Who Holds The Advantage: TCU vs. Kansas

HornedFrogBlitz.com breaks down the matchups with the Horned Frogs and Jayhawks in the first Big 12 game of the 2012 season.

It's time to take a look at this week'smatch-ups, where we break down which team has an advantage on both sides of the running game, the passing game and in the trenches.

Kansas is allowing 221.5 yards per game through the air, including 236 last week in their loss to Rice. The secondary is filled with upperclassmen and is led by senior free safety Bradley McDougald, who has 20 consecutive starts under his belt. He leads the team with 2 interceptions on the year and has recorded 14 tackles. Corners Tyler Patmon and Greg Brown have 18 career starts apiece and Brown is second on the team with 15 tackles. Brown also recorded an interception against Rice last week. Senior Lubbock Smith led the Jayhawks last week with nine tackles, including four solo stops. Simply put, it doesn't get any better than what the Frogs were able to do against Grambling as Pachall and crew completed a perfect 17-of-17 pass attempts for 280 yards. Pachall threw on target all night and his receivers did a great job catching the ball, Of course, it's not that hard when all you have to do is stick out your hands. Josh Boyce led the way as usual with 102 yards and 2 touchdowns on 4 catches. The Frogs get a boost this week with the return of Skye Dawson after serving a week suspension. Sophomore Cam White filled in nicely hauling in 2 passes for 26 yards against Grambling. The Frogs shouldn't have much trouble throwing the ball this week, although it's not likely they'll throw another perfect game.

Remember the name Huldon Tharp? TCU recruited the linebacker out of Mulvane, Kansas and he has become a leader for the Jayhawks defense. Tharp leads the Jayhawks with 16 tackles on the year, including 9 last week against Rice. The Jayhawks surrendered only 167 yards last week against Rice on the ground and Tharp was a big reason. Joining him on the linebacker corp is sophomore Ben Heeney and senior Tunde Bakare. Both linebackers aren't the biggest but both make plays. Bakare tied with Tharp last week for a team-high nine tackles while Heeny, who has only two career starts, made seven stops.

The running game looked good last week as the Frogs utilized four different backs. Waymon James led the way with 69 yards including a long of 46. Matthew Tucker added 35 yards while true freshman B.J. Catalon added a respectable 63 yards in his first college action. Don't expect Catalon to see that many touches this week as the Frogs will ride James and Tucker most of the day against a Kansas defense that has given up big running plays this season.

The defensive line is the most experienced and talented group of players on the Jayhawk defense. Led by senior Toben Opurum, a former runningback, the Jayhawks starting defensive line features four upperclassmen that have a total of 41 career starts between them. Opurum has 23 of those starts and is already off to a good start on the season with 1 sack, 3 TFL's and a forced fumble and fumble recovery. Opposite of Opurum is fellow Texas Josh Williams. Williams recorded four tackles last week against Rice and recorded 1 TFL. The interior has the least amount of experience with Jordan Tavai and Keba Agostinho. Tavai has recorded one tackle on the year.

Remember when Blaize Foltz told the media at the Big 12 media days that he was looking forward to this game? Well, watch for the right side to get plenty of push on Saturday. The Frogs line wasn't tested much last week as they utilized ten different offensive linemen that paved the way for 531 yards of total offense. Not to mention, they didn't allow a quarterback sack, they didn't even allow a hurry. Aviante Collins and Halapoulivaati Vaitai did well in their first college games and received plenty of reps against Grambling. Look for Tayo Fabuluje to receive most of the reps against Kansas at left tackle however.
The arrival of Dayne Crist hasn't brought as much success in the Jayhawks passing game as hoped as he's completing only 50% of his passes for 313 yards and 2 scores. Last week against Rice, Crist completed 16-of-28 passes for 144 yards. Crist's go-to target through two games is senior slot receiver Daymond Patterson, who has 11 catches for 99 yards. Last week against Rice, Patterson hauled in 7 passes for 55 yards. At 5-foot-8, 180-pounds, Patterson is very elusive. D.J. Beshears is second on the team with 7 catches for only 38 yards. Senior Kyle Pick is an outside threat and his 103 yards and 14.7 yards per reception leads the team. Sophomore Trent Smiley and senior Mike Ragone give the Jayhawks options at tight end and fullback. The TCU secondary wasn't tested at all last week with Grambling completing only five passes for 26 yards. Most of the time when Grambling decided to throw, the pass rush was so intense that they rarely made good throws. Kansas' offensive line is a big step up in competition this week but the Frogs should still have the advantage when it comes to covering the Jayhawk receivers, mainly because of the ineffectiveness of Crist through two games. Crazier things have happened (remember SMU in 2011) but the Frogs should have the advantage in this department.
When it comes to the Jayhawks' strengths, the running game is the brightest spot on the team. Led by sophomore Tony Pierson, the Jayhawks are averaging 229 yards per game on the ground. Pierson, at 5-10, 170-pounds, has rushed 244 yards on the year and is averaging 6.3 yards per carry. Last week against Rice he carried the ball 19 times for 120 yards. While Pierson is the lightning for the running game, 5-foot-11, 210-pound Taylor Cox is the thunder. Cox has carried 31 times for 200 yards and is averaging a staggering 6.5 yards per carry. This was a tough edge to give to TCU, but after watching the Frogs move against the run on Grambling, they're playing well. Let's not forget, Patterson and Shannon have been working on Kansas since the first day of fall camp. Kenny Cain, Paul Dawson and Joel Hasley combined for 16 stops against Grambling and recorded a pass breakup. While Kansas' running game is certainly better than Grambling, the edge goes to TCU here until proven otherwise.
The Jayhawks' offensive line is opening plenty of running lanes through the first two games of the season, but overall the group isn't extremely experienced. Of course, the exception is senior left tackle Tanner Hawkinson, who has started 38 career games. Beside Hawkinson is fellow senior Duane Zlatnik, who has started 22 career games. While the left side of the line has plenty of experience, Gavin Howard (RT), Aslam Sterling (RG) and Trevor Marrongelli (C) only have six career starts between them. Kansas' offensive line averages 313 pounds up front.
TCU's line last week opened up some eyes. Sure, it was against a lesser opponent, but like Pachall's performance throwing the ball, I don't care if the Frogs were playing an FCS, they were unstoppable. Grambling's longest play from scrimmage was 8 yards. Devonte Fields emergence off the edge gives plenty of optimism for what's to come. His speed allowed him 1 sack, 3 TFL's and 2 QB hurries. The happiest guy on the field for Fields was Stansly Maponga, who likely won't see a lot of double teams if Fields continues to progress. Jon Lewis and Davion Pierson did a great job clogging up the middle and Chucky Hunter and David Johnson provide quality depth .
KANSAS Special Teams
TCU Special Teams
Junior Ron Doherty handles kicking duties for the Jayhawks, doubling at the team's kicker and punter. He's connected on 2-of-5 field goal attempts and is averaging 46.9 yards per punt on eight punts. He was 1-of-3 last week against Rice. Receiver Daymond Patterson handles punt return chores and is averaging 8.3 yards per return. Fellow receiver D.J. Beshears has only returned one kickoff this season. Is there any question that the Frogs have the clear advantage here. The question is, will Kansas even kick to the Frogs? Gary Patterson said earlier this week that Skye Dawson will resume his role as primary punt returner; only replacing Deante' Gray, who set a TCU record for most punt return yards last week with 160. Jaden Oberkrom did very well in his first start as a college kicker, booming kickoffs through the end zone and not allowing Grambling a better starting point than their own 25-yard line.

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