TCU has a couple of difficult matchups remaining as it tries to crash the BCS championship game. A meeting with UNLV doesn’t figure to be one of them.
The No. 4 Horned Frogs will try to earn their 22nd consecutive regular-season win and seventh in a row when they visit the Rebels on Saturday night.
TCU (8-0, 4-0 Mountain West) moved up one spot in the BCS standings this week after first-place Oklahoma lost but remains fourth behind Auburn, Oregon and Boise State.
In addition to finishing the regular season unbeaten for the second straight year, the Frogs will need some help to move up that list.
Staying undefeated, however, could prove difficult with games against unbeaten No. 8 Utah and San Diego State, which nearly upset current No. 7 Missouri earlier this season.
“We just go out and try to play the best game we can,” safety Colin Jones said. “If we keep doing that, everything will work out.”
TCU has played its best games against conference foes this season, winning those four by a combined 141-10. After giving up the tying score in the first quarter against Air Force last week, the Frogs ran off 31 unanswered points en route to a 38-7 victory.
Ed Wesley ran for had a pair of touchdowns during a career-best 209-yard performance, while quarterback Andy Dalton set a career high with 93 yards rushing on seven attempts.
“That was one of our more complete efforts,” coach Gary Patterson said. “It’s about being disciplined, getting physical, doing the things we need to do and we’ve gotten to 8-0. Now we need to move on.”
Wesley and Dalton could again have big games as they’ll face a defense that ranks 115th out of 120 FBS teams against the run, allowing 213.9 yards per game. The Rebels (1-6, 1-2) are also near the bottom in total offense (283.1 ypg), scoring (18.4 ppg) and points allowed (36.4).
They’ve given up more than 40 points and 440 yards in three straight games, the most recent a 43-10 defeat at Colorado State on Oct. 16.
TCU, by contrast, is in the top 15 in those three categories and has yielded an FBS-low 72 points.
“Confidence plays a big part, especially on defense,” Jones said. “When you get going, you like to keep going. Big plays hurt that, and if you eliminate those then everything else works out.”
The Frogs have outscored the Rebels 236-55 in the past six meetings, winning 41-0 on Oct. 31 in Fort Worth.
Dalton threw for three touchdowns while Wesley had a 59-yard run for a TD and hauled in a 21-yard pass for a score.
Dalton also passed for three touchdowns in TCU’s most recent trip to Las Vegas in 2008. He might want to be wary of throwing in Will Chandler’s direction, as the Rebels defensive back leads the Mountain West with four interceptions.
The Frogs, traveling from Texas for the second time this season, will try to extend their road win streak to nine. They beat Colorado State 27-0 on Oct. 2 in their first game outside their home state.
TCU has won three of four all-time matchups in Las Vegas and seven of eight overall.