Coach: Gary Patterson
Coach Year at school: 12th
2011 record: 11-2, 7-0 Mountain West
Last year vs. KU: Did not play. Last time these two met, KU coach Terry Allen —in his second game —led the Jayhawks to a 17-10 victory on Sept. 6, 1997, in Lawrence.
Returning starters: 13
Impact newcomers: Davonte Fields, 6-4, 240, DE; B.J. Catalon, 5-9, 200, RB.
Key games: Oct. 27 at Oklahoma State; Nov. 3 at West Virginia; Dec. 1 vs. Oklahoma.
Vs. Kansas: Sept. 15 in Lawrence.
Note: This story is a part of the 2012 KU football preview section that appears in Sunday's Journal-World.
After posting 36 victories over the last three years, the TCU football team will get a chance to prove it can maintain success against better competition in 2012.
Following seven years in the Mountain West Conference, the Horned Frogs have made the move to the Big 12.
“When you’re sitting on the side of the mountain, you don’t rest,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said. “Everything we’ve done to this point is great. But now the real work starts. Now we’re climbing. It’s another challenge.”
TCU was 11-2 a year ago, with its only losses coming at Baylor (50-48) and at home against SMU (40-33).
The Horned Frogs actually have not lost a game by more than seven points since September of 2008. In the last three years combined, TCU has lost just three games.
“They understand how to win,” Patterson said of his players. “How does that equivocate and how does it go forward? We don’t know. We’ll have to go prove it just like we have to go prove it every year.”
TCU returns a powerful offense, led by quarterback Casey Pachall.
The 6-foot-5 junior set school records in 2011 for yards passing (2,921), completions (228) and completion percentage (66.5 percent).
Pachall has plenty of options among his wideouts. Six-foot junior Josh Boyce was a first-team All-Mountain West conference selection last year after catching 61 passes for 998 yards with nine touchdowns.
Senior Skye Dawson added 45 receptions for 500 yards and five scores and was a second-team All-American in track this past spring after competing for TCU’s 4X100-meter relay team at the NCAA Championships.
Sophomore Brandon Carter also returns after posting 23 receptions for 352 yards as a true freshman.
The Horned Frogs also bring back depth at running back, though not as much as they had planned.
TCU’s top running back Ed Wesley left the team for family reasons following the spring. He’s now in camp with the Dallas Cowboys.
That still leaves 5-8 junior Wayman James and senior Matthew Tucker, who both ran for more than 700 yards a year ago.
Offensive line could be a concern for the Horned Frogs, as they must replace three starters. The best returning player is senior right guard Blaize Foltz, a Rose Hill native who earned first-team All-Mountain West honors a year ago after both Kansas and Kansas State refused to offer him a scholarship out of high school.
Junior defensive end Stansly Maponga will lead the defense, as he posted five forced fumbles and nine sacks in 2011.
He also was a preseason All-Big 12 selection.
“I want him to live up to the expectation. That’s the first thing I’d want him to do,” Patterson said. “But for as a group — and we’ve said all the time — it’s not what people say in August. It’s what you say in November.”