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TCU at Purdue: Preview, Odds, & More

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The Horned Frogs come to West Lafayette for the first time in 49 years.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 17 TCU at Baylor Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

This is going to be interesting. For most of the Nevada game Purdue played more than well enough to win. Unfortunately, some rather large mistakes ended up being costly in the end. Against a better opponent (at least on paper) Purdue cleaned things up a bit and ended up beating Vanderbilt by three scores. So, through two games, we know a little more about what we have with Purdue. We have a team with a great passing game and a terrible running game. We have a defense that can create quarterback pressure more easily, but can wear down. We have special teams that can give in the form of a big play if Rondale Moore gets loose, or it can take away with a costly turnover.

Now we get a final non-conference test against a good TCU team that can put a lot of stress on Purdue that Nevada and Vanderbilt couldn’t. The Horned Frogs are probably the best of the three non-conference teams we face this year. Since many Purdue fans would have been satisfied with a 2-1 start before the season started a win over TCU would go a long way toward erasing the Nevada loss.

2018 Record: 7-6, 4-5 Big 12

Bowl Result: Beat California 10-7 (OT) in Cheez-It Bowl

Blog Representation: Frogs O’ War

Series with Purdue: Purdue leads 2-0

Last Purdue win: 15-0 at Purdue on 9/19/1970

Last TCU win: None

Head Coach: Gary Patterson, 20th season at TCU, 168-63 record

2019 so far for TCU

The Horned Frogs will come in rested for this one. They had last week off, and before that they opened the season with a very easy 39-7 win over Arkansas Pine Bluff. They led that game 22-0 before Pine Bluff even scored, and they gave up only 225 yards of total offense. Perhaps the biggest concern was TCUs inability to finish drives. The Horned Frogs had to settle for six field goals in the game and they fumbled seven times, losing just two of them. The result was never in doubt, but TCU was hardly spotless in this one.

TCU is known mostly for having a pretty solid defense and a mercurial offense. The bad of the offense was on display in their bowl game last season when they had multiple injuries at the quarterback position. The defense had its moments throughout. Ultimately, this game will probably go as the TCU offense goes.

Who to Watch on Offense

Jalen Reagor – WR – Many TCU fans this week believe that Reagor is as good, if not better, than our own Rondale Moore. The junior receiver caught 72 passes for 1,061 yards and 9 TDs a year ago and in the opener had a 5-71-1 line. Like Moore against TCU, Reagor had a tough opener. He fumbled three time against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, but returned 6 punts for 62 yards. Like Moore, they are going to try and get him the ball in a variety of ways. In last year’s 31-24 season opening win over Oklahoma State Reagor caught 8 passes for 91 yards and a score and added another 121 yards and a TD on five rushes. Moore may have bigger offensive numbers, but Reagor is a big play waiting to happen.

TreVontae Hights – WR – The senior receiver had a big game against Arkansas Pine Bluff. He finished with 8 receptions for 108 yards, but had only 7 career receptions before that game. He is a big, lanky target that TCU can use on the outside.

Alex Delton – QB – The Horned Frogs played two quarterbacks in the opener and they both had relatively similar passing numbers. Delton threw for 119 yards and was more of a threat on the ground with 67 yards. Max Duggan added 165 yards through the air and had a touchdown. It was Delton who drew the start in the opener, but we will probably see both.

Sewo Olonilua – RB – Olonilua was the leading rusher a season ago with 635 yards and he had 7 touchdowns the season before that. Purdue did a good job on Ke’Shawn Vaughn last week, but slowing down opposing running games will always be a concern.

Who to Watch on Defense

Garret Wallow – LB – Wallow had a big day in the opener. He was all over the field with 13 tackles, 3.5 for loss, and a sack. He has also played some strong safety in the past and had 72 tackles with three sacks a year ago. That was third on the team.

Ochaun Mathis – DE – Mathis had an excellent debut as a freshman defensive end. He notched no sacks, but finished with seven tackles on the night. He saw limited action last season and was able to keep his redshirt. He also had 2.5 tackles for loss.

La’Kendrick Van Zandt – S – The sophomore safety broke up two passes and had a good game with four tackles in his debut as the starter. Overall the defensive backfield held Arkansas-Pine Bluff to 114 yards through the air and had two interceptions, one each from Trevon Moehrig and Ar’Darius Washington.

Who to Watch on Special Teams

Jonathan Song – K – While TCU had to settle for a lot of field goals, Song was a perfect 5 for 5 on attempts with a long of 38 yards. Griffin Kell kicked the final field goal of the game in the fourth quarter.

Jalen Reagor – PR – Like Moore, Reagor fields punts and had six returns for 62 yards. Last season he had 97 return yards on 8 returns.

Game Outlook

TCU does not look to be overwhelming, but they are still a talented team with some exceptional playmakers like Reagor. This was still an offense that struggled to score at times last season, managing just under 24 points per game. I think it is also telling that against an FCS team they had to settle for six field goals. Even the TCU fans over at Frogs O’ War are not quite sure what they have offensively:

The big storyline coming into the night was whether or not a quarterback would separate himself with on-field play. After game 1, it seems like we’re inching toward an answer.

Alex Delton started the game as planned, but his timing looked off most of the night. He missed a touchdown pass to Tre’vontae Hights throwing behind him, and he underthrew most of his passes downfield.

Overall Delton struggled on the night. He missed on a few big throws, took two sacks, and never looked completely comfortable. He did impress with his legs, though, rushing for 67 yards including a 54-yard designed run to open the second half, putting TCU in the red zone.

Like Purdue after facing Nevada, TCU is going to have to improve things against Purdue. Unlike Purdue, they have had a week off to get better. This should be a pretty even matchup. I like Purdue’s chances if it gets ahead early because I don’t know if TCU has the offense to keep up. Of course, we collapsed against Nevada, so anything can happen. This is also the best defense we have played. To this point Elijah Sindelar has been kept clean and has picked teams apart. What happens if he is pressured a few times and there is no running game to relieve pressure (because there is not any running game). Also, what happens if Sindelar can’t go and Jack Plummer has to play?

It makes for an interesting game to be sure.