The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

August 9, 2012

TCU also a newcomer to Big 12

BECKLEY — West Virginia isn’t alone as the new kid in the Big 12 classroom. Texas Christian University made the jump from the Mountain West after winning 103 games with seven bowl victories — including the 2011 Rose Bowl — over the last 10 seasons.

The Horned Frogs will visit Mountaineer Field on Nov. 3 as part of Mountaineer Week and WVU’s eighth game of the 2012 season.

This year’s TCU squad returns six starters on offense, perhaps the most important of which is quarterback Casey Pachall, who threw for nearly 3,000 yards and 25 touchdowns last season.

Josh Boyce, an All-Mountain West pick last year, will be one of his top targets, as will Brandon Carter and Skye Dawson.

TCU is going to put the ball in the air — who wouldn’t with a 6-foot-5 quarterback with a big arm — but it also has some talent in the backfield and is usually a run-first squad.

Wayman James was the top producer last year, rushing for more than 800 yards, but Ed Wesley wasn’t far behind. Both should get the ball in their hands enough to make an impact.

The question is whether the big men up front can create time to throw or room to run.

TCU returns All-Mountain West guard Blaize Foltz and center James Fry from last year, but they’ll also welcome some new faces, and a group that struggled at times last year will be tested against the physical linemen in the Big 12.

On the other side of the ball, the Horned Frogs should fit right in with the physical Big 12 fronts. They return three starters from last year, including Stansly Maponga and Ross Forrest on the ends.

The linebacking corps has some holes, after some at that position were removed from the team after an offseason drug raid, but Kenny Cain will be back and bring his 72 tackles from last season with him.

The secondary returns just one starter and could be vulnerable in the pass-happy Big 12. TCU often puts five defensive backs on the field at once, but they’ll likely need all of them to combat what they’ll see from opponents. The Horned Frogs allowed more than 220 yards per game through the air last year — and that was in the Mountain West.

Head coach Gary Patterson has proven year after year that he knows how to win, but with a thin squad — due, in part to the off-the-field issues — and a stronger conference, this could be the toughest test yet.

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