Fort Worth, TX (Sports Network) - With the Big 12 Conference crown theirs for
the taking, the third-ranked Kansas State Wildcats head to the Lone Star State
for this Saturday's pivotal matchup with the TCU Horned Frogs.
Kansas State is one of only six undefeated teams left in the FBS, the team
winning all nine of its bouts thus far by an average of 25.7 ppg. The Wildcats
are 9-0 overall and 6-0 in the Big 12 for just the third time under legendary
coach Bill Snyder, and the first time since 1999. K-State is ranked second
once again in this week's BCS standings, the highest BCS ranking in school
history. The 'Cats took out visiting Oklahoma State last weekend, 44-30, and
following this bout, will play at Baylor next Saturday before wrapping up the
regular season at home versus Texas on Dec. 1.
TCU's first season as a member of the Big 12 has had its up and downs, the
team sporting a 6-3 overall record, but just a 3-3 league ledger. Last
weekend, the Horned Frogs paid a visit to the other new team in the
conference, West Virginia, and escaped in double-overtime with a 39-38
victory. That win snapped a two-game losing streak for coach Gary Patterson's
squad, which continues a murderous second-half stretch following this clash as
it face Texas and Oklahoma on Nov. 22 and Dec. 1, respectively.
TCU owns a 3-2 lead in the all-time series with Kansas State, but the two
teams have not met since a 35-22 victory for the Horned Frogs in Fort Worth
back in 1986.
The Kansas State offense is one of the more potent not only in the Big 12 but
the nation as well, and the unit is led by Heisman hopeful Collin Klein. With
the gifted quarterback at the controls, the Wildcats are lighting up the
scoreboard to the tune of 44.3 ppg, behind nearly 440 total ypg. Klein is a
true threat in every sense of the word, as in addition to completing 71.1
percent of his passes for 1,875 yards, 12 TDs and only two interceptions, he
ranks second on the team in rushing with 698 yards and a whopping 17 scores.
John Hubert paces the club with 760 yards, and he has reached the end zone a
dozen times. Chris Harper and Tyler Lockett are Klein's favorite targets down
field, the duo combining for 69 catches, 1,070 yards and five TDs.
Defensively, the Wildcats are permitting just 18.6 ppg as foes have had
trouble finding running lanes (99.2 ypg, six TDs), enjoying more success with
the pass (259.3 ypg, 11 TDs). Still, the KSU defense has made a slew of big
plays, logging 24 takeaways and 21 sacks. Arthur Brown continues to lead the
unit with 67 tackles, while Allen Chapman and Ty Zimmerman have come up with
four picks apiece. Nigel Malone has three.
Klein was once again in top form last week against Oklahoma State, throwing
for 245 yards while rushing for 64 yards and a TD -- his 50th career rushing
TD. However, he suffered an undisclosed injury in the second half and was
replaced by Daniel Sams, who was nearly perfect in completing 5-of-6 passes
for 45 yards. Klein is apparently fine and will likely be under center in this
clash, but there's no telling how K-State's season might unravel if he is out
for any significant amount of time. Angelo Pease was the team's leading ground
gainer last week with 72 yards on nine carries, while Hubert added 38 yards
and scored twice on only nine totes as well. Harper, Lockett and Travis
Tannahill each finished with five catches, with Harper tallying a team-high 89
receiving yards. Lockett returned a second-quarter kickoff 100 yards for a
Chapman snared three interceptions in last week's win over Oklahoma State, one
of which he returned 29 yards for a TD, as the Wildcats took advantage of five
turnovers despite allowing 417 passing yards to the Cowboys. K-State did hold
the Pokes to just 87 net rushing yards, and allowed them control of the ball
for just over 22 minutes. OSU was just 3-of-12 on third-down conversion
attempts. Amazingly enough, Kansas State has outscored the opposition 111-0
off turnovers this season.
At his press conference earlier this week, coach Snyder immediately addressed
the 800-pound gorilla in the room, that of course being Klein's status,
without getting into too many specifics.
"Would I expect him to play? I certainly hope that's the case, and I would
expect that to take place."
While not as prolific as its counterpart, the TCU offense can hold its own
with most in the Big 12, the Horned Frogs averaging 169.3 ypg rushing (fourth
in the conference) while tallying 264.8 ypg passing. Of the 33 TDs the team
has scored this season, 24 of them have come through the air. TCU has
committed 23 turnovers, 14 of which have been on fumbles. Casey Pachall (.660,
948 yards, 10 TDs, one interception) was the team's starting QB, but he is
undergoing therapy following a DUI arrest, thus Trevone Boykin has assumed the
job and has thrown for 1,376 yards, with 13 TD passes and seven picks. Josh
Boyce is the Frogs' top pass catcher, having grabbed 50 balls for 687 yards
and seven scores. The run game features four guys with at least 248 yards, led
by B.J. Catalon and his 401 yards. Matthew Tucker paces the club with three
The Horned Frogs possess one of the nation's top defenses, ranking eighth in
the FBS against the run (96.6 ypg) and 25th in total defense (333.7 ypg). Joel
Hasley leads the squad with 68 tackles, while Devonte Fields has a team-best
eight sacks and 14.5 TFL. Jason Verrett heads the secondary with five
interceptions and 12 PBU.
In last week's thrilling win at West Virginia, Boykin completed just 12-of-29
passes, but they went for 254 yards, two TDs and one interception, both
scoring strikes going to Boyce who finished with six catches for 180 yards.
The TCU run game accounted for just 126 yards, with no player amassing more
than the 39 yards Catalon had.
West Virginia was held to just 78 net rushing yards, and while star QB Geno
Smith threw for 260 yards and three TDs, the Mountaineers were limited to 126
yards after halftime. Derrick Kindred and Sam Carter tallied 10 tackles
apiece, the former making nine of his stops unassisted. and the Frogs as a
collective unit were credited with eight TFL, and the defense scored a TD on a
15-yard fumble return by Dominic Merka in the third quarter.
Coach Patterson, who is a K-State alum, was asked recently about facing his
"It's hard because you love seeing that they have come so far, and they are so
close to maybe playing for a national championship. On our side, we just want
to win our seventh game."
The Sports Network