The Tech football team faces the biggest challenge in its history on Saturday: taking on the 4th ranked Horned Frogs of Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. The Golden Eagles (0-1, 0-0 OVC) start off their season with the second most difficult schedule in the nation. After falling to the 17th ranked Arkansas Razorbacks on Sept. 4 by a score of 44-3, Tech now has its sights set on a foe that has not lost to an unranked team since November 2007.
“We have nothing to lose,” quarterback Tre Lamb said. “You never know what could happen.”
Lamb, a sophomore from Calhoun, Ga., knows that the Golden Eagles will have to play their best to have a shot at the upset.
“We’re going to go have fun and play smart,” he said. “If they play bad, and we play good, we’ve got a serious chance.”
TCU rides a 14-game home winning streak into this week and has won eight consecutive home openers. In its last four home games, TCU has allowed just five touchdowns and has outscored opponents 191-44 in those contests.
“I look at it like I did last week,” head coach Watson Brown said. “We’re going to play against the best players we’ll play all year.”
Brown also acknowledged the skill level of both Arkansas and TCU.
“I told our players before we started that these two teams could be playing each other for the national championship at the end of the year,” he said.
“I think if TCU and Arkansas played each other tomorrow, it would be a toss-up game at best,” he added.
Both Arkansas and TCU moved up in the AP Poll from last week, with the Razorbacks climbing three spots after topping Tech. The Horned Frogs leaping from sixth to fourth after their win over Oregon State.
The Horned Frogs are led by Gary Patterson, a former Tech assistant whoearned his Master’s degree from Tech in 1984. Patterson holds an 86-28 record in his 10 seasons at TCU and is 45-6 at home in that span. TCU Defensive Coordinator Dick Bumpas also coached at Tech alongside Patterson 1983-1984.
Leading TCU on the field is quarterback Andy Dalton. The senior passed for a touchdown and rushed for two more over the Beavers last week. With Dalton being considered for numerous season awards, this marks the second-straight week the Golden Eagles will have to find a way to shut down a Heisman candidate quarterback (Mallett, Arkansas).
Lamb, on the other hand, shares time with senior Cass Barnes in a two-quarterback system set in place by Brown and his staff.
Last week, Lamb went 6-13 for 99 yards through the air while Barnes rushed for 31 yards on eight attempts.
Tech’s best statistic of the season thus far is its +3 turnover margin. The Golden Eagles recovered a fumble and intercepted two Razorback passes while not turning the ball over a single time.
Lamb believes that turnovers could be the biggest opportunity for the Golden Eagles to pull off the biggest upset in collegiate football history.
“They’ve got to lay it on the ground a few times,” he said.
Aware of Jacksonville State’s upset over Mississippi last week, Patterson said TCU does not want to be “the next Ole Miss losing to another Ohio Valley school.”
Brown, however, focuses on the impact of this game on his players.
“The players get to leave these with confidence saying ‘I lined up in a hostile place against the best player I can possibly play against, and I still have a heartbeat. I’m still alive, and I’m a better player than I was before I went on this trip,'” he said.
Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on the Golden Eagle Sports Network via Magic 98.5 and Free Teamline. For more information, visit www.TTUSports.com.