Midseason report: TCU

Nobody in the Big 12 has played a tougher schedule or dealt with more crushing injuries than TCU. But the bottom line is, the Horned Frogs are 3-3 overall, and likely one loss away from falling out of the Big 12 race altogether.

Even without All-American defensive end Devonte Fields, who is out for the year with a foot injury, the Frogs haven’t endured a drop-off defensively. Led by cornerback Jason Verrett and safety Sam Carter, TCU covers the pass as well as any team in the conference.

The offense, however, can’t score.

Going into the season, the Horned Frogs had hoped the return of quarterback Casey Pachall, who sat out most of last season, would ignite an offense that struggled in 2012. But after getting replaced by Trevone Boykin in the opener against LSU, Pachall suffered a broken forearm in Week 2.

Since taking over full time for the second straight season, Boykin has been wildly inconsistent, and is 10th in the league among qualified quarterbacks in Adjusted QBR (46.7). The receivers haven’t been much help, either. Brandon Carter has failed to live up to the role of No. 1 receiver and has only 14 receptions and no touchdowns.

As a result, the Frogs have been shut out in the first half in two of their three conference games. And TCU is ninth in the league in passing and eighth in rushing.

Pachall could return from his injury by the end of the month, but by then it might be too little too late. If the Frogs don’t knock off Oklahoma State and Texas over the next two weeks, they will effectively be removed from the Big 12 race.

Offensive MVP: It’s not easy finding an offensive MVP for TCU. But running back B.J. Catalon has been the Frogs’ steadiest performer. He leads the offense with 313 rushing yards, an average of 5.5 yards per carry and five touchdowns. Catalon also returned a kick for a touchdown against LSU.

Defensive MVP: One of the bright spots for TCU has been Verrett, who is a strong candidate for Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. Even though opposing quarterbacks try to avoid throwing his way, Verrett leads the Big 12 in passes defended. He’s also been a sure tackler against the run.