By Wendell Barnhouse
Big 12 Digital Correspondent
With October fading into what figures to be a November to remember, TCU coach Gary Patterson knows exactly what's in store for his team.
"The games we're getting ready to play are going to speak volumes for us, for our resume," he said. "Right now, we're just going to worry about West Virginia, but I think the games coming up will tell the tale of whether we can get into the playoff, or we can win the conference."
Both teams are coming off 12-day layoffs that have helped heal some, but not all of their injuries. The third-ranked Frogs (7-0, 4-0) will take on the Mountaineers (3-3, 0-3) at Amon Carter Stadium Thursday night.
West Virginia's October schedule was one of the most challenging in college football. After a 3-0 start, the Mountaineers have lost to 14th-ranked Oklahoma, 12th-ranked Oklahoma State and second-ranked Baylor.
"They're a lot better football team than 3-3. They've played all three of those teams that have only one loss between them," said Patterson, whose team has upcoming games with that threesome.
TCU has won road games at Minnesota, Texas Tech, Kansas State and Iowa State. During Patterson's tenure, the Frogs have won 83.5 percent of their home games.
"We know how it is, going on the road, having to play in front of other crowds," receiver Desmon White said. "So just to have it here finally is going to be good. It's going to help us a lot."
Thursday's game will be a homecoming for West Virginia junior quarterback Skyler Howard. He went to Fort Worth Brewer High School, which is about 15 minutes from the TCU campus.
"It's always exciting to play a big game like this," Howard said. "As far as going back home, it's just another game. It's a business trip. Last week, we stayed in Fort Worth, and I was able to see my family. It was kind of the same thing, but it's not going to be a big deal. We're playing ball."
Howard and the Mountaineers' offense has struggled with turnovers during Big 12 games and the offensive line has allowed 18 sacks.
"We have to do a good job of protecting Skyler," West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said. "We didn't do a great job with that last year."
West Virginia at TCU
Need to know: 7:30 p.m. EST, 6:30 p.m. CST, Amon Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, FS1.
Records: West Virginia 3-3, 0-3; TCU 7-0, 4-0.
Scouting West Virginia: The Mountaineers, much like TCU, are dealing with injuries to their defensive unit – in particular, the secondary. West Virginia, though, is one of the top teams in the country when it comes to stopping opponents on third down. The offense has struggled with turnovers, giving it away nine times over the last two games.
Scouting TCU: The third-ranked Frogs return to action after a 12-day break that hopefully allowed some of their players to get healthy. With the defense dealing with injuries and inexperience, the offense has helped carry the load. Quarterback Trevone Boykin leads an attack that is second in FBS in scoring and total offense.
This and that: TCU and West Virginia have met three times in Big 12 play and the margins of victory have been one, three and one. The visiting team has won all three games. … TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin is second nationally in total offense, averaging 425 yards per game. … The Mountaineers have had at least 350 total yards in 27 consecutive games, the nation's longest such streak.