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TCU vs. Kansas: Preview and Prediction

NCAA Football: Kansas at Texas Christian

Here is everything you need to know about Saturday’s showdown between the Kansas Jayhawks and the TCU Horned Frogs.

Game Info

11 a.m. Central Time, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019, Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, Texas.

TV: Fox Sports 1 (Brian Custer, Robert Smith and Kevin Patterson)

Radio: Kansas: Jayhawk Radio Network; TCU: WBAP 820 AM, KTCU 88.7 FM, Sirius 134, XM 200.

Opening line: TCU -17

 

Key players

Kansas (2-2, 0-1 in Big 12)

QB Carter Stanley: Stanley moved into the Top 10 in all-time passing yards at Kansas after he completed 19-of-25 passes for 275 yards and three touchdowns against West Virginia last weekend. It marked his third-most passing yards in any game of his career. Stanley hasn’t looked flashy, but he’s been getting the job done.

WR Andrew Parchment. In his first four games as a Jayhawk, junior wide receiver Andrew Parchment has hauled in 24 receptions for 367 yards and four touchdowns, including two scores in each of the last two games. He’s the reigning Big 12 Newcomer of the Week. He’s the receiver the Horned Frogs defense has to account for on Saturday.

LB Dru Prox. The junior has been the most productive defenders for the Jayhawks through four games, doing a bit of everything. He has 39 tackles (30 of them unassisted), two sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss, a pass break-up and a forced fumble. TCU’s offensive line is going to have to make sure that they can put a body on him at every opportunity. 

LB Azur Kamara. With 2.5 sacks and 3 tackles for loss, he’s been the player who has gotten into the backfield the most through four games for Kansas. At 6-foot-4, 235 pounds, he’s an absolute load no matter where he’s coming from on the field.    

TCU (2-1)

QB Max Duggan: After playing backup to Alex Delton the first two games of the season, Duggan started against SMU. The result? He threw 16-of-36 passing for 188 yards and three touchdowns. What might be bigger is that Alex Delton didn’t see the field at quarterback after starting the first two games. Does this mean the Horned Frogs will stick with Duggan? Head coach Gary Patterson may give us an indication of that this week. Duggan, a true freshman, has far more passing yards (423) so far than Delton (124). Based on the first three games, Duggan has talent to offer the Horned Frogs and it may be time to buy in. 

RB Darius Anderson. With the flux at quarterback, Anderson has been the Horned Frogs’ best weapon with 368 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns in three games. The trick is to keep him healthy because, when he is, he is among the best backs in the Big 12. So far, so good. The Horned Frogs would like to give him as much of a load as he wants.  

LB Garrett Wallow. We knew the TCU defense had the chance to be really good this year, especially if a player like Wallow would lead the charge. Well, he has. Wallow ranks No. 1 nationally in tackles for loss per game (3.0) and is No. 3 in tackles per game (14.0). He has 42 tackles with 9 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. As he goes, so does this unit. 

S Trevon Moehrig. Like Wallow, Moehrig has had a big impact on the Horned Frogs this year. The free safety’s two interceptions is tied for first on the team, tied for first in the Big 12 and tied for seventh nationally. The 2018 TCU Special Teams MVP is just a sophomore, so Moehrig is still growing as a player.

 

Key storylines

Kansas

Les Miles isn’t a fan of moral victories, but after Saturday’s loss to West Virginia he made a point of thanking the Jayhawks’ fan support so far this season. It’s also a measure of just how much of an impact he’s already had on the program. The Big 12 opener drew 35,816 fans, the most since Kansas hosted K-State on Oct. 27, 2017. Meanwhile, the Jayhawks have had more than, 100,000 fans come through the turnstiles in their first three home games, the first time they’ve done that since 2014. The Stanley-to-Parchment connection has been key to making the Jayhawks a little more relevant in the Big 12. Plus, even though it likely won’t last, the Jayhawk defense is holding opponents under 375 yards per game so far. It’s incremental improvement, but the foundation that Miles is building is starting to pay off. 

TCU

What to make of the Horned Frogs’ Iron Skillet loss to SMU? Well, first, SMU is pretty darned good this year. But this was a winnable game for the Horned Frogs and in the aftermath Patterson did something, well, unusual. He let his co-offensive coordinator, Sonny Cumbie, speak to the media. To be clear — I’ve covered TCU games for about six years and I can’t remember when Patterson allowed an assistant to speak after a game, win or lose (long-time observers in Fort Worth wrote that it’s NEVER happened). Some took that as Patterson allowing Cumbie to take the blame for the team’s loss, specifically the Horned Frogs’ questionable fourth-and-1 call late in the game. Balance will likely be returned this week, but Patterson and his defense has its own issues to deal with, namely giving up more than 400 yards of total offense, along with 41 points, to SMU and former Texas quarterback Shane Buechele, a player, theoretically, Patterson had enough experience with to slow down.

Prediction

TCU 34, Kansas 27

I’ll take the Horned Frogs at home. No one adjusts better defensively after a loss than Patterson. But let’s be clear — this is not a pushover Kansas team anymore. There is real momentum and real confidence in this team now and while I think the Jayhawks will lose, it will be close. TCU’s defense likely makes the difference. 

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