TCU and Iowa State are two completely opposite teams, and have a vastly different set of goals. A bowl appearance for the Cyclones would be a big step in the right direction, while TCU won’t be satisfied with anything short of a College Football Playoff appearance. The former is watching their bowl hopes quickly fade away while the latter, having to dodge some serious bullets along the way, still controls their own destiny. The last time a top three team came to Ames though, the Cyclones ruined their National Title dreams.
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 17th, 2:00 CST
LOCATION: Jack Trice Stadium (Ames, IA)
FORECAST: Partly Cloudy, 87° F
TV: ESPN2 / WatchESPN
BETTING LINE: TCU -20.5, O/U 74.5
#3 TCU Horned Frogs 6-0 (3-0)
Just when we think TCU has run out of ways to win football games they surprise us yet again. The latest team to join the Broken Hearts Club courtesy of the Frogs was Kansas State. Trevone Boykin led TCU back from a 35-17 halftime deficit on the road in Manhattan yet again salvaging their playoff hopes.
Two weeks before that Texas Tech had them on the ropes with a 52-48 lead with only seconds remaining on the clock. An overthrown pass from Boykin to Josh Doctson was falling to the turf, along with TCU’s playoff hopes. But out of nowhere Aaron Green leaped to the back of the end-zone like a super hero and scooped the tipped pass out of the air for a season-saving touchdown.
TCU’s offense is steam-rolling opposing Big 12 defenses. The only problem is their defense has regressed from last year’s ball hawking squad. While they only gave up seven points to a Texas team who has no identity, they also surrendered 52 to Tech and 45 to KSU. If a team is looking to pull off a miraculous upset (ahem, ISU), keeping the Frog’s defense on the field is the way to do it.
Keys To The Game For TCU
No Big Cyclone Plays – When facing an upset-minded team, it’s important for the favorite to limit the big plays. Punt returns, completed deep balls and other big plays can be gasoline on an upset fire.
Here We Go Again – In other words, get up on the Cyclones early. This team is most-likely sore from the thrashing the Red Raiders gave them last week and, once the smell of another blowout is in the air, they’ll probably fold. They were embarrassingly bad on defense against Tech and a couple of early scores will empty the stands in Jack Trice Stadium faster than a funnel cloud emerging overhead.
Take Care Of Business – TCU made a mistake lost of dominant teams make, and that’s underestimating their opponent. Kansas State almost made them pay dearly for it. Granted Iowa State is not Kansas State, but if the Frogs didn’t learn the free lesson K-State gave them, then bad things can still happen. Especially when you have a defense giving up a lot of points.
Iowa State Cyclones 2-3 (1-1)
There’s just no nice way to say it. The Cyclones look to be on a collision course with eminent disaster. Before conference play started, ISU showed signs of post-season life after looking solid in their opening win against UNI. After that they played Iowa well then lost by only seven to, what would turn out to be, a legit Toledo squad.
As scheduling luck would have it, the ‘Clones got to open their conference slate against a tattered Kansas team who they would demolish. The legitimacy measuring stick for ISU was last week’s clash with the Red Raiders. Tech was coming off of a demoralizing, mistake-riddled loss to Baylor and it was a perfect chance for State to make some bowl game noise.
Unfortunately for Cyclone fans they failed miserably giving up an astounding 66 points to the Red Raiders along with a Tech record 776 yards of total offense. Now, as hot-seat talk is starting to swirl over Paul Rhodes’ head, they get to take on TCU and Baylor in back-to-back games. Their bowl hopes are nothing more than a flickering candle at this point.
Keys To The Game For Iowa State
Empty That Playbook – Given that another win for the 2015 season is a long shot, the Cyclones should empty their entire arsenal against the number three ranked Frogs. There should be plenty of trick plays, fakes and razzle-dazzle on Saturday to try to give the offense any kind of spark it can find. I say leave it all out there.
There’s No “D” In Intimidation – Wait, what? Okay, there is, but just go with me here. TCU has given up at least 37 points in three out of their last four games. Iowa State should be able to score on this defense. In other words, they should be in attack mode and should not be intimidated by the ranking the Frogs bring with them.
Contain Boykin – Well, as much as possible. Let’s face facts here, Boykin is going to get his yards. But he has proven to be more mistake-prone through the air this year than he has on the ground. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great passer but he can do a lot more damage with his legs in my opinion. Nix any fancy blitz packages, maintain gap discipline and make him throw it because when he breaks contain it’s all over.
Inside The Numbers
|3rd Down Con||53.6%||43.9%|
|Opp 3rd Down Con||34.0%||51.6%|
|Sacks Given Up||0.7||3.2|
|Redzone Scoring %||81.2%||72.7%|
|Field Goal %||70.1%||58.3%|
Do upsets happen? You bet. A big play here, and a turnover there, mixed with a couple of poorly timed mistakes, can give an underdog all the ingredients they need to make a big bowl of upset stew. Will it happen in Ames on Saturday? Nope. Sorry, ‘Clones, but it’s a matter of firepower.
Even with the gashes offenses have made this year against the TCU defense, Sam Richardson and the ISU offense just won’t be able to put up the kid of points required to achieve their near-impossible goal of upsetting TCU. Boykin and his surrounding cast of speedy offensive minions can do too much damage in far too many ways for State to be able to keep up.
That said, TCU is favored by 20.5 not 40. This means Vegas is expecting the Cyclones to put up an offensive fight. At least for a while. What ‘Clone Nation needs is Sam Richardson to have the game of his life and for some bounces, many bounces, to go their way. However when all is said and done, I predict the Frogs to comfortably cover the spread.