Fort Worth, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - A Big 12 Conference showdown with major postseason implications takes place this Saturday, as the ninth-ranked Kansas State Wildcats pay a visit to the sixth-ranked TCU Horned Frogs.
Both teams come in at 7-1 on the season, but K-State has a narrow lead in the Big 12 standings thanks to its perfect 5-0 league ledger. TCU is tied with Baylor at 4-1 entering the week, although the Bears hold the tie-breaker thanks to their 61-58 win over the Frogs on Oct. 11.
Kansas State easily won its fifth straight game last weekend, taking out visiting Oklahoma State in a 48-14 final. The Wildcats improved to 5-1 at home with the victory, their lone setback coming in a 20-14 decision versus Auburn back in mid-September. KSU will only play one of its four remaining regular- season bouts in Manhattan.
TCU squeaked out a 31-30 win at West Virginia last Saturday, giving the team three straight victories since the wild loss to Baylor. The Horned Frogs, under the direction of coach Gary Patterson, are 5-0 at home this season, and they'll play one more in Fort Worth (season finale vs. Iowa State) following this clash, and two on the road (at Kansas and Texas).
Kansas State leads the all-time series with TCU, 4-3, and the Wildcats have won both meetings since the Frogs made the leap to the Big 12 in 2012.
Kansas State put forth an impressive effort in all phases of the game last week against Oklahoma State, rolling up 421 yards of total offense while allowing only 260 yards to the Cowboys. Jake Waters had another solid outing, as he completed 19-of-28 passes for 223 yards, two TDs and no INTs. Curry Sexton was open all day long, as he hauled in nine balls for 159 yards and a score, while Tyler Lockett tacked on 94 yards and a TD on six grabs. The KSU rushing attack generated only 134 yards, with no player gaining more than the 43 Charles Jones tallied to go with a pair of TDs.
The K-State defense stood tall against what had been a pretty decent Oklahoma State offense coming in, as it permitted only 112 yards on the ground and 148 through the air. The effort was aided by the fact that the Cowboys turned the ball over three times, and that the 'Cats logged five sacks -- two each being credited to Travis Britz and Jordan Willis.
Coach Bill Snyder continues to be encouraged by how his team has performed to this point in the season, but knows this game, and the others remaining on the schedule will be difficult.
"I thought we played reasonably well. This is a difficult stretch, but we are only looking at it with next week. That is all we have in mind right now. We are not looking at the cumulative schedule as it goes. We are just staying up with the time starting with TCU. I think they have made amazing progress. They are a tremendous football team. I know they had some struggles today, but they have proven what they can do. We will more than have our hands full, I can assure you of that."
For the season, KSU is lighting up the scoreboard to the tune of 38.2 ppg, while yielding only 18.6 ppg. The 'Cats prefer a balanced attack, averaging 172.8 ypg on the ground and 251.4 ypg through the air, and Waters is the perfect field general to lead the way. A 65.2 percent passer who has thrown for nearly 1,900 yards with 11 TDs and only three INTs, the senior signal caller is also effective when he tucks the ball away, currently ranking second on the team in rushing with 404 yards and seven scores. Charles Jones leads in that department with 431 yards and 11 TDs, while Lockett and Curry are tied for the top spot in receptions with 49, the duo combining for 1,291 yards and eight TDs.
Johnathan Truman continues to pace the defense with 73 stops, but the unit as a whole has been credited with only 13 sacks. Morgan Burns has three of the team's 10 picks. K-State has only 13 takeaways for the year.
A week after scoring an eye-popping 82 points in a win over Texas Tech, the Horned Frogs put forth their worst offensive effort of the season last week at West Virginia, but Jaden Oberkrom kicked a 37-yard field goal as time expired to lift the visitors to the one-point victory.
Just a week after throwing a school-record seven TD passes, TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin went just 12-of-30 for 166 yards as the Horned Frogs were held to a season-low 389 yards of total offense. B.J. Catalon paced the rushing attack with 105 yards and two scores.
The TCU defense bent at times versus WVU, but made several big plays, including the logging of five turnovers (three fumbles, two INTs). Paul Dawson and Derrick Kindred tallied double-digit tackles in the win, tallying 12 and 11, respectively, and the former also came up with a pick and a sack.
The Horned Frogs are one of the nation's top offensive teams, as they put up 48 ppg behind typical outputs of 214.1 ypg rushing and 335.9 ypg passing. Boykin has thrown for just shy of 2,500 yards with 22 TDs and only four INTs, and receivers Josh Doctson and Deante' Gray have combined for 1,088 yards and 14 scores. Catalon leads the ground gainers with 493 yards and 10 TDs, while Boykin is right there with 423 yards and four scores.
With 91 tackles, Dawson has clearly been the most active defender for Patterson's club, and he has recorded a dozen TFL and 4.0 sacks, as well as logging three picks and three fumble recoveries. As a unit, the Wildcats have come up with 24 sacks, while allowing 22.6 points and 370 yards per contest.