While the Cyclones are sitting at the bottom of the Big 12 standings with a single conference win, six of their seven losses have been by a single score. ISU will miss out on a bowl for the first time since 2016, Matt Campbell’s first season in Ames. Iowa State has transitioned from an elite rushing offense in 2021 with star RB Breece Hall to a high-volume passing attack with Hunter Dekkers attempting over 39 passes per game and Xavier Hutchinson leading the Big 12 and 5th nationally in receiving yards. Jirehl Brock leads the Cyclone running game, but hasn’t rushed for more than 33 yards in a game since September 24 vs. Baylor. He did go for 100 vs. the vaunted Iowa defense in the 2nd game of the season and has a long of 61 (vs. Ohio), so the ability is there. The Cyclones look to dominate games defensively, ranking 8th nationally in points per game and 7th in yards allowed per game. 5th Year Senior Will McDonald IV is still a disruptive force off the edge, even as his stats have diminished in 2022 - 5 sacks this season, vs. 23 combined the previous 2 seasons. The defense is deep and experienced, with six Super Seniors listed in the starting lineup. The Cyclones will look to throw the kitchen sink at TCU to play spoiler to the Frogs’ thus-far unblemished season.
The Horned Frogs are coming off a thrilling victory over Baylor thanks to the walk-off winner from Griffin Kell. Although TCU hasn’t crossed 30 points the past two games, it still leads the Big 12 in points and yards per game. Max Duggan will look to make a statement in his Heisman campaign against this elite Cyclone Defense, as he has willed the Frogs to victory all season throwing 26 TDs to just 3 interceptions. It’s yet to be confirmed which of his weapons will be available for this game, as Derius Davis missed the entirety of the Baylor game, Kendre Miller and Quentin Johnston missed most of the 2nd Half, and Taye Barber has reportedly been hampered this week. If any of those key weapons miss meaningful time vs. ISU, it will be on Savion Williams, Gunnar Henderson, and Emari Demercado to again step up into primary roles. The TCU defensive unit is led by Linebackers Dee Winters, 3rd in the Big 12 in Sacks, and Johnny Hodges, team leader in tackles. On the back end, it will be up to Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson and Josh Newton to slow the dynamic Hutchinson. Bud Clark has impressed in pass coverage with key breakups and interceptions, including one in the end zone last week that prevented Baylor from scoring just before halftime. Up front the Frogs have continued to improve, as Dylan Horton has secured a sack in each of the last 4 games while Tymon Mitchell, Damonic Williams, and Terrell Cooper have lived in opposing backfields.
Although the record in the standings are lopsided, these teams are more evenly matched on the field than those records indicate. It will be a muddy rainy afternoon in Amon G. Carter Stadium, so we may expect a slugfest. Can the Frogs emerge with the win and complete the regular season undefeated?
Join the conversation in the comment section below as we ride the game day rollercoaster together. Go Frogs!