TCU returns Saturday as a conference rival for the first time since 1997, the year when the Southwest Conference fell apart, and Baylor, Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech began play in the Big 12.
The Trust Fund Tussle is an alternative to the soon-to-come name developed by the student governments of Baylor and TCU for the rivalry between the two schools.
It was created by the Lariat sports desk in recognition of the fact that we are the only two private schools in the Big 12.
The rivalry between Baylor and TCU began as a result of both schools being in Waco. TCU later moved to Fort Worth in 1910. The first football game between the schools was played in 1899 that ended in a scoreless tie.
This year, the Horned Frogs make the 87-mile bus ride down I-35 to take on the Baylor Bears.
“With TCU coming in the conference, we want to show them what the Big 12 plays like. We’re going to be prepared,” junior safety Sam Holl said.
Last season featured the beginning of Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III’s stellar season with a 50-48 victory over TCU that was sealed after a 37-yard field goal by junior Aaron Jones with 1:04 to play.
After the game, TCU head coach Gary Patterson was not pleased with his team’s defensive performance.
“We played so badly on defense, especially at the corner position, that we just couldn’t overcome it,” Patterson said.
Both cornerbacks, junior Jason Verrett and sophomore Kevin White, played in that game and combined for 11 tackles.
This season, each of them has 13.
True freshman defensive end Devonte Fields is tied for the Big 12 lead with 9.5 tackles for loss, while his 5.5 sacks are second. He tops all freshmen nationally in both categories.
As far as the defense is concerned, in TCU’s loss to Iowa State last week, the Horned Frogs gave up scoring passes of 51 and 74 yards in the first quarter and let the Cyclones run all over them in the third quarter.
“TCU is a very good football team,” Baylor senior wide receiver Lanear Sampson said. “They have a few people that came back from last year’s team, and they are still a pretty good defensive team. Nothing’s changed with their defense.”
Offensively, the Horned Frogs are trying to compensate for the loss of junior quarterback Casey Pachall, who withdrew from the university on Tuesday and entered an inpatient facility as a result of his arrest on suspicion of drunken driving, his second recent brush with the law.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Trevone Boykin will be in the pocket for TCU for the second straight game.
Last weekend he was 23-of-40 for 270 yards with three interceptions and a touchdown and also ran for 39 yards.
“I think he’s a good player,” Baylor head coach Art Briles said. “He was a good player coming out of high school. He’s a great leader who demands a lot of respect. I was around him at a camp we had and was impressed with him as an individual and as a player.”
One of his top targets, junior wide receiver Josh Boyce, is TCU’s career leader in touchdown receptions with 18.
The Horned Frogs, however, are without their top running back, junior Waymon James, who suffered a knee injury in the win over Kansas in mid-September.
Senior tailback Matthew Tucker, who was out last week with an ankle injury, will be back as a starter for the Baylor game.
As for Baylor, the Bears are eager coming off their second bye week of the season.
“It’s going to be fun,” Sampson said. “We’re going to be ready to go. We had an off week last week so it wasn’t as tough, but at the same time, preparation was still good. I’m just excited for these next eight weeks.”
After allowing West Virginia 807 yards of total offense, the defense went to work.
“We knew we had to go out and work hard and get better,” Holl said. “That’s what our goal was last week – to get better. It was a very productive week. We tried to make it as normal a week as possible. We were getting back to the basics. We’re excited about it. These off weeks have made our schedule a little weird. We are definitely ready for it. We want to make a good push toward the bowl game.”
Sophomore linebacker Bryce Hager ranks No. 2 nationally and No. 1 in the Big 12 in tackles, averaging 13.5 per game.
Baylor’s top safety, senior Mike Hicks, will be back on the field after missing a few games with a knee injury.
Junior nickelback Ahmad Dixon will also play after receiving a concussion against West Virginia.
Senior cornerback Demetri Goodson, however, is out with a broken arm.
“We might try to get an extra year out of Demetri, so he will probably not play again this year,” Briles said.
Offensively, Baylor enters the weekend ranked among the nation’s top two in passing offense, No. 1 with 416.5 yards per game; total offense, No. 2 with 601.5 yards per game; and scoring offense, No. 2 with 54.3 points per game.
Baylor’s eight-game streak of 45-plus points is the nation’s longest active streak.
Individually, Nick Florence leads the nation in total offense with 434.5 yards per game and is No. 2 in the Big 12 with 396.2 passing yards per game.
“I played with [Florence] my freshman year,” Sampson said. “Seeing bits and pieces as a true freshman is different with him now being a senior and having all the experience that he’s had. Nick is playing great right now. He is being a great leader that we know he can be.”
Senior wide receiver Terrance Williams leads the nation with 166.75 receiving yards per game.
“We put up a lot of points against West Virginia, but we didn’t win,” senior quarterback Nick Florence said. “We probably left more points on the table, so there is definitely things we can work on as an offense. We’ll continue to get better and work things out.”
The Bears will take on the Horned Frogs at 6 p.m. Saturday at Floyd Casey Stadium.