Ranked v Ranked for the Frogs and Cyclones Saturday afternoon, with serious Big 12 Title Game implications. Just like we all expected. You can’t call it a trap game now, with so much at stake. So who is going to show up and show out? Here are this week’s Picks to Click.
Kyle Hicks: The senior running back may have to shoulder a heavy load with inclement weather conditions and a biting cold to be in the air in Ames Saturday. But, that should be just fine for Hicks. Though the run game has been a bit stagnant over the past two weeks, Kyle is averaging over 5.2 yards per carry, and now nearing full health, can make guys miss and run them over. The Frogs will lean heavily on the backfield against a stout ISU D, and their senior leader needs to have a big game to ensure a Frog victory. I think he steps up and gets the job done.
Jeff Gladney: The Iowa State receiving corp resembles a basketball front line more than a football team, according to Gary Patterson, and as such, the Frogs’ undersized secondary has a big challenge. Ranthony Texada will likely matchup man to man with Allen Lazard, leaving Gladney to contend with Hakeem Butler. TCU has been able to limit Lazard in the past - he was held to one catch in Fort Worth a season ago - but he has a better QB and better weapons around him in 2017. If Gladney can contain and keep Butler and co from wracking up big yards after the catch, the Frogs should be effective defensively.
Ross Blacklock and Chris Bradley: Speaking of effective defense, Ross Blacklock and Chris Bradley might be the most important of any duo tomorrow. If the two interior linemen can keep Montgomery, a very good running back, from getting in a groove, that will certainly help the defensive backfield, who can anticipate passing downs easier. The two monsters in the middle will need to form a wall and free up Banogu and Boesen to get after Kyle Kempt, who is little to no threat to break off a big run. The ISU o line has been much better than anticipated so far, but against the one truly elite defensive front they have faced - Texas - the Clones rushed for just ten yards (on an inexcusable 15 attempts, but still) and surrendered four sacks (with Jacob Park at the helm). While the Iowa State offense looks much different than it did a month ago, the TCU line is at least as good, and possibly better, than the Horns, so this matchup will certainly be an intriguing one.
Jonathan Song: TCU kickers have missed three extra points over the last couple of games, giving Frog fans some mild palpitations when it comes to the kicking game. But with two really good defenses squaring off Saturday, it’s time for Jonny Song to shine. I think that this game comes down to single digits, and can certainly see a situation where there’s a kick to win it late. If so, I love the confidence of Song, who is 7-7 when the Frogs need three. I think he gets the job done Saturday, too.