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TCU at Baylor Preview, Week 11

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Baylor vs TCU | Image by Baylor University

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Texas Christian University will continue to seek perfection this week when the Frogs travel to Waco to face the Baylor Bears. TCU comes into the game ranked No. 4 in the nation and is one of four teams with a 10-0 record.  The Horned Frogs will play in the Big 12 Championship game, but the College Playoffs are still undecided. TCU will likely need to run the table in order to remain in contention for post-season opportunities.

The Bears were expected to be the top team in the Big 12 this season but have fizzled against expectations. At 6-4 and sitting in third place in the Big 12, Baylor is likely looking to play the role of spoiler at this point in the season. The role is fitting, as the Bears were in the fight last year when the team visited Fort Worth. The loss to the Horned Frogs derailed Baylor’s chances at a College Football Playoffs appearance, and the Bears are likely looking to return the favor this week.

TCU and Baylor both boast similar numbers on paper on both offense and defense. TCU averages 40 points per game and allows 25.2 -the same points Baylor allows, but the Bears average just under 35 points a game. The defenses have similar numbers, with TCU allowing an average of 377 yards against 360 yards allowed by Baylor. TCU averages 40 more yards receiving and 14 more yards rushing than Baylor.

Head coach Sonny Dykes brought a culture of winning and adaptability with him from SMU in the offseason and has turned up the dial on the TCU offense. Quarterback Max Duggan is doing all the right things with the football and avoiding mistakes that cost his team opportunities. Duggan has thrown for 2,531 yards this season, nearly 500 yards over any of his previous three seasons in Fort Worth. He has a 25-2 TD-to-interception ratio entering the game.

Baylor quarterback Blake Shapen had a rough week last week against Kansas State as the offense failed to find the endzone. Shapen was intercepted twice and passed for just 203 yards in the 31-3 loss to the Cougars. It was the second consecutive week that Shapen went without a passing touchdown and was the lowest passer rating of the year for the sophomore QB.

The Bears use a clock-control game style that has three running backs averaging more than five yards per carry. The team is led by Richard Reese, who has 13 touchdowns and over 850 yards on the ground. Craig Williams and Qualan Jones have also seen extensive on-field action this year.

The Baylor defense is considered the second-best in the conference behind Iowa State and presents one of the most difficult challenges for the Horned Frogs to remain unbeaten. The Bears have 19 sacks, 12 interceptions, and nine forced fumbles in 2022 and will be looking to add to those numbers on Saturday.

TCU holds a slim advantage heading into the game after being seven-point underdogs on the road last week against Texas. Oddsmakers give TCU a 3-point advantage, and ESPN Analytics indicates the Horned Frogs have just a 51.3 percent chance at victory on the road against the Bears. The game will mark the 118th time these two colleges have faced off in a Texas rivalry that dates back to 1899.

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