- Brandon Chatmon, ESPN Staff Writer
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Hope is on the way for TCU’s offense.
Quarterback Casey Pachall will be available to play against Texas on Saturday, Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Friday. Pachall’s return from a broken forearm couldn’t come at a better time for TCU, which has lost three of four games to start its Big 12 schedule.
TCU’s offense has struggled throughout the season, particularly with Pachall sidelined. Since the veteran quarterback was injured, TCU is averaging 22.4 points, 330.2 yards per game and 4.96 yards per play with Trevone Boykin as the starter. Its first-half production was particularly bad, averaging 3.4 points, 97.4 yards and 3.48 yards per play in the first half of those games. TCU went 2-3 during that stretch although all three losses came to ranked teams (Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech).
Pachall brings the ability to test defenses with his arm better than Boykin and his veteran leadership has been missed during the past five games. He was the starter and passed for 2,921 yards and 25 touchdowns in 2011, leading the Horned Frogs to an 11-2 record in their last season in the Mountain West Conference before they joined the Big 12 in 2012.
Yet, life was not all roses with Pachall under center this season. He was 17 of 30 for 175 yards, 5.8 yards per attempt, zero touchdowns and one interception in TCU’s first two games. Their offensive struggles played a key role in their season-opening 37-27 loss to LSU with Pachall under center as he threw for just 75 yards and finished with a 45.2 raw QBR against the Tigers.
Nonetheless, Pachall’s return could spark the TCU offense by ramping up the competition at the quarterback position, forcing Boykin to compete at a higher level or sit on the sideline, while also giving renewed confidence to a Horned Frogs offense that has struggled to have any success this season.