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Matchups to Watch: Iowa State vs. TCU

It’s football time in Funky Town as the Horned Frogs gear up for their 2020 season-opener against the Cyclones

TCU v Iowa State Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images

The 2020 TCU football season has finally arrived, and the Horned Frogs will kick off the Big 12 Conference schedule with a home game against Iowa State on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.

Quarterbacks Matthew Downing and Max Duggan are both expected to see the field this weekend, with Downing earning the start and Duggan receiving clearance after being diagnosed with a heart condition during COVID-19 testing protocols. The Cyclones have already dropped one game, falling 31-14 to the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns during Week 1 of the NCAA football season.

Linebacker Garret Wallow and safeties Trevon Moehrig and Ar’Darius Washington headline a TCU defense that will look to follow up a strong 2019 campaign. Defensive tackle Corey Bethley has an opportunity to shine after the departure of Ross Blacklock, and the Horned Frogs will feature a group of talented ball carriers including Darwin Barlow and Daimarqua Foster. Perhaps even Zach Evans will make an appearance this weekend.

TCU struggled mightily against Iowa State in 2019, losing 49-24 and surrendering four total touchdowns to Cyclone quarterback Brock Purdy. Purdy recorded roughly 350 yards of offense including over 100 yards on the ground, the most he had during any game last fall. Here are three matchups to watch when TCU and Iowa State square off on Saturday.

Te’Vailance Hunt vs. Lawrence White IV

Three of TCU’s top four pass catchers in last year’s game against the Cyclones have graduated or moved on to the NFL including Jalen Reagor, who caught four balls for 69 yards and two touchdowns. Te’Vailance Hunt led the Horned Frogs with 78 receiving yards in the 2019 matchup, and Hunt is an early breakout candidate at the wide receiver position this fall. He’ll likely be face-to-face with Iowa State senior defensive back Lawrence White IV, who had 84 total tackles, four passes defensed and two interceptions last season.

Garret Wallow vs. Breece Hall

Hall ran for over 100 yards and a touchdown in Iowa State’s loss to the Ragin’ Cajuns in Week 1. He’ll be the Cyclones’ go-to running back this season, and containing him will be key for the Horned Frog defense. Wallow was an absolute machine for TCU in 2019, racking up 125 total tackles and 3.5 sacks. A strong effort from Wallow against the run will force Iowa State to put the ball in the air, something the Cyclones struggled to do against Louisiana-Lafayette two weeks ago.

Trevon Moehrig vs. Brock Purdy

Although Purdy failed to do much in the passing game in Iowa State’s 2020 opener, he was a one-man wrecking crew against TCU in 2019. While it remains to be seen how the Horned Frog offense will fare to start the season, expect the TCU defense to seek out turnovers in order to create easy scoring chances on the other end. Moehrig was a ball hawk for the Horned Frogs last fall, intercepting four passes and defending 11 others.