The TCU Horned Frogs had high hopes for their second year in the Big 12 and were expecting to turn some heads with a much-improved offensive attack. One of the keys to that turnaround was supposed to be wide receiver Brandon Carter emerging as a legitimate No. 1 in the passing game. After six games, however, Carter’s “breakout campaign” in 2013 has been a major disappointment.
Last season, Carter positioned himself as a strong No. 2 in the TCU passing game behind Josh Boyce and caught 36 passes for 590 yards with six touchdowns. On average, he hauled in three passes per game which made him the clear candidate to step up as the No. 1 guy in 2013 with Boyce gone for the NFL. Instead, he’s looked completely average this season, catching just 14 passes for 170 yards with no touchdowns and an average of just 2.3 catches per game.
Part of the problem has been a breakdown of the entire offense, including under center. Casey Pachall was supposed to be back and lead the offense with more deep passes and big plays. After his season-ending injury, however, the offense is back in the hands of Trevone Boykin who finds himself as Pachall’s stand-in for the second straight season. His play has been inconsistent from week to week and the rest of the offense seems to follow suit.
With half of the season gone, TCU ranks No. 9 in the Big 12 in passing, No. 8 in rushing and No. 8 in scoring. Their offensive struggles have hurt the team in the early stretch of their conference schedule as they sit on the precarious position of getting knocked out of the conference title race completely with another loss (and a matchup against the No. 21 Oklahoma State Cowboys this weekend). They have nothing but questions on the offensive side of the ball and no time to find any answers.
Carter was supposed to be a big-play threat on the outside of the offense that would open things up for the Horned Frogs this season. Instead, he’s made little impact on games in the first half and watched as the entire offense spins its wheels. If he can get on track and capture that spark that made him so successful in 2012, TCU has a shot at making a late run for the conference title. Without him, however, the Frogs just don’t have enough firepower to hang with the Big 12 this season.