Know Your Opponent: TCU

Football game between K-State and Texas Christian University on Oct. 14, 2017, at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. (George Walker | Collegian Media Group)

As the Wildcats head to Fort Worth on Saturday to take on TCU, here’s a look at the the Wildcats’ conference rival.

Gary Patterson’s TCU squad is a disappointing 3-5 after starting the season in the top 20 and an early season rout of SMU. Since then, they have dropped games to Ohio State, Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Kansas.

The Horned Frogs run a 4-2-5 defense, an early nickel-based defense designed to stop spread offenses. It is a descendant of a more traditional 4-3 but replaces a linebacker with an extra safety.

Much like other nickel-based teams in the Big 12 (a growing trend), TCU relies on a player that is both a linebacker and a safety. That player for TCU this season is redshirt senior safety Ridwan Issahaku.

The 6-foot-1-inch, 196-pound safety leads the team in solo tackles this season and is second in overall tackles.

Schematically, the idea of the defense is to play aggressively and force the ball outside toward the sidelines by plugging up all the interior running lanes. Patterson has consistently recruited athletic players who fly to the football, and this year is no exception.

The defense will likely be without starting free safety Niko Small, who has an undisclosed injury.

On offense, they run a basic spread. They run the ball a little more than they pass it and rely on some key playmakers. They will be missing a few of those players this week.

Sophomore quarterback Shawn Robinson is out for the season with a shoulder injury he sustained against Oklahoma.

The backup, sophomore Mike Collins, is not a massive step down, though. Collins threw for 351 yards and a touchdown against Kansas last week. He is not as good of a runner either, but the difference is not massive.

The major loss for TCU’s offense is former junior wide receiver KaVontae Turpin, who was dismissed from the program on Oct. 23 after being arrested on an assault charge.

Turpin was second on the team in receiving yards prior to his arrest and averaged 14 yards per catch.

Key matchups

TCU offense versus K-State defense: Usually, my key matchups are things that are strengths of each team, this is not one of those times. K-State’s defense is seventh in the conference in points per game. They are seventh in passing yards and dead last in rushing yards allowed per game.

TCU’s offense is just as bad. They are seventh in points per game, sixth in passing yards and fourth in rushing. This is truly a battle of a stoppable force and a very moveable object.

K-State versus a lack of talent: Here’s the thing. K-State lacks the talent on the field to compete in this conference. They have their schematic and philosophical issues, sure, but there is no perfect scheme to mask this talent gap.

It was very apparent against Oklahoma that they do not look like a team that should be competitive against the teams that compete for the Big 12 Championship, and that falls directly on the coaching staff.

K-State is not nearly as talented as TCU on paper, but the Horned Frogs are an even bigger mess with all of their injuries and other issues. K-State squeaks by TCU, 28-24.