GAME NOTES: With their postseason hopes quickly fading the TCU Horned Frogs will try again on Saturday when they battle the Iowa State Cyclones in a Big 12 matchup at Jack Trice Stadium.
Despite a big game from Casey Pachall, the Horned Frogs were dropped 30-27 in overtime by West Virginia last weekend. The setback was the third straight for the Horned Frogs, who came into the year in the national rankings but have plummeted since. TCU is just 3-6 overall and a miserable 1-5 against the Big 12. With just three games to play, the Horned Frogs need to win out if they want to keep their eight-year streak of bowl game appearances alive.
Although it has been clear for some time, the official final nail was put in the Cyclones' postseason coffin last weekend as they were handed a 41-7 loss on the road by Kansas State. The loss was the fifth straight for the Cyclones, who have just one win in eight games this year.
Last year the Cyclones forced five turnovers and Josh Lenz brought in three touchdown passes to carry them to their first ever win against TCU. The Horned Frogs had won the first three matchups prior to last season.
The major weakness for TCU has been unquestionably its offensive deficiencies. Other than Kansas, no team in the Big 12 is picking up fewer yards per game (334.7) than the Horned Frogs. TCU is also only scoring 23.4 points per game with touchdowns in just 17-of-30 red zone attempts.
Pachall missed some time before returning against West Virginia. In the contest he had his most productive game of the year, but was picked off twice and sacked three times, both season highs. Pachall tallied 394 yards and three touchdowns, his first passing scores of the year, while completing 40-of-58 pass attempts. Prior to the game Pachall did not have 394 yards or 40 completions combined all season. Trevone Boykin (103-of-174, 1,176 yards, five TDS, seven INTs) held the fort for Pachall, but looks to be back to his reserve role.
Josh Doctson (20 receptions, 289 yards, two TDs) and David Porter (17 receptions, 271 yards, three TDs) are the top receiving threats for the unit and each had strong showings against the Mountaineers. Doctson had a season- high in receptions (eight) and yards (92) and also brought in a touchdown pass, while Porter had eight catches for 72 yards and two scores. LaDarius Brown (28 receptions, 258 yards, TD) will also be in the mix this weekend.
The rushing attack was once again stalled in TCU's loss to WVU. Leading rusher B.J. Catalon (405 yards, five TDs) had just 39 yards on 10 carries a week after managing only seven yards on five carries. Since a 91-yard effort against Kansas, Catalon has had fewer than 50 yards rushing in three straight games.
What has kept TCU somewhat competitive this season is its defense. TCU is third in the Big 12 in total defense (357 ypg) and limiting the opposition to just 23.6 points per game. Getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks has been the key, with TCU tallying a Big 12 best 26 sacks. Terrell Lathan (4.0 sacks) is the leading pass rusher, although seven different players have at least two sacks. Meanwhile, Chris Hackett (63 tackles, three INTs) is one of five players with at least two interceptions.
Even though they have been slightly better than TCU, Iowa State cannot lay claim to being a very strong offensive unit. The Cyclones are scoring 23.1 points and recording 338.2 total yards per game.
The loss to Kansas State was another low for the Cyclones, who did not score until the final minutes of the fourth quarter, while managing just 249 yards of total offense. Sam Richardson got the start at quarterback but was pulled in the second quarter for Grant Rohach. Richardson has been the starter all season but with just 1,388 yards passing on 55.3 percent passing, he has not been overly effective. Rohach (31-of-60, 250 yards, two TDs, three INTs) hasn't been much better but there has to be some change made.
Both signal callers have relied heavily on getting the ball to Quenton Bundrage. The Cyclones' leading receiver has pulled in 30 balls for 451 yards and six touchdowns. Bundrage has more than twice as many receiving yards as any other receiver while his touchdowns account for nearly half of the passing touchdowns for the Cyclones this year. E.J. Bibbs (22 receptions, 219 yards, two TDs) is the next best option.
The offense has been further weakened with leading rusher Aaron Wimbley (388 yards, two TDs) sidelined recently. Wimbley is listed as questionable yet again this week Wimbley is the only player on the team averaging more than 3.5 yards per carry.
Making things worse for Iowa State is its porous defense. The Cyclones are the worst team in the Big 12 when it comes to slowing opponents, allowing 477.5 total yards and nearly 40 points per game. Jeremiah Geroge (93 tackles, 8.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks, INT) has contributed in just about every way as a bright spot for the unit. Jacques Washington (77 tackles) is another tackling machine.
Both of these teams really lack any offense. If the way Pachall played against WVU is any indication the Horned Frogs still have some hope in that area, while the defense should yet again be disruptive on Saturday. The list of positive signs for Iowa State is a much shorter one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: TCU 27, Iowa State 13
11/06 11:04:11 ET
Copyright ??2010 Athlon Sports, Inc. Athlon Sports and the Athlon Sports logo are trademarks of Athlon Sports, Inc. | About Us