PROVO The Cougars look to break the cycle of the road football team winning as they resume their series with TCU tonight.
BYU (6-2, 4-0) plays host to TCU (5-4, 2-3) tonight at 7, before what is projected to be a near-sellout crowd at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
"We have three games left, and we have to win one to become bowl eligible," said TCU coach Gary Patterson.
His counterpart, Bronco Mendenhall, welcomes another home game as the Cougars hope to continue a league-record win streak.
"We anticipate, and are hopeful, for another full stadium," Mendenhall said. "We think it adds a tremendous advantage to our team."
The last time TCU came to Provo, the outcome was both exciting and controversial, with the Frogs scoring the winning touchdown that some argued came after a goal-line fumble.
Back in 2005, TCU forged an 18-point comeback in a 51-50 win over the Cougars. BYU returned the favor with a 31-17 win in Fort Worth last year, a springboard to Mendenhall's first MWC title and an 11-2 season.
"We look forward to preparing as hard as we can, as diligently as we can, improving our football team as much as we can and look forward to playing our best," said Mendenhall.
Tonight's game is a meeting of
the preseason MWC favorite Horned Frogs and the predicted runner-up Cougars. As the season has progressed, BYU has overtaken TCU as the targeted conference leader, and the Frogs have dropped to sixth place in the standings.
Still, because TCU blanked New Mexico 37-0 last week, today's contest is being viewed as a league-championship-type contest even if the Cougars have a two-game lead on the rest of the field.
BYU's objective tonight is holding home court, a place the Cougars have a 10-game win streak. But TCU and BYU have traded wins on the road the past two seasons.
In the Frogs, the Cougars will face a fast proactive defense. In the Cougars, TCU will face the only program in the league that has scored more than 28 points on its defense, and BYU has done it twice in consecutive meetings with 50 and 31 points.
BYU sophomore quarterback Max Hall will surely be under the gun to perform because TCU simply doesn't allow many rushers to gain yards on the ground.
"They have one of the better defenses we face," said Hall, who compared TCU to UCLA. "They play a different kind of defense, a match defense, and they like to fly around a lot. They will blitz me a lot."
Patterson, whose team had trouble with BYU's John Beck the last two outings, recognizes Hall is capable of putting up big plays."Max Hall is doing a lot of good things," said Patterson. " It's not about how many yards you throw for but how many games you win. That offense will put up numbers. (BYU offensive coordinator) Robert Anae gives the offense that physical demeanor because he's an offensive line coach by trade."
On the air
TCU (5-4, 2-3) at BYU (6-2, 4-0)
Today, 7 p.m., LaVell Edwards StadiumRadio: 1160AM, 102.7FM, TV: Versus