Texas Football: 3 problematic TCU players vs. Longhorns

JP Richardson. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
JP Richardson. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /
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Josh Newton, Texas football
Josh Newton, Texas football /

A team that has given Texas football all sorts of issues, the TCU Horned Frogs, will host them this weekend at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth for one final meeting as Big 12 foes. TCU has defeated Texas in two of the last three meetings in this series and seven of the last nine.

Texas bested the Horned Frogs the last time these two teams squared off in Fort Worth two years ago.

The Longhorns need this win over TCU to keep its chances alive to get a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game and remain in contention for the College Football Playoff. Texas comes into Week 11 with a record of 8-1 (5-1 Big 12) after surviving a late upset bid from the No. 23 Kansas State Wildcats in an overtime thriller at DKR in Austin last week, 33-30.

Problematic TCU players that Texas football must be prepared for in Week 11

Head coach Steve Sarkisian and the Longhorns are looking to continue their winning ways this fall against TCU. If Texas wins this weekend, it will be four straight victories while putting Sark one away from reaching double digits for the first time as the Longhorns’ head coach.

TCU is what stands in the way of the Longhorns getting one step closer to 10 wins and to a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game this season. But TCU isn’t the same squad that they were last year. The defending National Champion runner-up has just four wins on the season. And with three games remaining on the regular season schedule, TCU is fighting just to reach bowl eligibility one season after topping the Big 12 standings in the regular season.

However, this is still a capable TCU team with an experienced secondary on defense and many playmakers in the receiving corps on offense. Here are three problematic TCU players for the Longhorns in Week 11.

Josh Newton, CB

TCU boasts one of the strongest starting groups at secondary in the Big 12 this season. Highlighted by future NFL defensive backs and All-Big 12 performers in redshirt junior safety Bud Clark and senior cornerback Josh Newton, the TCU defensive backfield has held conference opponents to under 200 passing yards per game this fall (good for the best passing defense in the Big 12).

Newton is the second-highest-graded cornerback in the Big 12 and tied for the best in coverage grade this season. He’s a sticky 6-foot and 190-pound cover corner with good speed and great instincts making plays on the football. Despite being targeted 31 times in pass coverage this season, Newton has allowed just 14 catches (45.2 reception percentage) for 158 yards and no touchdowns.

He’s also registered four pass breakups and one interception this fall.

Clark, meanwhile, is having a down season, allowing nearly 350 receiving yards and three touchdowns in pass coverage. He is still disruptive, with a team-leading two interceptions and five pass breakups, but he often looks out of place in the secondary, leading to open receivers and coverage busts.

Texas should avoid targeting Newton if there are other one-on-one matchups to exploit in the passing game this weekend. The Longhorns will find more success targeting TCU’s other corner and nickel, junior Avery Helm and senior Nook Bradford. Helm and Bradford grade out as average DBs in the Big 12 this season in coverage.