Lawrence, KS (SportsNetwork.com) - Leaving the friendly confines of the Lone Star State for only the second time this season, the fifth-ranked TCU Horned Frogs venture north to tangle with the Kansas Jayhawks in Big 12 Conference action on Saturday afternoon.
The last time the Horned Frogs visited Lawrence, it marked their Big 12 debut back in 2012 (20-6 win). TCU took down No. 9 Kansas State at home last weekend, 41-20, giving coach Gary Patterson's squad its eighth victory of the season against only one loss, and kept it in the race for the conference crown. As it stands however, the Frogs will need to win out and hope that Baylor loses at least one game as the teams are tied with 5-1 league ledgers (K-State is also 5-1), but the Bears beat TCU earlier this season, 61-58, giving them the tie-breaker.
Kansas has struggled to maintain relevancy in the Big 12 over the last several years, and this season has been no different. The Jayhawks began the campaign with Charlie Weis as their head coach, but he was fired after four games, the team being handed on an interim basis to assistant Clint Bowen. Last week however, saw KU end its eight-game conference losing streak as it put forth its finest offensive effort of the season in topping visiting Iowa State, 34-14.
TCU owns an 18-8-4 lead in the all-time series with Kansas, which includes an 8-6 record in Lawrence.
TCU is one of the most explosive offensive teams in the country, as it lights up the scoreboard for 47.2 ppg in piling up 550.3 ypg. The Horned Frogs run for 227.4 ypg and have 26 rushing TDs to their credit, while airing it out for 322.9 ypg and 25 scores -- each of the aforementioned stats ranking the team right behind Baylor in the Big 12.
Trevone Boykin has been as solid as they come this season, throwing for nearly 2,700 yards with 23 TDs and only four INTs, and he has spread the wealth in hitting 15 different players with more than one pass. Josh Doctson heads the list with 42 grabs for 655 yards and seven TDs. As for the TCU rushing attack, it's three-fold in that Aaron Green (549 yards, four TDs), Boykin (546 yards, seven TDs) and B.J. Catalon (493 yards, 10 TDs) have all contributed.
Defensively, the Frogs are among the league leaders as well in yielding just 22.3 points and 246.1 ypg. They have been especially strong against the run (128.3 ypg, seven TDs), and they lead the Big 12 in turnover margin (+16), as well in opponents third-down conversion percentage (.287). Paul Dawson has been all over the field for Patterson's defense, logging 95 tackles, which is nearly 30 more than his closest teammate, and he has 13 TFL and three INTs. Chris Hackett has picked off five passes, while Mike Tuaua has five of the team's 26 sacks.
Boykin ran for three TDs and threw for another in helping the Horned Frogs leap past Kansas State last weekend. When the dust had settled, TCU had piled up 553 yards of total offense, 334 of which came on the ground. Both Boykin (123 yards) and Green (171 yards, one TD) has career rushing games, and the former also went 23-of-34 for 219 yards passing. David Porter led the receivers with seven catches for 84 yards and a TD.
The Frogs did a masterful job of stuffing the run last week, permitting only 34 net yards (1.8 ypc), but KSU QB Jake Waters threw for close to 300 yards and two TDs, as both Tyler Lockett (11 rec., 196 yards, TD) and Curry Sexton (four rec., 114 yards, TD) had big games on the outside. Derrick Kindred didn't need anyone's help as his team-high eight tackles were all unassisted.
Patterson, who is a Kansas State alum and gave credit to the Wildcats for their effort, was clearly pleased with the outcome.
"8-1. That's what we wanted to get to. I finally got my alumni on the third try. They're a good football team, I can promise that. Kansas State is a very good football team."
With a record three games under .500 overall (3-6) and far off the pace in the Big 12 (1-5), it's no surprise to see Kansas ranked among the worst teams in the league in nearly every statistical category. With averages of only 18.2 points and 352.4 yards per game, the Jayhawks rank last, while on defense the 30 points and 435.7 yards per contest rank them seventh and eighth, respectively.
In last week's surprising showing against Iowa State, KU exploded for 514 yards, which included a 278-yard, one-TD effort from QB Michael Cummings. Other notable performances were turned in by Jimmay Mundane (six rec., 75 yards, TD), Nigel King (five rec., 101 yards), Corey Avery (17 carries, 103 yards, TD) and Tony Pierson (17 carries, 101 yards, TD).
On defense, Ben Heeney logged seven tackles, six solo, while Victor Simmons was credited with two of the team's four sacks. Iowa State was limited to only 98 rushing yards, turned the ball over twice, and was badly beaten in the time of possession battle (37:33 to 22:27).
Heeney leads the Big 12 in tackles with 101, which is almost double that of his closest teammate. Michael Reynolds is tied for third in both sacks (6.0) and TFL (12.0). He leads the league in forced fumbles (five), while JaCorey Shepherd is No. 1 in passes defended (15).
Bowen deflected the attention of last week's win off himself, giving praise to the players instead.
"Our players finally get a reward for all the hard work and effort that they put into everything that they do. We have a tremendous group of young men down there who work just as hard as everyone else and have came up on the short end of those games so many times, and it means that they get to hold their heads high and be proud of what they did today and celebrate and have fun and do all those things that they came to Kansas to do."