Expectations change every week during the college football season as some are tweaked, some are forged anew, and others are mercilessly slaughtered. Last week in this series, I told you that I expected TCU to hold Arkansas to less than 30 points. Had the Frogs won in regulation, like they had multiple opportunities to do, that would have been the case; but college football is full of chaos and uncertainty, and that’s why we love it.
Now since the prediction didn’t pan out last week, we’re all going to forget about that and never bring it up again. We only do that when the prediction is dead on accurate. That’s how this works. So, before we go any further, just know that by reading this you are agreeing to apply selective memory to this series, and only remind me of predictions when they make me look good. That’s how I do it, and trust me, it works great.
So what should we expect this week? Honestly, it might be one of the tougher games to predict. We don’t know quite what to think about TCU’s defense right now and nobody knows quite what to think about Iowa State, other than they have a new coach and are not considered Big 12 title contenders. So I’m going to focus on what we do know, the TCU offense is good and it still racks up the yardage.
If anything has been missing from the TCU offense, it has been the running game. In fact, the current rushing leader on TCU’s offense is none other than Kenny Hill. I predict that will change this week, and that Kyle Hicks will have his first 100+ yard rushing performance as a Horned Frog.
Kyle Hicks is a more than capable back, and he is great in space. Because of this, the gameplans so far have included a lot of short passes to him out of the backfield. This works, but eventually defenses will start to adjust to that. Since we don’t need opposing defenses keying on those plays, and taking the ball the other way, we are going to have to establish more of a downhill running game.
Patterson has noted in the past that a physical, downhill running game is an aspect, and a weapon, that he wants TCU’s offenses to have. As he has also alluded to, the offensive line needs to play better in order to make that happen. The line will have a much easier task against Iowa State’s defensive front seven than they did against Arkansas last week. Iowa State’s only established star in the defensive front seven is Demond Tucker, who recorded 23 tackles, six sacks and 13 tackles for loss in 2015.
Aaron Green had six 100+ yard games last year, and 10 total in his roughly 1 1⁄2 seasons as the Frog’s feature back. Iowa State gave up 232 rushing yards to Northern Iowa and 198 rushing yards against Iowa, allowing a 100+ yard rusher in both games. Everything is lining up here for Hicks to have a breakout performance. Besides, we can’t have our quarterback run it 15 times every week, so it’s a necessity that the running game gets figured out.