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3 keys for Houston Cougars to pull off upset over TCU in Big 12 opener

Houston must start fast and find a way to stop the run if they want to pull off an upset over TCU in their first Big 12 conference matchup.

HOUSTON — The Houston Cougars will make their Big 12 football debut when they host longtime rival TCU at TDECU Stadium on Saturday at 8:00 PM ET.

It's a crucial, must win game for both sides as the Coogs look to prove their worth in the Big 12 after coming over from the American Athletic Conference, while also rebounding from a tough 2OT loss to crosstown rival Rice last week.

Meanwhile TCU's season began with a blowout loss to Deion Sanders and Colorado, a rather bad start for Sonny Dykes' team after going to the national championship last season.

Locked on Coogs host Parker Ainsworth believes Houston can secure what would be a big time victory on Saturday, and discussed three keys to a Coogs victory on a recent episode of the podcast.

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Ainsworth's three keys to victory are listed below. For more, check out the latest episode wherever you get your podcasts.

1. Start Fast

"Against Colorado, TCU ran 80 plays on offense," Ainsworth said. "For reference, Houston ran 78 total plays in the 2OT loss to Rice. They are playing a much faster tempo, it's a Sonny Dykes special, [Houston] has to be ready for that."

2. Take advantage of TCU's 3-3-5 defense

"What we've seen so far makes me think there are big, big windows open in the passing game," Ainsworth said. "When Houston got it rolling and scored 35 unanswered points [against Rice] they did a lot of quarterback runs and short yardage stuff...In a 3-3-5 you leave some passing windows so, so open, which Colorado exploited with Sheduer Sanders' mobility."

3. Stop the Run

"Houston's got to really pinch those gaps with those six [up front] guys at the point of attack," Ainsworth said, "[TCU] doesn't necessarily do a ton of outside stuff, but they do a bunch of power runs that hit those gaps in the middle."

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