5 Keys To Victory: Kansas State

TCU travels to Kansas State on Saturday with hopes of winning their fifth game. It won't be easy against the Wildcats; winners of three straight games. What are the keys for TCU? We take a look.

1. CONTINUE GOOD PLAY ON DEFENSE; DON'T SURRENDER BIG PLAY

Kansas State is playing as good as anyone in the Big 12 the last three weeks; on both sides of the ball. On offense, the Wildcats have utilized a two-quarterback system with Jake Waters and Daniel Sams and it's worked. Although neither has put up big numbers passing the ball, they're equally capable of moving the offense with their arm or legs. Sams is actually seventh in the Big 12 running the football, averaging 75 yards per game with 10 touchdowns. Last week against Texas Tech the duo combined for four rushing touchdowns. Senior running back John Hubert ranks fifth in the Big 12 averaging 78 yards per game and is coming off a big 157-yard performance against Tech, including a 63-yard touchdown. While the Wildcats seem to do more damage running the ball, they still have threats at receiver that present a vertical threat; Tyler Lockett and Tramaine Thompson. Earlier this season Lockett hauled in 13 catches for 237 yards against Texas. The TCU secondary needs to be on high alert; especially the safeties. It will also be a tough test for TCU's No.1 ranked run defense.

2. KEEP FEEDING Brandon Carter; AND DO IT EARLY

Last week against Iowa State, Carter finally had the game TCU fans have waited to see the entire year from the junior receiver. Carter caught 6 passes for 93 yards, including two spectacular catches on deep throws. Against a KSU defense that ranks 6th in pass defense giving up 232 yards per game, TCU needs to keep feeding Carter the ball. Carter needs the ball in his hands; no matter what his issues are off the field, when he's on it he gives the Frogs their most electrifying player on offense. As Carter goes, as does the TCU offense.

3. USE A BALANCED ATTACK ON OFFENSE WITHOUT CRITICAL TURNOVERS

Sounds simple enough right? Anytime you can have a balanced offense at the end of the day, it usually means your offense is clicking and scoring points. While it necessarily hasn't shown with the number of points, the TCU offense has shown somewhat of a spark the last two weeks moving the football. But, turnovers and penalties have killed drives. TCU can't afford to turn the ball over in their own red zone or Kansas State's on Saturday. They've made both of those mistakes against West Virginia and Iowa State in recent weeks. The Frogs are next to last in the Big 12 at giving away the ball with 24 turnovers on the year. Kansas State is fourth in the Big 12 in run defense, surrendering 141 yards per game, however, you have to go all the way back to their game against Texas to find a game where they've given up more than 120 yards in one game. In five games since that loss to Texas, they are only allowing 105 yards on the ground. That includes a 114-yard effort against Baylor, the Big 12's top ranked rushing unit. The Frogs haven't had success running the football on a consistent basis this season, but as last week proved in their come from behind win, you can't totally abandon the run.

It could be another West Virginia type game for Casey Pachall with the Wildcats strong run defense. While it's not likely Pachall will air it out 58 times, we could see a number not too distant from that. With that, the offensive line will have their hands full protecting Pachall with Ryan Mueller and his conference leading 10.5 sacks coming after him.

4. FORCE TURNOVERS

This is something TCU has been solid at the whole year. They will need to force them against the Wildcats, who are -3 in the turnover category. The Wildcats have the third-highest fumbles in the Big 12, losing the pigskin nine times this season. They've also thrown nine interceptions with Waters and Sams. TCU is tied for the lead in the Big 12 with 25 takeaways, including a league leading 17 interceptions. With a pass rush defense that also leads the league in team sacks, TCU will have to force Waters and Sams into bad decisions early on.

5. GET MOMENTUM EARLY ON...AND KEEP IT

It sounds like a broken record, but TCU needs to start off with a bang. They have started well the last two games against West Virginia and Iowa State but they have failed to sustain the momentum. Against West Virginia, an improved team, it cost them a win. Luckily, Iowa State has worse problems than TCU. Against Kansas State, if the Frogs are able to find momentum, they need to hold on to it. They're playing a Bill Snyder coached team and without a doubt his players will give everything they have until the clock reads 0:00. The Frogs have to "finish" this game if they are able to get the lead.

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