TCU at Kansas State
When: 11 a.m. Saturday
Where: Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, Kan.
TV: Fox Sports 1
Radio: KCSP (610 AM)
Line: TCU by 6
The lowdown: TCU began the season unranked but is now the Big 12’s top threat to reach the playoff at 5-0. The Horned Frogs have already beaten Arkansas, Oklahoma State and West Virginia. Another victory will add to their undefeated record. Things have gone much differently for Kansas State. The Wildcats began the season ranked No. 20 and are now looking for a win that could help make up for a disappointing 3-2 start.
K-State key to success: Pressure the quarterback. It’s been difficult for K-State to generate a pass rush this season, and its attempts to hurry Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger with blitzes backfired tremendously, opening up huge running lanes for him to sprint through. That can’t be repeated against mobile TCU quarterback Kenny Hill. K-State defensive ends Tanner Wood, Reggie Walker and Kyle Ball haven’t recorded a single sack this season. Time for that to change.
TCU key to success: Remember last season when Jesse Ertz injured his throwing shoulder and K-State had to change up its offense before a home game against Texas? The Wildcats ran a lot that game, sprinkling in the occasional short pass. Expect a similar approach Saturday with Alex Delton taking over at quarterback. He ran for 79 yards and two touchdowns against Texas, leading the Wildcats back from a 24-17 deficit and forcing two overtimes. Running is his strength. TCU is allowing just three yards per rush this season, but K-State could be its toughest test.
TCU player to watch: Darius Anderson. The TCU running back has been electric for the Horned Frogs, piling up 465 yards and six touchdowns on 77 carries. He runs the 40-yard dash in 4.39 seconds, and is a threat to break away on every play. What truly makes him dangerous is fresh legs. Kyle Hicks (5.9) and Sewo Olonilua (5.1) both average more than 5 yards per carry, while Hill is also a threat to run.
Key matchup: K-State linebackers vs. TCU receivers. The Horned Frogs like to spread the ball around in the passing game. Eighteen different TCU players have caught at least one pass this season, and Hill is completing 69 percent of his throws. The Wildcats will need to be ready to defend running backs, tight ends and slot receivers in this game. That could be difficult without Cre Moore at nickelback. Johnathan Durham, Trent Tanking and Jayd Kirby will be asked to cover a lot of ground.
Kellis Robinett’s prediction: Kansas State 28, TCU 27. The Horned Frogs have been overachievers. The Wildcats have been underachievers. Here’s guessing things even out Saturday. Alex Delton’s speed should bring a new dimension to the offense and make up for a lack of on-field experience. The defense has played its best at home this season. TCU is good, but a K-State victory doesn’t seem far-fetched.
Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett