GAME NOTES: Ranked foes in the Big 12 Conference mix it up on Saturday
afternoon, as No. 20 West Virginia entertains No. 10 TCU.
TCU is the nation’s highest scoring team (50.4 ppg), and the Horned Frogs are
hoping to secure their seventh win of the season this week. A wild 61-58 loss
to another high-octane conference club in Baylor is the team’s only blemish on
an otherwise perfect resume’. Since that loss, TCU has won two straight, the
most recent of which being an eye-popping 82-27 triumph over visiting Texas
Tech last Saturday. That came on the heels of a 42-9 shellacking of Oklahoma
State the week prior. Save for this week and next versus league-leading Kansas
State, the remaining schedule (Kansas, Texas, Iowa State) is favorable for
coach Gary Patterson’s squad.
West Virginia has surprised many this season by winning six of its first eight
games, including four of its five conference encounters. Coach Dana
Holgorsen’s club has won four in a row since dropping a 45-33 decision to
Oklahoma on Sept. 20, and it is coming off a 34-10 triumph at Oklahoma State
last weekend. Prior to that, the Mountaineers took down high-powered Baylor at
home, 41-27. In addition to hosting TCU this week, a visit to Texas, a home
game versus Kansas State, and a trip to Iowa State to close out the regular
West Virginia has won two of the three meetings in the series with TCU, with
both tussles since the pair joined the Big 12 going to overtime. WVU won in
Fort Worth last season, 30-27.
TCU’s high-octane offense is directed by Trevone Boykin, and the junior signal
caller has completed 58.7 percent of his passes for more than 2,300 yards, 21
TDs and only three INTs. Josh Doctson leads the receiving corps with 35
catches for 573 yards and seven TDs, while Deante’ Gray has 27 grabs for 431
and six scores. Kolby Listenbee averages better than 22 yards per reception in
totaling 494 receiving yards and three TDs. As for the Frogs’ rushing attack,
B.J. Catalon has rumbled his way to 388 yards and eight TDs, while Boykin has
scrambled out of the pocket for 374 yards and three scores, and Aaron Green
has 315 yards and three TDs.
Defensively, the Horned Frogs rank among the Big 12 leaders in average points
allowed (21.6), as well as rushing yards (132.3). They have been a bit more
lax against the pass (239.6 ypg), but that is due in large part m was dealing wi
slide heading into action against Troy on Oct. 18 and managed to dominate the
slumping Trojans in a 53-14 final on the road. It marked the first win for ASU
over another FBS program since the epic upset of fifth-ranked Michigan back in
As for the Panthers, they haven’t been nearly as lucky or good, losing seven
in a row since slipping by Abilene Christian by a single point (38-37) in the
waning moments of the season opener. More recently, GSU went from losing by
three points against South Alabama (30-27) on the road on Oct. 18 to being
blown out of the water at home by Georgia Southern (69-31) last weekend.
Since the start of the 2012 campaign, the Panthers have won a total of just
two games, the other coming against Rhode Island by a score of 41-7 on Oct.
This is the first-ever meeting between these two schools on the football
Georgia State, which has surrendered no fewer than 30 points in every game
this season, was manhandled by Georgia Southern last Saturday as the Eagles
cruised to a 38-point victory in the Georgia Dome. The Eagles became just the
second FBS team this season to run for at least 600 yards in a single game,
generating not only 613 yards on 63 attempts, but reaching the end zone eight
times against a Panthers defense that was simply overmatched.
Georgia State gave up 660 yards of total offense and watched the Eagles tally
close to 10 yards per snap. Nate Simon headed the tackles list with 14 and had
the only stop for loss for the Panthers.
Offensively, Nick Arbuckle completed 24-of-38 passes for 408 yards and four
touchdowns, each of those scores going to Donovan Harden who turned 11 catches
into a school-record 186 yards. Harden’s four TDs also set a single-game
program record and were the second-most in Sun Belt history.
Harden now leads the team in receptions with 45 for 707 yards and seven
scores, while Arbuckle has completed 61 percent of his attempts for 309.0 ypg
and 16 TDs, against nine INTs.
Unfortunately, while Harden and Arbuckle are doing their share of the work,
the same cannot be said for the GSU rushing attack which is averaging just
105.9 ypg and 3.1 yards per attempt, compared to 287.4 ypg for the competition
heading into action this week.
In addition to having the 124th-ranked run defense in the nation currently,
the Panthers are also next-to-last in points allowed (43.6 ppg) and last in
third-down conversion defense (.537).
For the Mountaineers, beating up on Troy was rather easy as the visitors
generated 551 yards of offense, of which 441 was on the ground, compared to
only 79 net rushing yards for the Trojans. Marcus Cox ran for a game-high 123
yards and three scores on 16 attempts, while Ricky Fergerson picked up another
107 yards on 10 attempts.
Quarterback Taylor Lamb hit on only 9-of-16 passes for 110 yards and a score,
but he did add another 98 yards and a TD on the ground.
Lamb, who has taken the majority of the snaps for the Mountaineers, has
completed 60.1 percent of his attempts for 191.7 ypg and nine TDs, but at the
same time he has tossed six interceptions, which might be why ASU focuses so
much on the running game.
There are three players who have at least 330 yards rushing, with Cox being
the top man on the list with 569 yards and a team-best nine TDs, although he
has started just four of the team’s seven outings.
Lamb tends to spread the wealth with his pass selection, but the bulk of
completed attempts have gone to Simms McElfresh and Malachi Jones who have
combined for 54 catches, 720 yards and eight TDs.
Having had plenty of time to rest and prepare for this weekend’s encounter,
the Mountaineers are again in prime position to pounce on an opponent that is
struggling to keep up with the competition in so many ways.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Appalachian State 34, Georgia State 24