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 TCU Horned Frogs and the Iowa State Cyclones in our TCU vs. Iowa State preview.

Game Info

Friday, Nov. 26, 2021, 3:30 p.m. Central Time, Jack Trice Stadium; Ames, Iowa


Radio: TCU: WBAP 820-AM; Iowa State: Cyclone Radio Network.

Records: TCU: 5-6 (3-5 in Big 12); Iowa State: 6-5 (4-4 in Big 12).

Ranking: TCU: None: Iowa State: None.

Last week: TCU: def. Kansas, 31-28 (OT); Iowa State: lost to Oklahoma, 28-21


Key Players


QBs Max Duggan and Chandler Morris: Duggan returned to the starting lineup against Kansas, and it was just in time. Morris was dealing with an injury and ended up missing the game. Duggan had some rust, as he threw for 166 yards on just 10-of-16 passing and rushed for another 74 yards. He was one of three players with at least 10 carries for the Horned Frogs, as they entered the game missing other key players like running back Zach Evans. Will Duggan keep the starting job against Iowa State, or will interim head coach Jerry Kill hand the ball back to Morris, if he’s healthy? On a short week, it feels like it will probably be Duggan. But stay alert for gameday changes.

WR Derius Davis: He caught six passes for 103 yards on Saturday, as he had by far the best game of any TCU wide receiver. Davis is putting the wraps on the best season of his four-year TCU career, as he has 32 receptions, 455 yards and a touchdown entering the Iowa State game. The catches and yardage are career highs. He’s one short of his career high in touchdowns. He’ll get one more shot to tie it, or better it, against the Cyclones.   

LB Dee Winters: The third-year Horned Frogs has been steady and consistent all season, one of the best pieces of the team regardless of position. He had eight tackles against Kansas, and for the season he has 74 total tackles (53 solo, 21 assists), along with two interceptions and a sack. Winters could declare for the NFL Draft after this season, or even transfer if he so wishes. The Horned Frogs certainly hope he comes back for 2022.

Iowa State

DE Will McDonald IV: McDonald must know he is getting NFL scouts interested in him, even though he’s a fourth-year junior and could return in 2022. He had half-a-sack against Oklahoma last Saturday, and it added to his total for the past two seasons. Entering the OU game, McDonald had 20 1/2 sacks in the past two seasons, the most in FBS. He is already Iowa State’s career sack leader (he added to that and now has 28) and his half-sack against the Sooners tied his single-season school record. One more sack and McDonald breaks his own record, and he’ll get two shots with the bowl game.

TE Charlie Kolar: The tight end had a huge game against Oklahoma, catching 12 passes for 152 yards and a touchdown in the loss. For the season, Kolar has 53 catches for 658 yards and five touchdowns. He’s had a great season in Ames, even as the Cyclones haven’t met everyone’s expectations for what was hoped for this season.

RB Breece Hall: Oklahoma bottled him up, giving up just 58 yards to one of the best backs in the nation. But Hall has had a fine season, rushing for 1,230 yards and 17 touchdowns. Hall can declare for the NFL Draft after the season, and it would be hard to blame him after back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. Hall managed to keep his impressive touchdown streak intact, as he scored a rushing touchdown for the 23rd straight game on Saturday. Whatever Hall does after the season, he will be one of the best backs in Iowa State history.


Key Storylines


The Horned Frogs beat Kansas in overtime on Senior Day at Amon G. Carter Stadium. During the ceremony, former head coach Gary Patterson showed up, because TCU just can’t seem to get rid of the guy. But he got the valedictory that he deserved for his long career with the Frogs. Right now, TCU is trying to get to a bowl game. In order to do it they will have to beat Iowa State on the road. The Horned Frogs will be doing it on a short week and without any idea if running back Zach Evans will be healthy. The Horned Frogs would love the extra practices that come with a bowl game. But, after the game a decision is expected on Patterson’s successor and that will dominate the news cycle, bowl berth or not.

Iowa State

Cyclones head coach Matt Campbell may want to talk around it, but Iowa State failed to meet expectations this season. That’s the truth for anyone that pays attention to college football. The Cyclones were loaded with talent, experience and a path to do something the Cyclones had never done before. It just never came together. That happens sometimes. It happened to Clemson this season, too. But Clemson has a couple of national championships to keep it warm at night. The Cyclones don’t even have a Big 12 Championship game berth. There is no question Campbell has built a great culture in Ames. There is also no question they whiffed on their best chance to be a national championship contender. Campbell and his staff will use those bowl game practices to set up Iowa State for next season.

Fun Fact

The Cyclones and Horned Frogs have played each other just four times, with the Horned Frogs up 8-4 in the series. The Cyclones have won the last two games.

Prediction: Iowa State 31, TCU 24. TCU has been gutty the last month in dealing with all of the injuries and the coaching change. But one less day to prepare for a road game that will likely be played in the teeth of temperatures in the 40s will probably be too much for TCU.   

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.

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