FULL PREVIEW: No. 18 Texas vs No. 4 TCU

The Texas Longhorns will play their biggest conference home game in years on Saturday. The game could be on par with the 2018 clash with Dana Holgerson, Will Grier and the West Virginia Mountaineers.

Steve Sarkisian’s team sits in poll position for the second spot in the conference title game. Should Baylor beat Kansas State, Texas could still control its destiny to make the conference championship. The simpler path involves Texas handling its business on Saturday.

The Longhorns will face a new challenge this season in conference play. They face a TCU team that is both well coached and presents matchup problems of their own for Texas.

Sonny Dykes’ coaching staff is seemingly doing everything right so far this season. Let’s examine what will decide this game.

Matchup to exploit

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Bijan Robinson vs everyone.

TCU head coach Sonny Dykes called Robinson the best college running back since Adrian Peterson. Given Bijan’s unique skill set, Dykes may be right. The Horned Frogs look like a better tackling team than last year, but should have trouble bringing the elite running back to the ground.

Weakness to protect

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Intermediate pass defense.

Texas can’t count on the Horned Frogs to make mistakes. The Longhorns will need to make Max Duggan hold the football and disrupt the backfield with pressure.

Matchup to watch

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Quentin Johnston vs Texas corners.

Texas will probably treat Johnston as if he is fully healthy. There could be a better alternative to stopping the elite pass catcher. Johnston left the Texas Tech game last week with an ankle injury. Ryan Watts could shut down the talented receiver with press-man resistance if the ankle isn’t fully healed.

Texas Key Player

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Ryan Watts.

If Watts does shut down Quentin Johnston, Texas could become the unstated favorite to win the conference title with a win over TCU. Pete Kwiatkowski can let Watts win the game for the Longhorns if he believes the corner is up to the task.

TCU Key Player

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Max Duggan.

If Duggan protects the football and converts on third downs, Texas could be in more trouble than in past weeks. Duggan is surrounded by more talent than most Big 12 quarterbacks. Texas will need to make him uncomfortable.

Prediction

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If Texas fans bring the same intensity they brought against Alabama, they win. If they don’t, their absence could have the same effect in TCU’s favor. Contrary to what Nick Saban said earlier this season, crowd noise can have a huge psychological impact on a football team. If Texas fans bring the noise on Saturday, the Longhorns win. Albeit, until I see it I’m not going to count on it.

TCU 37, Texas 27

Story originally appeared on Longhorns Wire