TCU Horned Frogs vs Iowa State Cyclones: Game preview and prediction

A season ago, Iowa State (1-7, 0-5) came into Fort Worth, Texas, and defeated then 15th-ranked TCU (3-6, 1-4) with Jared Barnett having the edge over Trevone Boykin in the battle of backup quarterbacks. Since that victory, the Horned Frogs have won six games while the Cyclones have won three.

There hasn’t been much success between both teams in Big 12 play, especially this year where both teams are just 1-9 in the conference, and the only victory was a 27-17 TCU win over Kansas.

Will it be a battle of futility on offense? Possibly, but it’s more of trying to stay out of the Big 12 basement.

Oct 6, 2012; Fort Worth, TX, USA; Iowa State Cyclones receiver Josh Lenz (19) runs after a catch against the Texas Christian Horned Frogs at Amon G. Carter Stadium. The Cyclones beat the Horned Frogs 37-23. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

TCU Horned Frogs vs Iowa State Cyclones

Jack Trice Stadium | Ames, Iowa
Kickoff – 11:00 AM CT | TV – FOX Sports Networks

Jared Barnett getting his first start of the season at quarterback and wide receiver Josh Lenz had a field day with 147 yards and three touchdowns on five catches. Offensively, Iowa State was outgained in total yards 455-350, but thanks to five TCU turnovers, the team was able to pull off the upset.

The Cyclones will need to force turnovers again if they want to get a victory. Both teams are pathetic on the offensive end – both are ranked 109th (ISU) and 110th (TCU) in total offense – but TCU has held the Big 12 offenses down with the third-best defense in the conference. Baylor and Oklahoma reign as the top two, and those that watched their matchup on Thursday night know how difficult it is to move the ball on either one of those teams.

Outside of giving up 30 points against Texas and West Virginia at home, TCU has given up 24 or less points to Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Kansas, SMU, and Oklahoma State. That’s probably the golden number that Iowa State will need to keep TCU under to stay in the game. Luckily, the Horned Frogs have only reached 27 points in a Big 12 game.

Three keys to…keep the game competitive

  • Keep TCU out of the red zone. If the Horned Frogs make it inside the opponents’ 20, they’ve only been stopped four times in 30 attempts.
  • Avoid third-and-long situations. TCU killed Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, and West Virginia defensively on 3rd down conversions.
  • Use the quarterback that can best throw the ball. Which means that Grant Rohach should get the start.

Nov 2, 2013; Fort Worth, TX, USA; TCU Horned Frogs quarterback Casey Pachall (4) throws during the game against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Amon G. Carter Stadium. West Virginia won 30-27. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

What to watch for

Casey Pachall finally looked 100 percent healthy last week against the Mountaineers, having a career-high 40 completions for nearly 400 yards and three touchdowns. We’ll see how Pachall can handle his third start in his first tough environment at Jack Trice Stadium.

It will be interesting to see what Iowa State does on offense. Somehow, they have to open up the passing game, and if that happens, look for Quenton Bundrage to have a Josh Lenz type of day.

Prediction

Iowa State’s lost five straight heading into the game, and are decimated with injuries all over the place. They aren’t going to run the ball at all on TCU’s defense, and it would be shock if the Cyclones can amass over 200 yards of total offense.

It’s going to be up to Jeremiah George, who leads the Big 12 with 93 total tackles, and Jacques Washington to force some turnovers. It would be great to see anyone else on defense to step up.

That’s likely not going to happen. Pachall finally looked comfortable last week, and if Iowa State can’t stay on the field offensively, he’ll have another big day in the air. He’ll do just that in what will be another eventual rout in Ames.

TCU 31, IA ST 10 (Odds: TCU -7.5, U47)

Topics: Casey Pachall, Football, Iowa State Cyclones, Jeremiah George, Josh Lenz, TCU Horned Frogs

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