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November 1, 2012

Game Preview: WVU vs. TCU

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Game Preview: WVU vs. TCU

Series: WVU 1-0
Last meeting: 1984: WVU 31, TCU 14 F

Television: 3 p.m., FOX (Craig Bolerjack - play-by-play, Joel Klatt - analyst, Petros Papadakis - sideline)

Line: - 7 West Virginia


No. 19/23 West Virginia (5-2, 2-2) will play host to TCU (5-3, 2-3) in a meeting of the Big 12 Conference's two newest members with both teams in unfamiliar positions.
That's because both are entering the game on two-game losing streaks.

The Mountaineers are coming out of a well-placed bye week after back-to-back convincing losses to Texas Tech and Kansas State by a combined score of 104-28. Much of the off-week was dedicated to going back to the basics and focusing on the fundamentals on all three sides of the ball.

TCU on the other hand is coming off a pair of Big 12 defeats to Texas Tech in triple overtime and a 14-36 loss on the road at Oklahoma State last weekend.

The Horned Frogs are led by head coach Gary Patterson, who's entering his 12th year atop the football program. Patterson has compiled a 114-33 record in his tenure as the all-time winningest coach in school history.

Patterson has led TCU to new heights finishing in the top ten four times in the past seven years including two appearances in BCS bowls in the Fiesta and Rose, while leading the Horned Frogs to 10-wins on eight different occasions over the past decade.

The Horned Frogs have dealt with losing a number of players from off the field issues, along with injuries and are currently tied with Texas for playing the most true freshmen in the nation at 16. That number jumps to 28 when including the number of redshirt freshmen.

Redshirt freshman Trevone Boykin has filled in for incumbent starting quarterback Casey Pachall, who left school earlier this season to enter rehabilitation and has filled in admirably completing 61-percent of his passes for 1,122 yards and 11 touchdowns, while rushing for another 252 and a pair of scores.

The strength of the Horned Frogs offensively is their wide receivers, with a deep and talented pool of playmakers on the outside including Josh Boyce, LaDarius Brown, Skye Dawson, Cam White and Brandon Carter, among others.

But Patterson has become known for defense during his tenure and while there are some issues with youth on that side of the ball, the Horned Frogs are only allowing 22.4 points and 333 yards per game on the season.

This will be the second matchup between the two teams, with the first coming in the 1984 Blue Bonnet Bowl, a 31-14 West Virginia win. Head coach Dana Holgorsen has matched up twice with TCU as an assistant coach at Texas Tech, going 1-1 in those contests, including most recently falling 12-3 in 2006.

The game is set for 3 p.m.


West Virginia Depth Chart:

OFFENSE:

QB - 12 Geno Smith, 14 Paul Millard, 7 Ford Childress
RB (A) - 13 Andrew Buie, 29 Dustin Garrison
FB (B) - 32 Ryan Clarke, 88 Cody Clay, 30 Donovan Miles
WR (X) - 3 Stedman Bailey, 5 Ivan McCartney
WR (Z) - 81 J.D. Woods, 85 Devonte Robinson
IR (H) -2 Travares Copeland, 15 Dante Campbell
IR (Y) - 1 Tavon Austin, 10 Jordan Thompson
LT - 67 Quinton Spain, 62 Curtis Feigt
LG - 77 Josh Jenkins, 67 Quinton Spain
C - 74 Joe Madsen, 60 John Bassler
RG - 57 Jeff Braun, 76 Pat Eger
RT - 79 Nick Kindler, 76 Pat Eger


DEFENSE:

DT - 99 Jorge Wright, 45 Eric Kinsey
NT - 90 Shaq Rowell, 95 Christian Brown
DE - 98 Will Clarke, 93 Kyle Rose
BUCK - 4 Josh Francis, 36 Shaq Petteway
STAR - 28 Terence Garvin, 37 Wes Tonkery
WILL - 47 Doug Rigg, 33 Jared Barber
SAM - 31 Isaiah Bruce, 35 Nick Kwiatkoski
FCB - 7 Nana Kyeremeh, 15 Ricky Rumph
FS - 8 Karl Joseph, 34 Ishmael Banks
BS - 25 Darwin Cook, 9 KJ Dillon
BCB - 6 Pat Miller, 24 Cecil Level


