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TCU IS LEADING the country in a pair of categories that might not seem to go together. The 15th-ranked Horned Frogs have played a NCAA-high 15 true freshmen in a 3-0 start.
Before last year, Coach Gary Patterson had never played more than three true freshmen in a season.
"It's been one of the more fun years since I've been coaching, but it's also been a tear-your-hair-out year," said Patterson, who is in his 12th season at the school. "You don't know quite what to expect, so it's been challenging.
"It's the difference in being a parent and dealing with a 17-year-old and a 23-year old. The biggest thing is handling the grind for the 18-year-old kids. Last week they had two or three tests and they didn't catch up on the game plan until Thursday or Friday with everything else going down with the week."
Despite their youth, the Horned Frogs also lead the rest of college football with an 11-game winning streak.
"It's a long season so I think you have to have other things to talk about other than how the team is playing," Patterson said. "The coach's job is to get the team to play well. He doesn't have any control over the other team, so it's about how to motivate them on a week-to-week basis and get them ready to play."
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THE BIG 12 leads the six major conferences in a number of critical statistical categories: yards per game (501.53), points per game (41.5), yards per play (6.8), offensive plays per game (74), pass completions per game (23.7), fewest punts per game (3.2) and remarkably, with the league's reputation for passing offenses, fewest turnovers per game (1.47).
"All we have to do it tell our guys who played last year the eight games we won, we won the turnover ratio. The five games we lost, we lost the turnover ratio," Texas Coach Mack Brown said. "We went back over the 15 years we've been here and I think when we won the turnover ratio we were, like, 75-0.
"It's an amazing stat and one we all talk about. A lot of guys have to realize that probably other than scoring and keeping people from scoring, that's the one that leads to winning games and if you look it up that's the one that leads to losing to lesser teams."
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WVU RECEIVER Tavon Austin, who had 13 receptions Saturday against Maryland to match teammate Stedman Bailey's one-week-old school record, was named the Big 12's offensive player of the week Monday. He had 179 yards and three touchdowns receiving.
Smith and linebacker Isaiah Bruce were named the offensive and defensive players of the week after the opening weekend.
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.