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Keys to the Game: Kansas State vs. TCU

Containing running back Deuce Vaughn highlights a series of must-haves for the Horned Frogs this weekend.

TCU v Kansas State Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

Kansas State running back Deuce Vaughn has been a terror to start the Big 12 Conference schedule. A miniature dynamo at 5 feet 5 inches tall, Vaughn compiled nearly 200 total yards and two touchdowns against Texas Tech this past weekend, and the freshman has scored in each of the first three Wildcat football games.

TCU will be next up to defend Vaughn, and after surrendering 6.3 yards per carry to Texas ball carriers last weekend, the Horned Frogs must get their run defense in check when TCU hosts Kansas State on Saturday. A win would likely vault the Horned Frogs into the AP Top 25 Poll heading into Week 7.

Despite splitting its last four matchups against Kansas State, TCU has struggled during the final minutes in each of those games. The arrival of Jerry Kill and the return of Doug Meacham have seemingly brought new life to the Horned Frog offense, however, with TCU topping 450 total yards in each of the team’s first two games.

Here are three keys to the Saturday showdown between two teams fighting for AP standing.

Finish the Fight

Poor fourth-quarter performances have maligned TCU against Kansas State in recent years. The Horned Frogs have mustered only six points over their last four fourth-quarter efforts against the Wildcats, with three of those quarters winding up scoreless. TCU proved it can close out a win by defeating Texas this past weekend, and quarterback Max Duggan tossed two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter against Iowa State.

Stop the Speedster

The Horned Frogs will struggle on defense if they are unable to contain Deuce Vaughn. The freshman has been dangerous not only on the ground, but in the passing game as well, catching three passes for 81 yards and a touchdown against Texas Tech. With starting quarterback Skylar Thompson’s health in question, Kansas State may feature Vaughn a lot during the game, and head coach Gary Patterson’s unit must be ready.

Who Wants It?

The TCU offense has seen a plethora of players involved in the early going. Five running backs have taken touches on the ground, and 10 players have caught passes in each of the team’s first two games. Those facts speak to TCU’s depth and talent, but as the season moves forward, the Horned Frogs will need a chosen few to emerge from the crowd and take command in the backfield and in the receiving core. Taye Barber has been one consistent contributor, but perhaps another will emerge from Saturday’s game.