ISU RUSH OFFENSE VS. TCU RUSH DEFENSE
Cyclone running backs James White and Shontrelle Johnson are averaging 5.7 yards and 5.0 yards a carry, respectively. Give them room and watch them roam. ISU linemen said last week they were too pinched at the line of scrimmage and have adjusted. TCU allows 79 yards per game on the ground. Advantage: TCU.
ISU PASS OFFENSE VS. TCU PASS DEFENSE
Steele Jantz or Jared Barnett? Possible better question: Kenny Caine, Elisha Olabode or Jason Verrett? Jantz and Barnett are battling for the Cyclones’ starting quarterback spot again. Caine, Olabode and Verrett have two interceptions apiece for the Horned Frogs, who are plus-one in turnover margin. Advantage: TCU.
TCU RUSH OFFENSE VS. ISU RUSH DEFENSE
Horned Frogs field an experienced back in Matthew Tucker, who has rushed for 2,295 yards and 28 touchdowns in 43 career games. Trouble is, he’s the grinder. Waymon James and Trevone Boykin both are averaging around 10 yards per carry. The Cyclones, though, rank 18th in rush defense. Advantage: ISU.
TCU PASS OFFENSE VS. ISU PASS DEFENSE
Cyclone linebacker A.J. Klein put himself on notice when he reckoned with proper positioning he could get two or three interceptions a game, not just one (and the six points that usually follows). Teammates feel same way. TCU quarterback Casey Pachall is suspended, so a new guy could be in for a jolt. (Slight) advantage: ISU.
ISU punter Kirby Van Der Kamp is on his way to an all-conference worthy season. He averages 43.7 yards per punt and didn’t yield a return for positive yards until last week. Cyclone kicker Edwin Arceo, meanwhile, is fighting for his job. TCU’s kicker, Jaden Oberkrom, is 5 of 7 on field goals. (Slight) advantage: ISU
ISU WILL WIN IF ...
The offense pulls a 180 and the defense stays the course. The 180 is most important. And it means 0-1 turnovers, big holes for running backs James White and Shontrelle Johnson and sharper routes by receivers such as Josh Lenz and Aaron Horne. As for three-and-outs, cut them in half from last week to about four.
TCU WILL WIN IF ...ISU continues to be a good defensive team in search of any offense and it sticks to its game plan. The Horned Frogs are more Kansas State than West Virginia and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. For one, they have a stout defense. Two, they can wind clock when the situation warrants it.