TEXAS TECH VS. TCU PREVIEW: Wild-card QBs face off in Fort Worth

Horned Frogs quarterback Shawn Robinson (12) rushes against the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the first half at Jones AT&T Stadium.Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Red Raiders and Horned Frogs have split 6 games since TCU joined the Big 12.

Texas Tech and TCU kickoff at 6:30 tonight at Amon Carter Stadium in Fort Worth.

Here are some of the particulars:

PLAYERS TO WATCH

QB Jett Duffey stepped in for the injured Alan Bowman late in the first half against West Virginia. The Red Raiders trailed 35-10 when Duffey came into the game and, despite throwing an interception on his first series in, he led Texas Tech to a second half rally that cut the Mountaineers margin to 35-27. Duffey then threw his second interception late in the fourth quarter, a pick-six that sealed the win for West Virginia.

RB Da’Leon Ward came back from injury against West Virginia and rushed for 24 yards on six carries. In his limited opportunities, he showed the energy and elusiveness that made him the bell cow of the running backs coming into the season.

WR Antoine Wesley continues to make dazzling catches, including a 35-yard reception to the West Virginia 3 that defied logic. Wesley reached around a Mountaineer defender to make the reception with one hand and then brought it into his body.

S Jah’Shawn Johnson has been active since his return from a shoulder injury. He has 9 total tackles in two games, but that number might double this week against TCU. The Red Raiders senior safety will play a vital role in trying to stop the Horned Frogs’ elusive backs and receivers.

SERIES HISTORY: Texas Tech leads the all-time series versus TCU, 31-26-3. The Red Raiders and Horned Frogs have split the six games since the Horned Frogs joined the Big 12 in 2012.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We have to do a good job of trying to take (TCU wide receiver Jalen Reagor) away. The problem is, they’ve got other guys that can beat you as well. We’re going to know where Reagor is at. It’s one thing to know where he’s at and it’s another thing to try and stop him.” Kliff Kingsbury on defending TCU’s offensive play-makers.

KEY MATCHUP: Texas Tech QB vs. TCU defense. It will be difficult to predict or scout this game as neither team has a definitive starting quarterback. In fact, Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson refused to name a starter because Texas Tech hadn't named a starter. However, whoever plays for the Red Raiders will face a challenge in moving against the Horned Frogs. TCU is surrendering just 303.6 yards per game, ranking 12th nationally in that category. Furthermore, the Horned Frogs allow just 3.5 yards per rush and 5.74 yards per pass attempt. Safety Innis Gaines is TCU’s defensive play-maker as he has 6.5 TFLs, an INT and 6 pass breakups.

ROSTER REPORT:

--QB Alan Bowman left the West Virginia game late in the first half when he was hit by two Mountaineers in the upper body. Bowman was diagnosed with a partially collapsed lung and admitted to a Lubbock hospital, where he was observed until the following Wednesday. Kingsbury said there were no broken ribs and Bowman rejoined the team late last week.

--QB McLane Carter suffered a high ankle sprain in the first quarter versus Ole Miss and hasn’t played the last four games. Kingsbury said he doesn’t want to put Carter back in the game until he can fully push off the injured ankle.

--WR T.J. Vasher has a knee injury that kept him out of the West Virginia game. Kingsbury said on Monday that Vasher has been limited in practice and will be a game-time decision for the TCU game.

-- RB Da’Leon Ward missed the three games with a groin injury, but returned to action against West Virginia.

-- RB Tre King missed three games with a knee injury. He returned to action and carried twice for 16 yards against West Virginia.

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