Saturday, October 7; 7:00 p.m. CT; Jack Trice Stadium; Ames, IA
Radio: Cyclone Radio Network (John Walters, Eric Heft, Ryan Harklau); Horned Frogs Sports Network (Brian Estridge, Landry Burdine, Chris Blake)
Records: Iowa State 2-3 (1-1 Big 12); TCU 3-2 (1-1 Big 12)
Series History: TCU leads, 9-5
Last Meeting: TCU 62, Iowa State 14
Line: TCU (-6.5)
Fun Fact: Although TCU leads the all-time series 9-5, Matt Campbell and Iowa State have turned the tides a bit in recent years going 4-2 over the last six games.
TCU HORNED FROGS
RB EMANI BAILEY
TCU has had some offensive lapses at times this season but one player that has avoided that is junior running back Emani Bailey. Bailey is currently second in the Big 12 Conference with 538 rushing yards and is averaging an impressive 5.4 yards per carry. Iowa State’s defense has been solid against the run this season but if Chandler Morris and the offense look to get things going through the air, giving Bailey the football on the ground should open up some throwing lanes for the Horned Frogs down the field.
DB JOSH NEWTON
Newton entered the 2023 season as one of the top cornerbacks in the country and one of the premier defensive playmakers in the Big 12 Conference. Newton has played himself into the conversation of being a top draft pick position in next year’s NFL draft, but when matched up with flashier receivers, the Louisiana native has given up some big plays. Iowa State’s offense may not be the best in the league but junior wide receiver Jaylin Noel is the real deal and will be challenging Newton consistently on Saturday. If the Horned Frogs look to get off the field consistently, tight coverage from Josh Newton will be crucial.
IOWA STATE CYCLONES
WR JAYLIN NOEL
It is no secret that Iowa State’s defense heavily outweighs their offense at this point in the season, but that doesn’t mean much when Jaylin Noel is on the field. The junior receiver is averaging just over 10 yards a grab and has exposed some of the better corners in the league to start off his 2023 campaign. Noel enters Saturday’s matchup with 24 grabs for 250 yards and two scores this season and should continue to be a factor against TCU.
DB JEREMIAH COOPER
Folks, the Iowa State Cyclones have a serious playmaker in sophomore defensive back Jeremiah Cooper. Not only does Cooper lead the entire Big 12 in interceptions, he also is tied for the most interceptions in the country with Fresno State’s Carlton Johnson and Auburn’s Jaylin Simpson. Chandler Morris has been impressive in 2023 but has also put some carefree throws on film. Jeremiah Cooper has a shot to take the nationwide lead for interceptions on Saturday, and if Morris loses sight of him at all, that could quickly become a reality.
TCU HORNED FROGS
Can TCU take care of business? While Week 3 of Big 12 play feels like it’s significantly too early to call a game a “must-win,” this game is pretty dang close to that. The Horned Frogs got embarrassed by Neal Brown and the Mountaineers last week and are entering Week 6 with bookend losses surrounding their three wins. The Horned Frogs bounced back after their Week 1 loss to Colorado by routing Nicholls State but Iowa State is significantly better than Nicholls, and will provide a unique challenge with nothing to lose.
IOWA STATE CYCLONES
Can the offense find playmakers? Iowa State absolutely has to find someone else on offense to make plays outside of Jaylin Noel. The team entered 2023 with a lower ceiling than most after losing some key playmakers due to a gambling investigation but it is time to see someone emerge as the next man up. Both Jayden Higgins and Daniel Jackson have shown some flash during the first five games, but with a lackluster running game paired with a suspect offensive line, Iowa State needs another playmaker to surface.
PREDICTION: TCU 28, IOWA STATE 17
I just don’t think Iowa State has enough to get it done. Sonny Dykes rattled three wins off after losing to Colorado in Week 1 and I expect his team to bounce back strong against the Cyclones. The Horned Frogs rushing attack will prove to be too much for Iowa State’s defense with Emani Bailey, Trey Sanders, and Chandler Morris all funding success in open space. I like the Horned Frogs to advance to 4-2 while the Cyclones fall to the opposite.