Big 12 Previews

West Virginia vs. TCU: Preview, Prediction, and Game Odds

NCAA Football: Colorado at Texas Christian

Here is everything you need to know ahead of the matchup between the West Virginia Mountaineers and the TCU Horned Frogs.


Saturday, September 30; 7:00 p.m. CT; Amon G. Carter Stadium; Fort Worth, TX


Radio: Horned Frogs Sports Network (Brian Estridge, Landry Burdine, Chris Blake); Mountaineer Sports Network (Tony Caridi, Dwight Wallace, Jed Drenning)

Records: TCU 3-1 (1-0); West Virginia 3-1 (1-0)

Last Week: TCU 34, SMU 17; West Virginia 20, Texas Tech 13

Rankings: TCU receiving votes, West Virginia NR

Series History: West Virginia leads, 7-5-0

Last Meeting: TCU 41, West Virginia 31 (2022)

Line: TCU (-11)

Fun Fact: West Virginia has won four of the last five in this series, going 4-0 between 2018-21 before dropping last year’s game to the eventual national runner-ups.




RB CJ Donaldson

West Virginia has done two things well in its three wins this season: play stingy defense and run the football. Offensively, the Mountaineers are going to lean on CJ Donaldson, who is a physical, downhill runner who will work behind a very good offensive line. Through four games, Donaldson leads WVU with 287 yards and three scores on the ground, but I expect him to step his numbers up down the stretch.

LB Lee Kpogba

The West Virginia defense is built around linebacker Lee Kpogba, who leads the Mountaineers with 29 tackles through four games. While he’s yet to land a sack this season, Kpogba is the undoubted leader of this defense, and it is a unit that will be tested and strained against Sonny Dykes and the TCU offense.



RB Emani Bailey

As TCU gets more comfortable under new offensive coordinator Kendall Briles, it becomes more apparent that running the ball is going to be the staple of this offense, just as it was at Arkansas under Briles. Emani Bailey has emerged as the top back of the group, with 483 yards (6.0 ypc) and two scores through four games, and will be used heavily in this game after back-to-back 126-yard performances.

Defensive Line

TCU leads the Big 12 with 16 sacks through its first four games, with 8.5 of those sacks coming from the defensive line. Additionally, the Horned Frogs are allowing just 85.0 rushing yards per game, which ranks second overall in the Big 12. Despite having to replace several pieces from last year’s squad, the defensive line has been a strength once again to start 2023.




After a three-game winning streak, can West Virginia keep the momentum going against a good TCU team? Neal Brown’s team has worked its way into a good spot for bowl contention down the line, needing just three wins over their next eight games. If they can win this game on the road, West Virginia could work itself into being one of the big stories in the Big 12 this season with several winnable games still on the schedule.


TCU started off the year with a disappointing loss to a better-than-expected Colorado team, but since then they’ve ripped off three straight wins and are starting to look like a team that could potentially contend for a Big 12 crown. If Chandler Morris continues to improve as a passer and leader of this group, the ceiling gets even higher. Against a good West Virginia defense, this is a great chance for him to do just that.

PREDICTION: TCU 28, West Virginia 24

This game feels so familiar, as I expect it to be the same type of game that we’ve seen in Big 12 play so many times over the past several years. A closely contested, low-scoring game that ends up being decided by a late turnover or the last team to hold the football. With TCU being at home, I’m going to take the Frogs, but I think 11 points is way too much. Give me TCU to win, but West Virginia to cover.

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