Iowa State @ #13 TCU
- Game Time: 2:30
- TV: FSN
- Sirius Channel: 117
- The Spread: TCU -7
The Lowdown: This game took on an entirely different perspective with Thursday's news that TCU quarterback Casey Pachall had been arrested for driving under the influence and subsequently suspended by Gary Patterson.
The Horned Frogs will now enter the contest with redshirt freshman Trevone Boykin under center. It was initially believed that Boykin could possibly see time at running back to help out the TCU running game but that plan in now likely scrapped for the time being.
Boykin's potential move to running back was spurred by the season ending injury to Waymon James suffered in their victory over Kansas.
In the two games since James' injury, Matthew Tucker has taken over the bulk of the workload rushing for 108 yards on 33 carries against Virginia and SMU. Now with Boykin running the show at quarterback, expect Aundre Dean and freshman B.J. Catalon to continue spelling Tucker as needed who has battled injury issues himself and is probably for Saturday's game.
The real question for TCU with Pachall on the sidelines, what becomes of the passing game? Outside of last week's 10 of 26 performance in the rain against SMU, Pachall had been clicking through the air over the first three games. Even with his poor statistical performance last week, Pachall has completed 66% of his passes with just one interception on the season.
That's not to say Boykin can't run that aspect of TCU's offense, but the simple fact he, he's yet to do it in a college football game outside of some mop up duty. He will get his shot on Saturday, however, against a very good Iowa State defense.
Given the now thin depth at running back, the Horned Frogs will need to rely on Boykin's arm, at least to certain extent, who has likely received a crash course on the playbook over the past couple days.
As for the Iowa State defense, it all starts with linebackers A.J. Klein and Jake Knott. The duo has totaled 61 tackles on the season and are the heart and soul of a defense that kept a strong Texas Tech offense in check last weekend in Ames.
The previous two weeks against Iowa and Western Illinois the Cyclones allowed a grand total of nine points. If Iowa State hopes to hand TCU their first ever Big 12 loss, it will have to come from their defense, because...
The Iowa State offense was absolutely in disarray last weekend against Texas Tech. The turnover bug that has bitten the Cyclones time after time reared its head again against the Red Raiders. Iowa State's offensive line was manhandled by Tech which didn't help matters, either. The Cyclone offense managed just 189 yards of total offense which included just 70 yards passing.
Will Steele Jantz make his fifth consecutive start on Saturday? No one will know until Saturday, but his 10 for 20 performance to go along with four turnovers against Texas Tech certainly opened the door for Jared Barnett, yet again, who also replaced a struggling and injured Jantz a season ago.
Jantz may be the better overall quarterback between the two, but ISU's offense is in need of a serious spark and if Jantz does indeed start and struggles early on Saturday, you would have to guess he'll be on a short leash in a game Iowa State will have a very good chance to win.
TCU, Keys to the Game: It's never a good thing to lose your starting quarterback unexpectedly three days before a game, especially one as good as Pachall. On the flip side, if it was going to happen and you are forced to play start a freshman for the first time, this is probably one of the games on the schedule when you would pick for it to happen.
Yes, ISU's defense is plenty good this season and will make it tough on Boykin, but Iowa State isn't likely to score many points on Saturday, meaning there might not be quite the pressure on the freshman QB and TCU's offense to put up huge numbers in his first start.
The Horned Frogs run game hasn't been great early in the season, but that'll need it on Saturday which includes Boykin's running from the quarterback position. That's not a facet TCU has necessarily had in their arsenal until Saturday. If they can spring Boykin's on a couple big runs, everything else becomes that much easier.
Iowa State: Keys to the Game: Iowa State's offense must put last week's abysmal performance clear out of their memory. It was one game. Forget about it and move on.
ISU's offense hasn't been great early in the season, but it was certainly more efficient the first three games than it was against Texas Tech. Iowa State needs to come out, develop some rhythm, and put together a few solid drives early in the game to get some mojo flowing again.
TCU's defense has been very good early in the season, but it's still a young group that ISU can exploit in the play action game if Jantz doesn't throw it to the guys in the purple and black colored jerseys. If the Cyclones can hit on a couple big plays for touchdowns, thus avoiding having to sustain long, methodical drives, their chances of leaving Fort Worth with a victory go up threefold.
The Prediction: Whenever a Paul Rhoad's coached team gets knocked down as they did last week, they usually come out swinging and put on a performance few saw coming. The pieces have lined up perfectly for that to happen on Saturday.
Not having Pachall on the field Saturday is one thing for TCU, but the midweek distraction his arrest created for the entire team is another. If TCU comes out ready and focused on Saturday, then hats off to Gary Patterson.
In what will be a low scoring, three-yards and a cloud of dust type game, ISU's offense finds enough horsepower from a sharper-than-last-week Steele Jantz to muster enough offense to outlast the Horned Frogs by a field goal It won't be pretty for either team, but any win is a good win in Iowa State's book. Cyclones 24 Horned Frogs 21.