In a battle of old school vs. new school coaching, the #2 ranked Horned Frogs travel to Manhattan, Kansas to take on Bill Snyder’s Kansas State Wildcats (3-1). The Frogs are coming off a dominant 50-7 win against the Texas Longhorns which showed substantial growth among the young players on the TCU defense. Kansas State started the season strong with 2 straight convincing wins and only giving up three points in a shutout win against South Dakota and a 30-3 win over UT-San Antonio. Since those two games, the defense has been shaky by giving up 33 points to Louisiana Tech in a 39-33 triple overtime victory and 36 points to Oklahoma State in their loss last week.
Joe Huebner will take the snaps for the Kansas State offense that is averaging 34 points and 366 yards per game. His offensive line has done a solid job protecting the pocket so far this season, but they have not faced as dominant a defensive line to the extent of what is in the stable for the Horned Frogs with Mike Tuaua leading the charge. If Huebner can get the same protection he has gotten this season, he could have another decent game. However, that is a pretty big if. This young Frog defense seems to have things figured out after their domination of Jerrod Heard and the Longhorns. I look for solid coverage across the board against the Wildcat receivers which will force Huebner, primarily a pocket passer, into some uncomfortable situations. The running game for Kansas State is led by Justin Silmon. The RS-Freshman is only averaging 67 yards per game with 2 scores. If the running game cannot be established, which more than likely will not against TCU’s LBs and D-Line, the Wildcats will become one dimensional and very predictable. If they are predictable, it will make it easy on this young secondary for TCU.
This defense has had trouble with coverage their last two games. Mason Rudolph, for Oklahoma State, threw all over the Wildcat secondary to the tune of 437 yards and 3 TDs in Kansas State’s loss last week. Against Louisiana Tech, Jeff Driskell threw for 317 yards and one TD before coming up just short in triple overtime against the Wildcats. While Kansas State needs to establish the run in order to be successful this week, Trevone Boykin needs to do the opposite by establishing, early and often, the deep threat of Josh Doctson while mixing it up with Kavontae Turpin. Establishing the aerial threat will open up Aaron Green and the run game in a big way.
Despite this game being in the ‘Little Apple’, I do not expect an upset. The Wildcats can definitely make this game interesting with how good of a coach Bill Snyder is. But, I think TCU pulls away. Kansas State is in a rebuilding year. Their defense will not be able to handle the firepower at TCU’s disposal. The Frog defense will force Kansas State to pass an uncomfortable amount in this game. That mixed with good coverage by TCU will give time for Tuaua and company to rattle Huebner.
Prediction: TCU 48, Kansas State 10