Baylor will be using its third-string quarterback and TCU will likely be using its backup when the No. 7 Bears visit the No. 19 Horned Frogs in Friday’s Big 12 contest. Baylor sophomore Chris Johnson will make his first career start after replacing freshman Jarrett Stidham (broken ankle) in last Saturday’s victory over Oklahoma State, while TCU senior Trevone Boykin (ankle) could miss his second straight game.
The Bears lead the nation in scoring (53.8) and total offense (644.1 yards) and have continued to click despite losing junior Seth Russell to a season-ending neck injury and now Stidham. “The playbook was open, and we were dialing up the same things we were with Seth and Jarrett, because he’s good and he can deliver,” coach Art Briles said at a press conference of Johnson, who passed for 138 yards and two touchdowns against Oklahoma State. “He can do it. That part of it was not surprising at all.” Johnson was playing receiver until Russell’s injury on Oct. 24 and the Bears could use a big performance from him to keep their College Football Playoff aspirations alive. The Horned Frogs average 42.9 points and 588.2 yards per game but have lost senior standout receiver Josh Doctson (wrist) for the season and senior Bram Kohlhausen will start at quarterback if Boykin can’t play.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN.
LINE HISTORY: Books opened TCU as a 2-point fave. The total opened at 78.5.
Baylor – S Terrell Burt (Probable, undisclosed), TE Gus Penning (Questionable, shoulder), DT Byron Bonds (Questionable, knee), S Orion Stewart (Questionable, undisclosed), DL Beau Blackshear (Questionable, undisclosed), QB Jarrett Stidham (Out indefinitely, ankle), QB Seth Russell (Out for season, neck).
TCU – G Jamelle Naff (Questionable, undisclosed), QB Trevone Boykin (Questionable, ankle), C Joey Hunt (Questionable, undisclosed), WR Josh Doctson (Out for season, wrist), WR Ja’Juan Story (Out for season, undisclosed), S Kenny Iloka (Out for season, knee), CB Ranthony Texada (Out for season, knee), LB Sammy Douglas (Out for season, undisclosed).
WEATHER: Temperatures in the low-40s with a 100 percent chance of rain and wind blowing across the field at around 15 miles per hour.
WHAT CAPPERS SAY: “The Bears missed quarterback Seth Russell in a home loss to Oklahoma on Saturday, as backup Jarrett Stidham threw a pair of INTs while throwing for 257 yards on 16-of-27 passing. It doesn’t get any easier on the road at Oklahoma State this week. The Horned Frogs appear to be falling apart, with injuries to their two best players (Trevone Boykin and Josh Doctson). They have a tough game this week at Oklahoma.” Covers Expert Jesse Schule.
ABOUT BAYLOR (9-1 SU, 5-4 ATS, 7-3 O/U): Junior receiver Corey Coleman has been superb and leads the nation with 20 touchdown receptions while catching 66 passes for 1,306 yards. Sophomore wideout KD Cannon (39 catches for 774 yards and six touchdowns) and senior receiver Jay Lee (34 for 714 with eight scores) are also dependable targets but Briles said the Bears could be without junior running back Shock Linwood (1,240 yards, 10 touchdowns) due to knee and ankle injuries. Defensively, senior defensive end Shawn Oakman has a team-best 13 tackles for losses and junior cornerback Xavien Howard has a team-leading four interceptions.
ABOUT TCU (9-2 SU 5-6 ATS, 5-6 O/U): Kohlhausen was 5-of-11 for 122 yards and two touchdowns in relief against Oklahoma and is a better option than redshirt freshman Foster Sawyer, who was 8-of-18 for 107 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions before being pulled from his first career start. Senior running back Aaron Green has posted back-to-back 100-yard outings and has 1,099 yards to become the first Horned Frogs’ back to top 1,000 rushing yards since Ed Wesley (1,078) in 2010. Junior defensive end Josh Carraway has a team-best seven sacks and senior strong safety Derrick Kindred leads TCU in both tackles (74) and interceptions (two).
* Over is 4-0 in the last four meetings.
* Bears are 1-7 ATS in their last eight meetings.
* Underdog is 4-0 ATS in their last four meetings.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Sixty-one percent of Coves users are backing the Baylor Bears.