When/where: 11 a.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence
TV/radio: ESPNU; KCSP (610 AM)
The series: TCU leads 20-8-4
The line: TCU by 29
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What’s at stake
Kansas will try to keep a streak going of recent competitive games with TCU. Since 2012 (when the Horned Frogs joined the Big 12), the two teams have played four games, with each being decided by 14 points or fewer. TCU has a combined winning margin of 34 points in those four contests.
Cheers if …
Ryan Willis gives KU some stability at the quarterback position. Coach David Beaty announced the sophomore as the starter on Monday, breaking a string of weeks where he’d remained mum about the Jayhawks’ QB plans heading into the game. KU certainly could use better production at the position, as Montell Cozart (13th) and Willis (15) both rank in the bottom three among all Big 12 quarterbacks in ESPN’s Total QBR measure.
Jeers if …
KU’s quarterback merry-go-round continues. Cozart said Tuesday that he believed he was going to play at some point against TCU, meaning Beaty still might be planning to rotate his quarterbacks throughout. Through four weeks, this hasn’t worked, as neither player has been able to gain confidence. KU’s offense also has suffered, as the team ranks last in the Big 12 in scoring offense and second-to-last in yards per pass attempt.
Jesse Newell’s pick: TCU 45-20
KU’s defense is good enough to keep this competitive. Defensive line standouts Dorance Armstrong and Daniel Wise are expected to return from injury, and Fish Smithson has quietly become one of the nation’s top coverage safeties according to Pro Football Focus. KU’s offense is still a mess, though, and it’s hard to predict a drastic turnaround after such miserable performances the last three weeks.
Three things about TCU
1 Running back Kyle Hicks is the only player nationally with more than 300 yards rushing and receiving.
2 Quarterback Kenny Hill played for Texas A&M in 2013-14 when Beaty was receivers coach there. Hill ranks second in the Big 12 and third nationally with 387 passing yards per game.
3 TCU leads the Big 12 with 16 sacks and also has at least one sack in 35 consecutive games.
KU offensive line vs. TCU’s defensive line: Though KU’s quarterback shuffle has been the biggest talking point, the Jayhawks’ struggles up front have been just as big of a reason for the team’s offensive sluggishness. In fact, the last few weeks, KU has almost completely abandoned the running game because of a lack of success. Offensive line coach Zach Yenser says the Jayhawks should be able to start the same five linemen in consecutive weeks for the first time since Week 2, and the hope is that continuity could result in better production Saturday.