October, autumn. In other sports this is the month in which teams collect all the fruits of their work, while in others, like college football, this is the time to plant seeds, hoping they will bloom in late December, and January.
In this bucolic allegory, Texas Tech travels to Fort Worth to face the Horned Frogs in its sixth game of the season, the third of the Big 12 schedule. Both teams hold a 1-1 record in the conference and a 3-2 overall record.
This will be 61st game between these schools and the Red Raiders hold a tight lead in this rivalry, with 31 wins, 26 losses, and three ties. Texas Tech had its biggest victory in 1985 (65-7), while TCU vibrantly responded in 2014, scoring 82 points.
This game comes after the team led by Kliff Kingsbury had its bye week. Under the tenure 39-year-old coach from San Antonio, the Red Raiders always performed well coming from the break, as they won four times, and lost only once.
In addition, the winner of this game lands the Saddle Trophy, that was awarded in the period 1961-1970 (both schools won five games in this period), then got lost. The trophy was put on the line again in 2017.
In 2018, TCU leads the Big 12 in yards allowed per game, and it ranks 12th in the league for the same stat. This is a remarkable achievement, considering that the Horned Frogs lie at the very bottom of the FCS in many stats, like interceptions (0.4/game, 107th), forced fumbles (0.4/game, 107th), and turnover margin (-1.40/game, 125th).
The most dangerous player in this unit is senior defensive end Ben Banogu, who originally signed for Louisiana-Monroe, transferred after his freshman season in 2015, sat out in 2016, and made a huge impact in his first Big 12 season, recording 16.5 tackles for loss, and 8.5 sacks.
Talking about offense, TCU is having its worst season since 2013 in terms of points scored, with 31.6 per game. Their starting quarterback sophomore Shawn Robinson is a dual-threat player who follows in the footsteps of his famous predecessors, like Trevone Boykin. Robinson suffered a shoulder injury against Iowa State and maybe won’t start against Tech, but coach Patterson said he will play.
He’s a mobile and elusive quarterback (only four sacks) who already scored three rushing TDs, but is not particularly consistent in the passing game, as he has seven touchdowns and six interceptions.
Like in recent years, the TCU game will be a hard battle, as the Horned Frogs have a very good coach and a talented team. The Red Raiders have the weapons to challenge their defense, whoever the quarterback will be, but if Texas Tech allows TCU to find its rhythm, things won’t be easy at all.