Preview: BYU at TCU
by CFP Staff with contributions courtesy of the MWC
TCU (2005, 2009) and BYU (2006, 2007) have combined to win four of the last five MWC titles, but Brigham Young has lost the last two games in this series by embarrassing scores of 38-7 in 2009 and 32-7 in 2008. Embarrassing, because the Cougars had won five of the previous six games played by an average of 15.4 points per game.
The main reason for the turnaround is TCU quarterback Andy Dalton. Last week, he became only the third player in MWC history to top the 10,000-yard mark for total offense in a career with 10,075 yards. He joins former BYU signal-callers Max Hall and John Beck, who finished their careers with 11,569 and 11,060 yards of total offense, respectively.
With Dalton behind center, TCU (29-3) is one of six teams (Alabama 31-3, Florida 30-4, Boise State 31-1, Texas 28-4, Utah 28-3) to win 28 or more games since the beginning of the 2008 season. The Mountain West is one of two conferences (SEC) to have two teams with 28-plus wins during that span.
TCU has led the nation in total defense each of the last two years and is currently ranked No. 1. The Horned Frogs are limiting opponents to 230.17 yards per game and have allowed just eight touchdowns through six games. Only Iowa (6), Missouri (6) and Nebraska (7) have allowed fewer touchdowns, but each have only played five games to TCU’s six. For the second straight week and third game this season, TCU held an opponent under 200 yards of total offense (Colorado State, 161; Wyoming, 191). In the 2010 home opener, the Horned Frogs limited Tennessee Tech to a season-low 150 total offensive yards.
Jake Heaps is the first true freshman right out of high school to start at quarterback for BYU since Drew Miller in 1997. He ranks 6th among Mountain West QB's for passing yards per game and has just 1 TD pass to 4 INT's. But he had the best game of his short career in last week's 24-21 win over San Diego State in which he completed 16-of-22 passes for 126 yards. Still, Heaps has thrown for only 885 yards through 6 games while 2009 QB Max Hall (now with the Arizona Cardinals), threw for 1,723 yards in the first half of the 2009 season.
BYU's J.J. Di Luigi rushed for a career-high 134 yards (6.1 avg.) on 22 carries to help the Cougars to the win over Aztecs. Di Luigi currently leads the MWC in rushing in Conference games with a 118.5 average in two contests.
BYU held SDSU to minus-2 yards rushing in the first half. The Cougars went 12-of-19 (.632) on third-down conversions, the team’s best percentage and most third-down conversions of the season.
TCU owns a 19-game regular-season win streak following last Saturday’s 45-0 blanking of Wyoming for its second consecutive shutout. The Horned Frogs held Colorado State scoreless, 27-0, on Oct. 2.
It's the first time since 1955, when TCU recorded 3 straight shutouts, that the Horned Frogs have recorded that feat. That year, TCU scored successive victories over Texas Tech 32-0, Arkansas 26-0, and Alabama 21-0.
TCU is one of two teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision that has recorded two shutouts this season (Oregon), and the only team to record back-to-back shutouts.
BYU hasn't been the victim of a shutout since November 22, 2003 - a span of 79 games.
TCU has held opponents scoreless for eight straight quarters.
Kick-off is at 4:00 eastern and will be broadcast nationally on Versus.