Photo from GoFrogs.com
Well, well, well.
In a strange turn of events (that is, Oklahoma’s untimely loss to Iowa State last week), TCU has found itself on top of the Big 12 as the lone undefeated team in the conference. TCU is expected to cruise past the struggling Kansas State on Saturday — but not so fast.
Here are five things to expect from the game.
Whether or not Kansas State’s starting quarterback Jesse Ertz will play against TCU is uncertain. Last week against Texas, Ertz left in the second half with an injury, bringing in backup Alex Delton (more on him later).
Nonetheless, if Ertz is the guy the Frogs face on Saturday, they’ll be up against a pretty good arm. Ertz currently ranks No. 1 in the nation in yards per completion, averaging 16.91. He’s also a good runner and leads the team with 336 rushing yards.
Kansas State will likely be in good hands with sophomore Delton at quarterback. He stepped in during the second half of the Texas game after Ertz went down, putting up an impressive performance and lifting the team from being down 24-17 in the third quarter.
Delton, too, is a runner — he rushed for 79 yards on 12 carries against Texas and scored two touchdowns on his feet. The double overtime loss was certainly unfortunate for the Wildcats.
For the most part, though, Kansas State’s offense has been struggling offensively, ranked second-worst in the Big 12.
The Wildcats’ defense, on the other hand, is slightly more solid. Against the run, which appears to be TCU’s specialty this season, Kansas State comes up fourth in the Big 12, allowing an average of 125 yards per game.
As the only undefeated team left in the Big 12, TCU could very well be the conference’s only hope for making the College Football Playoff (at this point anyway). After five games, TCU’s most obvious strength is its run game and quarterback Kenny Hill’s versatility. Its main weakness is its pass defense, which is currently the second-worst in the conference as the Frogs allow an average of 382 yards per game. There’s still a lot of football left to be played, but now that the Frogs have proven themselves as a formidable team, the bar goes up even higher.
Arguably the nicest head coach in the Big 12, Kansas State’s Bill Snyder sent former TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin a congratulatory letter two years ago after the Frogs beat the Wildcats. Then last year, when the Wildcats beat the Frogs, Snyder sent a letter of encouragement to Hill. Kansas State isn’t among TCU fans’ most-hated teams by any means, so expect a friendly fight that, hopefully, has a friendly ending.
Kickoff is 11 a.m. in Manhattan, Kansas. The game will be aired on FS1.