The Jayhawks and the Horned Frogs are each looking to bounce back from losses last week. However, TCU is also looking to avenge a loss from last year. Gary Patterson and crew left Lawrence with their heads down as Kansas got the win. This year, the game is in Fort Worth.
Since the Horned Frogs have joined the Big 12, this series has been tightly contested for the most part. All but one contest has been decided by 14 points or less. Three of the last four meetings has been decided by less than a touchdown, and two were 1-point games. However, despite several close games between these two, last year was the Jayhawk’s first win in the series since it became a conference matchup.
There is one outlier in this series though. The last time this game was played in Fort Worth the Horned Frogs made sure there was no doubt who the better team was that day. They trounced the Jayhawks 43-0. The game is back in Fort Worth this year. Can TCU make a similar statement coming off of last year’s loss? Or will Kansas extend their streak?
- When: SAT, SEP 28 at 11:00am CT
- Where: Amon G Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, TX
- Forecast: Partly Cloudy, High of 94°
- TV: FS1
- Stream: Fox Sports Go
- Betting Line: TCU -15.5, O/U 70.5
By Andy Mitts
Last week’s loss to West Virginia was both disappointing and encouraging. It was disappointing that once again turnovers by Carter Stanley directly led to a loss. However, it was encouraging to see a team that looked like it belonged on the field with another Big 12 school.
Kansas led in every major statistical category except for two. Unfortunately, those two were massive: time of possession and turnovers. The Jayhawks will have plenty of time to mull over how to correct those deficiencies. The makings of a good team are there, it’s just a matter of putting everything together.
Kansas Keys To The Game
Eliminate Turnovers – If it seems like I’m repeating myself, it’s because I am. In both of Kansas’ losses this year, big turnovers have come at inopportune times to prevent a comeback. If Carter Stanley can avoid making mistakes, this could be a big win for the Jayhawks.
Start Fast – This is very much a second half team, but only because the first quarter has been absolutely abysmal. Kansas changes their gameplan often, and it seems to take some time to settle into something that works. If they find something quickly, then the results are fantastic (see Boston College). If it takes too long, they don’t leave themselves enough time to catch back up. Start fast against TCU and that’s one less thing to worry about.
Be Flexible – Kansas has five great playmakers on offense. Any of them could take over a game on their own. Gary Patterson is known for isolating and neutralizing one or two specific threats in every game he’s coached. If they can be flexible enough early to find what TCU isn’t prepared for, they can get jump out to an early lead.
Pressure TCU Into Mistakes – I had to add an extra one here, because I hadn’t talked about the defense. TCU has well documented issues at quarterback. The Jayhawks have a phenomenal secondary that should be able to take advantage. But that will require the front seven to slow down the run game of TCU and bring pressure in the passing game. If they can force Max Duggan to make quick decisions under duress, they should get a few turnovers to help the offense out.
Last week was a competitive game, and a huge step forward for the program. I think the offense takes another step forward this week. Ultimately, the TCU defense is just too good at what they do. The Kansas defense forces a few turnovers to keep it close, but TCU pulls out a close one at home to avoid a complete meltdown in Dallas-Fort Worth.
TCU Horned Frogs
By Josh Cowan
New questions surround the Horned Frogs and their prospects for the season, as TCU comes into this week fresh off a loss to rival SMU. The game marks the first time the Horned Frogs have lost to the Mustangs since 2011. Even though the 4-0 Mustangs might have something special brewing, TCU’s 41-38 home loss highlights possible issues in Forth Worth.
One area that Gary Patterson will look to improve upon for the Frogs is in the turnover department, where TCU is coughing the ball up an average of two times per contest over their first three games. Last week, three lost fumbles helped SMU mount an early lead that they never relinquished, so ball security will no doubt be a focus for the Horned Frogs this week.
Quarterback was a question for this team headed into the 2019 campaign, but despite some inconsistency, true freshman Max Duggan looks to be the assumed starter going forward. Duggan has the ability to eventually be a good Big 12 quarterback, but problems getting in sync with his wide receivers have contributed to him only completing 50.6 percent of his passes.
The skill positions out to be the real focal point for the offense, particularly the running game, where TCU is averaging 260.7 yards per game. Running backs Darius Anderson and Sewo Olonilua carry most of the load, with Anderson looking like Doak Walker material this far through the season. Also pay attention to wideout Jalen Reagor, who is one of the most potent athletes in all of the Big 12.
Defensively, TCU will likely be taken to task for allowing SMU to score 41 points in Fort Worth, but outside of that they’ve been pretty stingy. The Horned Frogs have a talented defensive line, one that’s helped them hold opponents to 80.7 rushing yards per game. They are younger and more inexperienced in their back seven, but are holding opponents to a completion percentage of 53.8.
TCU Keys To The Game
Run, Run, Run – Establishing their dominance on the ground will be key to TCU giving themselves the best chance to win this game. The Horned Frogs need to cement their offensive identity now that they’ve decided on who their quarterback is going to be, and relying on the run game ought to be central to that. Using misdirection and getting Reagor involved in that ground attack could also potentially be big for TCU.
Contain The Running Backs – It’ll be key for the Horned Frogs to limit how much Kansas can have success with Pooka Williams and Khalil Herbert. Taking away two of Kansas’ primary weapons ought to place more burden on Stanley Carter to make plays in the passing game. TCU has athletes in their back seven who should be able to keep pace with the Kansas receivers when that happens.
Take Some Chances – Coming off last week’s loss, TCU needs to get creative in their offense and on special teams to try and make some big plays happen. They of course want to take calculated risks, but if an opportunity for some kind of trick play presents itself, the Horned Frogs should look to take advantage of that to spark some momentum.
There are a couple of advantages that Kansas has going into this game. One is that they are an improved team over what they’ve been in the past, and have shown in the non-conference that they are definitely capable of getting up on teams that come out and try to sleep walk through a football game.
The Jayhawks have also given the Horned Frogs trouble over the past few season, especially last year when they beat TCU in Lawrence. I don’t know that TCU sees this as a “revenge game” for 2018, but they definitely need to come out with their hair on fire to get the win in Amon G. Carter Stadium.
If TCU struggles with turnovers again in this contest, then things could be very ugly for them for the second week in a row. I expect, however, that the Horned Frogs will be able to bounce back from the loss and not only get the win, but cover as the 15.5-point favorite.