SAN ANTONIO — It’s been a week involving added adversity for TCU. A group that has constantly been hobbled by injuries this season will be without its top playmaker after Trevone Boykin was arrested and suspended Thursday. It makes for an even tougher test for the Horned Frogs against Vernon Adams Jr. and Oregon. The Ducks come into Saturday on a six-game win streak and with an opportunity to win 10 games for the eighth consecutive year. Sports editor Justin Wise and associate sports editor Kenny Jacoby offer their takes on tonight’s matchup.
How do you expect Trevone Boykin’s suspension to affect the game. Do you think TCU still has a remote shot?
Jacoby — TCU has an outside shot. It still managed to beat Kansas with a back-up quarterback and almost — perhaps should have — beat Oklahoma. Additionally, one can never count out Gary Patterson’s defense. But Boykin’s suspension is demoralizing for the Horned Frogs, given the slew of injuries they’ve faced all season and the fact their star receiver Josh Doctson was also ruled out. TCU’s offense will be a shell of what it has been in what would have been a premier matchup between two elite offenses.
Wise — Yes. The group lost by just a point to College Football Playoff participant Oklahoma and managed to win 10 games this year despite a constant flurry of injuries on a week to week base. While it will obviously be a difficult task, the Horned Frogs are facing one of the weaker defenses in the Pac-12 and still have plenty of weapons on the offensive side of the ball to have a shot.
Oregon’s defense has been an oft maligned group. Do you think there’s more pressure on the group because Boykin was suspended and All-American wideout Josh Doctson isn’t playing?
Jacoby — I do think there is more pressure on Oregon’s young secondary, which has endured growing pains all season. If the defense lapses in the Alamo Bowl the way it did in the second half against Oregon State, it will be heavily scrutinized moving forward. When Boykin was still a factor, people speculated 100 points would be scored between the two teams. That total has clearly declined since his suspension, but people aren’t expecting the Ducks to score any less. The Oregon defense will show its true colors today.
Wise — I don’t know if the unit is feeling any more pressure because of their absences, but TCU clearly poses less of a threat because of it. And because of that, if the Ducks continue to be exposed, especially through the air, it won’t look particularly good. Defensive backs coach John Neal said this week that it’s time for the secondary to be good now. I think with TCU lacking Boykin, it’s an absolute must for the group to efficient Saturday.
Jacoby — Oregon 34, TCU 23. The Alamo Bowl will no longer feature the match-up everyone had been waiting for. Boykin is one of the best athletes in all of college football, so his absence will be detrimental to TCU’s passing and rushing attacks. The Ducks possess an opportunistic defense, which should be able to take advantage of an inexperienced quarterback.
Wise — Oregon 45, TCU 31. Oregon’s offense will continue to move at the pace its been gliding at since Vernon Adams Jr.’s return from injury in October. TCU just isn’t as explosive on offense to keep up, and I see a few turnovers from the Horned Frogs giving the Ducks an opportunity to break the game open.