SPECIAL TEAMS:

PK - 40 Tyler Bitancurt
P - 44 Corey Smith
KO - 44 Corey Smith
LS -87 John DePalma, 86 Jerry Cooper
H - 48 Michael Molinari
PR - 1 Tavon Austin, 10 Jordan Thompson
KR - 1 Tavon Austin, 3 Stedman Bailey

Twelve true freshmen saw action in games this season: DL Christian Brown, WR Travares Copeland, LS John DePalma, S K.J. Dillon, DL Korey Harris, LB Garrett Hope, S Karl Joseph, DL Eric Kinsey, CB Nana Kyeremeh, WR Devonte Robinson, CB Ricky Rumph and WR Jordan Thompson. In all 21 first-time players saw action with LB Isaiah Bruce, WR Dante Campbell, FB Cody Clay, LS Jerry Cooper, LB Dozie Ezemma, OL Russell Haughton-James, OL Brandon Jackson, LB Nick Kwiatkoski, WR K.J. Myers, DL Kyle Rose and CB Ishmail Showell.

Eight Mountaineers have earned their first career start this season: Tyler Anderson (BUCK), Isaiah Bruce (LB), Cody Clay (FB), Travares Copeland (WR), Karl Joseph (FS), Nana Kyeremeh (CB), Shaq Rowell (DL) and Jordan Thompson (WR).

Notable changes:

Shawne Alston does not appear on the depth chart after previously being listed there throughout the entire course of his injury.

True freshman wide receiver Devonte Robinson earned his first start last week, and is now listed as the backup at the (Z) position behind J.D. Woods. Jordan Thompson is listed as the backup at the inside WR (Y) spot behind Tavon Austin.

Some shuffling on the offensive line with redshirt junior Nick Kindler now listed as the starter at right tackle and Curtis Feigt the backup at left tackle.

True freshman cornerback Nana Kyeremeh listed as the starter at field corner, with true freshman Ricky Rumph backing him up.

Injuries: West Virginia will be without starting cornerback Brodrick Jenkins, who's recovering from a slight cartilage tear. His spot was filled by true freshman Nana Kyeremeh against Kansas State. Starting running back Shawne Alston continues to remain day-to-day with a nagging thigh bruise. While Travis Bell, Avery Williams and Jewone Snow are out for the season.

Points to click:


Pressure. Redshirt freshman quarterback Trevone Boykin has struggled to make plays with pressure in his face and with the Horned Frogs set to throw the ball all over the field, getting home will be key for West Virginia. This is an area the Mountaineers have struggled with all season, but in order to have success on defense, West Virginia must make things difficult on the TCU offense. Almost as important is when they do bring heat, they must get to Boykin to avoid him making plays with his legs or extending plays to make big throws down the field.

Get that rhythm back in your step. West Virginia has struggled in its past two games and the Mountaineers must get back to playing well on the offensive side of the ball. One key to the two defeats were the inability for the West Virginia offense to get in any type of rhythm or sustain drives and it's an area that must improve especially against a ball-hawking TCU defense. Especially in the sense that Geno Smith and the offense can establish the fast-paced tempo that was a staple of the offense during the first half of the season.

Cutting out big plays. It's been an issue all season for the West Virginia defense, but against an explosive aerial attack the Mountaineers have to do a better job of keeping players in front of them and avoid giving up a string of 20+ yard plays.

Turnovers. A key to every game, this game is a matchup of teams that are hungry for a win and turnovers could very well be the stat that decides this matchup.

Home team. The Mountaineers will once again play in front of their home crowd at Mountaineer Field and it's an opportunity to feed off the energy inside the stadium and use it to your advantage. The players have all made mention to the fact that these past two weeks of practice have been very productive, and this will be the first opportunity to showcase those improvements in front of the fans that, like the team, are hungry for a good performance.


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