Big 12 Previews

TCU vs. Iowa State: Preview and Prediction

NCAA Football: Iowa State at Texas Christian

Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming Big 12 football game in our TCU vs. Iowa State preview and prediction.

Game info

Saturday, September 26th, 12:30 p.m.; Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, Texas

TV: Fox Sports 1 (Joe Davis, Mark Helfrich)

Radio: Cyclone Sports Network (John Walters); WBAP 820AM/KTCU 88.7FM; Sirius 133, XM 203

Spread: Iowa State -2.5

Fun Fact: The Horned Frogs are playing the Cyclones in a season opener for the first time since Head Coach Gary Patterson’s first game at TCU, a 31-21 victory at Iowa State to begin the 1998 campaign. Patterson was TCU’s defensive coordinator at the time.

 

Key Players

Iowa State Cyclones

TE Charlie Kolar

A lot has been made about Kolar missing out on the season opener against Louisiana Lafayette as a big reason why the Cyclones’ offense was so stale. He’s currently listed as “day-to-day”, according to Matt Campbell. But with the Big 12 schedule getting underway, I imagine Kolar is more likely to play than not. Plus, TCU’s secondary is lethal and the Cyclones will need all the weapons they can get at their disposal.

DE Will McDonald

McDonald is quietly becoming one of the most important players on this defense. He had two sacks against Louisiana and now has seven sacks in the last five games dating back to 2019, which would include Notre Dame, K-State, Kansas and Texas. That’s some darn good competition and now McDonald will try to disrupt the TCU backfield, which is very green.

TCU Horned Frogs

Who’s at QB?

Max Duggan was expected to be the starting QB when the season began, but suffered an undisclosed injury that caused him to miss the next month. However this week Gary Patterson said Duggan will be available this weekend vs. ISU. That being said, Georgia transfer Matthew Downing could end up the the starter this weekend. He played in four games for the Bulldogs in 2018, but this would his first time as a starter.

Trevor Moehrig

Moehrig was a Preseason All-American choice by several media outlets including ESPN, Walter Camp, Pro Football Focus, Phil Steele and others. He’s a stud on the back end of the defense and is a veteran with five career interceptions, four which came last season, along with 62 tackles and 11 pass break ups. Oh and he’s an athletic freak: 600 lb squat, 400 lb bench press, 420 lb clean and press.

 

Key Storylines

Iowa State Cyclones

The Cyclones need to get the offense back on track after its dismal performance against Louisiana. Yes, Charlie Kolar back will help, but it won’t be that easy taking on a stout TCU defense. Receivers missed catches last week, but QB Brock Purdy was not exactly sharp either. Breece Hall may end up playing a big role as well, as getting the running game open could open up some options down the field for the Cyclones.

TCU Horned Frogs

Where are the points coming from? That’s the same question that it’s been for TCU the last couple of seasons. It’s the offense that has kept this program mired in mediocrity the last couple of seasons. They’ve lost a ton of close games that their defense has kept them in, but they just haven’t been able to get over the hump. The quarterback is obviously a place to keep an eye on, but also the backfield includes a junior in Emari Demercado, but then a trio of freshman backs with a lot of potential in Zach Evans, TCU’s first five-star signee in program history, Daimarqua Foster, the No. 7 back from the 2019 class who is now a redshirt freshman, plus Darwin Barlow, another four-star from 2019 who was the No. 4 RB in Texas.

Prediction

Iowa State 21, TCU 17

Iowa State’s loss to Louisiana was terrible, but it was also the wake up call they needed and I imagine Matt Campbell rode these guys pretty well the past two weeks. TCU’s uncertainty at QB concerns me, but also they haven’t played a game yet in what has been the strangest of offseasons. One thing we are seeing is that teams are looking rusty in their season openers. That could work against the Horned Frogs in this one, while Iowa State has worked out some kinks and its defensive line will come up with a big play to seal the win for the Cyclones.

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