PROVO — Since Riley Nelson took over as BYU's quarterback, the Cougar offense has improved dramatically.
TCU coach Gary Patterson has taken notice, of course.
"Obviously, they're scoring more points. He's another running back back there," he said. "You've got to defend the quarterback. He's harder to sack, he moves around and does things. He throws a catchable ball. He's added a spark and their kids believe in him. Chemistry is a big thing and for whatever reason right now, that chemistry is working well for them."
In a little more than 13 quarters, Nelson has thrown for 11 touchdowns and the Cougars have passed for more than 200 yards and rushed for more than 200 yards in each of their last four games.
"The quarterback really runs around and keeps plays alive," Patterson said.
Nelson said his team will need to run the ball effectively Friday against TCU.
"It's very important," he said. "You have to establish the run and put yourself in manageable third downs, and it opens things up downfield in the pass game."
ANOTHER SHOWDOWN: When BYU announced it was leaving the Mountain West Conference to go independent, it appeared its rivalry with TCU would come to an end.
Then last winter, with the help of ESPN, the Cougars and Frogs set up a non-conference game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.
Patterson isn't thrilled about the timing of this contest, however.
"I'd rather not play a non-conference game in the middle of the season," he said. "This was the only way that BYU and ourselves could work it out. In the middle of a conference race, you'd rather not do that when it doesn't have anything to do with a conference title. That's just how it worked out due to some circumstances."
Friday could mark the last meeting between BYU and TCU for a long time. For now, the Cougars and Frogs aren't scheduled to play again, said Cougar coach Bronco Mendenhall.
BOUNCING BACK: BYU safety Travis Uale said his team has improved dramatically since falling to Utah, 54-10, on Sept. 17.
"We've made great strides since then. We've been able to put that game behind us and been able to become the team that we'd like to, and be dominant on defense and offense."
EXTRA POINTS: The all-time series between BYU and TCU is tied 5-5, with the Frogs having won three in a row … The Cougars have won five consecutive games. They haven't won six in a row or more since posting a 13-game winning streak in 2007-08, which marked the third-longest winning streak in school history … TCU ended that streak with a 32-7 win in 2008.
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