Know Your Opponent: TCU will be a close match

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Junior running back Harry Trotter practices before K-State's football game against Baylor in Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Oct. 5, 2019. The Wildcats fell to the Bears 31-12. (Logan Wassall | Collegian Media Group)

The Kansas State football team returns to action this week after its second bye with a home game against the TCU Horned Frogs.

TCU is 3-2 on the season and 1-1 in conference play. The Horned Frogs made a brief appearance in the AP Poll in week three just to drop out, like K-State, Baylor and Oklahoma State. Their losses are to a now-ranked SMU team and Big 12-foe Iowa State.

The Horned Frogs are led by long-time head coach Gary Patterson, who played college ball at K-State prior to Bill Snyder. He also got his coaching start as a graduate assistant on Jim Dickey’s 1982 Independence Bowl team. This was K-State’s lone winning season between 1970 and 1991.

On offense, TCU likes to run spread running concepts and have another solid featured running back in senior running back Darius Anderson, who is second to Oklahoma State’s redshirt sophomore Chuba Hubbard in rushing and all-purpose yards per game.

TCU has the third best rushing offense in the conference.

Freshman quarterback Max Duggan is dead last in the conference in passing yards per game and does not crack the top-10 Big 12 quarterbacks in efficiency. Duggan is also not much of a threat on the ground, with just 46 rushing yards on the year.

Because of that lack of production from the quarterback position, TCU may play former K-State quarterback Alex Delton a little bit. Expect Delton to run a lot of read option, similar to how he was used during his time in Manhattan.

TCU remains committed to a particularly aggressive 4-2-5 defense. The four-man front will be a change of pace for K-State, who has seen a lot of three-man fronts in Big 12 play this year. This defense relies on athletic and aggressive individual players and a talented safety-linebacker hybrid.

TCU has that safety in 6-foot-2-inches, 207-pound senior Innis Gaines, who often ends up on the linebacker-level of the defense in running situations. Gaines is an athletic run-stopper and does a good job of flowing to the play and being in on the stop, even if the ball is run away from his side of the field.

Their aggressive defense is very good at limiting first downs. They lead the conference in that stat and are third in opponent third down conversions.

PREDICTION: The scheme match-up, paired with the offensive capabilities of these two teams suggests a low scoring game to me. I think K-State gets their first notch in the Big 12 win column, 20-14.

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