BYU Football Set For ‘Big Test’ Against Reeling TCU In Fort Worth

Oct 9, 2023, 12:01 AM

PROVO, Utah – The bye week is a wrap for BYU football as they now turn their attention to a road game against TCU.

It’s the first time since 2011 that BYU and TCU are meeting on the gridiron. These programs are no strangers to one another as they were once league rivals in the WAC then Mountain West Conference from 2005-2010.

They are once again league foes. This Saturday will mark the first meeting as Big 12 opponents.

TCU has dropped two in a row entering BYU game

Last January, TCU was taking on Georgia in the National Championship Game. The Horned Frogs were outclassed in that game, but no one saw TCU stumbling in their follow-up season to a 3-3 start at the midway point.

But that happened as TCU has dropped its last two games against West Virginia and Iowa State. TCU became America’s Team last season, winning so many close games. The thin margins for error have flipped on them this season as they haven’t played what Sonny Dykes calls “winning football.” Look at the special teams issues they’ve had this year, with three kicks getting blocked.

BYU would probably love nothing more than to give the Horned Frogs their third consecutive loss inside Amon G. Carter Stadium. A place that BYU hasn’t won at since 2006.

Questions at QB for TCU

To make the struggles worse for TCU, their starting quarterback Chandler Morris, went down with what appeared to be a left knee injury. It was flashbacks of when Morris suffered an injury in week one last year against Colorado. The only difference now compared to the previous year is that no Max Duggan is on the bench ready to step in.

Oregon State transfer Chance Nolan left TCU’s program after a brief four-month stay last August. That means redshirt freshman Josh Hoover was next in line for TCU in Saturday’s loss at Iowa State.

TCU head coach Sonny Dykes didn’t have any details on Morris after the setback over the weekend.

Despite the struggles for TCU, early prognostications in the week have BYU as an underdog against their old Mountain West Conference rivals. This season, it would be the third time that BYU has been an underdog. The previous two were also on the road (Arkansas, Kansas).

BYU football has been timely through the first month of the season

BYU is 4-1 overall, 1-1 in the Big 12. It’s a solid record, but the way BYU has carved out wins has many wondering on the outside if it’s sustainable.

Through five games, BYU is 117th in total offense and 129th in rushing offense. They are a middle-of-the-pack 60th nationally in total defense.

Two weeks ago, Cincinnati outgained them by more than 200 yards but still found a way to win 35-27 over a stout Bearcat defense.

“I think we’ve been timely in when we’ve played really well during the games,” said BYU offensive lineman Connor Pay. “When we’ve needed it most, we were there to pull through, with the exception of Kansas. Other than that game when we’ve really needed it in those crunchtime moments, we’ve been able to come through whether it was offense, defense, or special teams.

“So obviously, we need to work on being a little more consistent and playing a more complete game. It’s hard to win in college football and our first year in the Big 12, starting 4-1, I think that’s something we can be proud of even though there’s a whole list of things we need to get better at.”

BYU’s offensive line, which struggled against Kansas, made strides against Cincinnati. The same goes for the running backs led by freshman LJ Martin. Fourth-year veteran Miles Davis provided a spark off the bench. Then there’s injured ball carrier Aidan Robbins, who’s still working his way to get back as soon as possible.

Positions up for grabs in the Big 12

Looking around the Big 12 Conference, outside of Texas and Oklahoma, it’s anyone’s guess how the rest of the league standings shake out. BYU in its first season has an opportunity to be in the league’s upper crust. But they’ve got to fix some of the struggles they experienced in the first month, as this will be a seven-week gauntlet that BYU has never faced before.

“We’re excited for the second half of the season. We know it’s going to be another grind like these past couple of games have been; it’s going to be a challenge,” said BYU tight end Isaac Rex to KSL Sports. “There’s no time to look back at what happened in the past, and we have to keep looking forward. We’re gonna play a really good TCU team at their place coming up. It’s going to be a big test for us to see where we’re at in this conference.”


Date: Saturday, October 14, 2023

Location: Amon G. Carter Stadium

Kickoff: 1:30 p.m. (MT)


Radio: KSL NewsRadio (102.7 FM, 1160 AM) — Extended pregame coverage begins at 11 a.m. from Ft. Worth

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on X and Threads: @Mitch_Harper.

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BYU Football Set For ‘Big Test’ Against Reeling TCU In Fort Worth