives on their first possession.

TCU has had at least one interception and one sack for 15 consecutive games, the longest streak in the nation.

Texas ties

The Gophers have 10 Texans on their roster, including sophomore linebacker Everett Williams from Mansfield Legacy. He played in eight games, starting one, as a freshman.

TCU senior quarterback Trevone Boykin discussed the joy and hand cramps associated with being the highlight of the 2015 edition of Meet the Frogs. (Video: Travis L. Brown - special to Star-Telegram.com)

The basics

When: 8 p.m. Thursday

Where: TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis (50,805)

Records: TCU (0-0); Minnesota (0-0)

Rankings: TCU, No. 2 AP; Minnesota NR

Series record: 1-1

Last meeting: TCU won 30-7 in Fort Worth in 2014

TV: ESPN

Radio: WBAP 820 AM and KTCU 88.7 FM

Expected forecast: 71 with a 20 percent chance of rain

Point spread: TCU -14 ½ according to vegasinsider.com

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