UNLV at TCU Preview
Fort Worth, TX - TCU's top competition this season will not be met on the field.
Having moved into position to be a BCS buster, the eighth-ranked Horned Frogs attempt to hold off their challenger for that spot with a big game against Mountain West Conference rival UNLV on Saturday.
Oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made TCU -35 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 67% of bets for this game have been placed on TCU -35 (View College Football bet percentages).
TCU (7-0, 3-0), off to its best start since opening 10-0 in 2003, passed Boise State this week in the BCS standings, jumping two places to sixth and one spot ahead of the undefeated Broncos. One team from a non-automatic qualifying league is eligible to earn an automatic BCS bid.
Neither the MWC or Boise State's Western Athletic Conference has an automatic bid, but a team from one of those leagues has earned an automatic entry by finishing in the top 12 in the BCS standings each of the past three seasons.
TCU finished 11th in 2008, when Utah of the MWC earned a bid to the Sugar Bowl with a sixth-place finish.
"We'll see how the votes and the computers and all those people do that stuff and see how it turns out," said Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson, whose team faces San Diego State, No. 19 Utah, Wyoming and New Mexico following its matchup with UNLV (3-5, 1-3).
A 38-7 victory at then-No. 16 BYU last Saturday night helped TCU pass Boise State. The Broncos beat Hawaii 54-9 and will face San Jose State on Saturday.
TCU got 241 yards passing and three touchdowns from Andy Dalton to extend its winning streak to nine dating to last season. He has thrown five TDs in his last two games and has 11 on the season while getting picked off three times.
Dalton's steady, turnover-free play has complemented a strong defense. TCU leads the MWC in scoring defense, giving up 12.7 points a contest, and has allowed a total of 13 in its last two games.
The Horned Frogs had five sacks against BYU, finishing with at least four in a game for the fourth time this season.
TCU has been particularly tough at home against the run, surrendering an average of 28.0 yards in three games. Opponents are averaging 1.1 yards per carry on the road against the Horned Frogs.
Defensive end Jerry Hughes has nine sacks after leading the nation with 15 last season.
UNLV linebacker Jason Beauchamp was named MWC defensive player of the week after finishing with two sacks, nine tackles and a forced fumble in a 34-17 win over New Mexico State last Saturday night.
Beauchamp, who has a career-high 5 1/2 sacks, helped the Rebels snap a four-game losing streak and a team-record 20-game skid in conference road games. The victory took some of the pressure off coach Mike Sanford, who has been facing criticism for his 14 wins in five seasons.
"It's good for him," quarterback Omar Clayton said. "He finally gets that monkey off his back. People can stop asking him about it. You know, it's good for the whole team. A lot of the seniors have been around as long as he has."
Clayton had 204 yards passing and two TDs, again taking advantage of one of the nation's top receivers.
Ryan Wolfe had 11 catches for 118 yards, becoming the MWC career leader in receptions shortly before halftime. He has 270 catches, breaking the league record of 262 set by San Diego State's J.R. Tolver from 1999-02.
"I think he's an outstanding player and, I think, the best receiver that I've ever been around," Sanford said.
Wolfe, though, has been mostly quiet in three games against TCU, totaling 12 catches for 158 yards while failing to score.
TCU has won five straight against UNLV since a 21-19 loss Oct. 11, 1997. The Horned Frogs lead the series 6-1, winning all three of their home matchups.
Posted: 10/27/09 8:05PM ET