PROVO — Even though TCU has outscored BYU 101-17 in their last three meetings, Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson is expecting a tough game Friday against the Cougars.
"We consider them like a conference opponent. We've been playing them for a long time. Each of us know each other very well," Patterson said Tuesday. "It's one of those games where you'd better pick your level up because they're very physical. They're coming to play, if you read everything they've said in the paper. ... It's like anytime that TCU and BYU have gotten together. We've always taken them very seriously because of the way they play and how the do things. Coach (Bronco) Mendenhall has won a lot of football games over his years. I don't see this being any different than any year as far as being a very physical ball game."
Patterson said he was impressed with BYU's defense in last year's 31-3 win in Fort Worth.
"It was one of the games where Bronco had just taken over the defense and to be honest with you, it was one of the more physical games we played last year. They hit us in the mouth. We have to get ready for the ball game."
Asked about the biggest challenge that BYU presents his team, Patterson said, "All across the board. They're playing very well on defense."
He explained that the Cougars have beaten a Southeastern Conference team, Ole Miss, and lost at Texas by one point.
"You look at the scores of what they've done, they've only had one game, because of turnovers, that got out of hand," Patterson said, referring to the loss against Utah. "Outside of that, they're on a five-game winning streak and every week they're gotten better."
BYU AND THE BIG 12: On Tuesday, there were reports that West Virginia will move from the Big East to the Big 12 Conference.
For weeks, the Cougars have been considered a leading candidate to join the Big 12, but that hasn't happened.
Mendenhall said after Tuesday's practice that he wasn't aware of the news about West Virginia.
"But still, nothing changes for me. I just keep coaching the team and hopefully produce a product that warrants the attention, the respect and the exposure we deserve. We're looking forward to a strong finish."
INJURY UPDATE: Defensive lineman Romney Fuga and Hebron Fangupo were cleared to play last week against Idaho State, but the coaches opted to hold them out of action. Head trainer Kevin Morris said both players are ready to play against TCU.
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