In their quest to become Bowl Eligible, the Horned Frogs will have the daunting task of finishing with the two hottest teams in the Big 12, beginning with Kansas State in Manhattan this Saturday.
1. Contain K-State’s Surging and Effective Offense:
The Wildcats have been rolling on offense as of late, but Saturday should still be business as usual for the Frog Defense. Kansas State relies heavily on its running game with quarterback Daniel Sams and tailback John Hubert, who have combined for 1,381 yards and 18 touchdowns.
As HawkeyedFrog pointed out on the Six Shooter, the Wildcats use their ground-focused attack to compliment a highly efficient passing game. While he may not be a fan favorite in Manhattan, Jake Waters has still been effective, especially as of late, completing 63.5% of his passes this season. TCU’s dirty front seven will force the Wildcats to favor the pass and the K-State passing offense has only gotten better since the return of Tramaine Thompson and Tyler Lockett.
A big day will be needed for the Frogs’ secondary.
2. Win It On The Ground:
If the Frogs want to pull off an upset they’re going to have do it on the ground. As atrocious as the TCU offensive line is, and as good as the K-State secondary is, the Frogs are better off throwing as sporadically as possible.
With BJ Catalon and Waymon James likely out for the game Saturday, Aaron Green should be making the start for the Frogs. Green, the former Blue Chip recruit and Nebraska transfer from San Antonio, has showed tremendous promise throughout the season and had the huge fourth down run that set up the Frogs’ last minute win last weekend in Ames. Jordan Moore, who’s changed positions as much as Boykin, has also shown off his great skill set at tailback these past few weeks and should be splitting carries with Green.
Green and Moore’s numbers (207 yards and 65 yards respectively) aren’t indicative of the fire power they can provide and if the offensive line steps up and plays mediocre, the duo could have a big day in Manhattan.
3. That Being Said…Don’t Be Afraid To Throw It Deep:
Maximizing the potential of the big deep threats will be the difference maker in the passing game. LaDarius Brown still remains our magic answer, but he hasn’t been given the opportunity to bully opposing corners in the end zone like he should. Josh Doctson has
arguably been the Frogs’ MVP at receiver. Still, the transfer from Wyoming and team leader in receiving, Doctson has been severely underused as a deep threat this year.
4. Prevent Big Returns From Tyler Lockett:
One of TCU’s fatal flaws this season has been giving up big returns. Since returning from injury, Tyler Lockett, who is regarded by many as the Big 12’s best returner, has been tearing it up. If he takes one back early it may be all the momentum the Wildcats need to get the victory in Manhattan.
5. Keep The Shenanigans To A Minimum:
Finally, TCU will have to be mentally flawless.
Don’t. Muff. Punts. No matter who it is, I always picture the TCU punt-returner like Scottie Smalls in The Sandlot, eyes closed, hands open and saying to himself "Please catch it. Please catch it". Nothing puts my stomach in knots like our punt returns.
Execute in the Red Zone: Boykin’s polarity in the red zone has been another fatal flaw for TCU. God bless the kid for what he’s done for the team, but it certainly doesn’t help an already struggling offense to keep fumbling in the red zone.
Manhattan will be loud and full Saturday and Frogs can’t afford any mental mistakes if they want to pull off the upset.