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2023 Iowa State Football Preview: TCU

Time for the Jack Trice uniforms

Iowa State (2-3) VS TCU (3-2)

7pm CST


Last Time Out....

Iowa State took it in the stones against Oklahoma. The Cyclones hung in there in the first half but the wheels fell completely right after a blocked punt. The Cyclones had about 9 point swing based on the blocked punt alone. One could say Iowa State certainly didn’t have a chance last Saturday but the mistakes plagued them big time and it made it the 30-point margin.

TCU Tidbits

Following their run to the National Championship game a season ago the Horned Frogs are sitting at 3-2 on the season. Last week they fell to West Virginia 24-21 in Fort Worth. Chandler Morris is back following last season after an injury pathed the way for Max Duggan to lead TCU to the title game.

Iowa State Offense

The Cyclones put up 352 yards of offense on Oklahoma and a ton of big plays. The problem was, most of it came in the first half. Rocco Becht threw for 188 yards, two touchdowns, and two critical interceptions, one of which was a pick-six on the first drive of the game.

NCAA Football: Iowa State at Oklahoma Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

What you can take from this one is the run game finally found some room to go. I think you can attribute that to the pass-first approach and allowing the offensive line to be more free in their approach. The Cyclones ran for 150 yards and Abu Sama was the star of it all. Sama ran for 67 yards on 7 carries. As a team, the Cyclones averaged 5.6 yards per carry. Which is a tremendous improvement.

The next step in all of this is to put it all together on a consistent basis. The offense is not a finished product right now but it is trending in the right direction.

TCU Defense

Another week. Another team that can stop the run. TCU has the 32nd-ranked rushing defense in the country allowing only 3.2 yards per rush. Which just happens to be right around Iowa State’s average of 3.0 on the season. The defensive front for TCU always has been one that is a problem for opposing offenses.

Let’s keep the trend going here. Iowa State has faced it’s fair share of great linebackers to kick off this season and TCU has two that happen to be the leading tacklers for the Horned Frogs. Nandi Obiazor and Jamoi Hodge have tallied 71 total tackles between the two of them. Iowa State has been able to neutralize linebackers lately by getting them on skates in the passing game. It will have to be the same this week.

Iowa State is going to have to attack once again through the air. TCU doesn’t get home to the quarterback as much as they would like and have given up more through the air this season than on the ground. Another opportunity to see the growth from Rocco Becht

Verdict - TCU

Iowa State will have its work cut out for them offensively once again. I am taking TCU here but it’s close. While the stats say TCU can control here, they have had their struggles stopping teams as well. Iowa State will need to score over 20 points to have a shot.

Iowa State Defense

I am not going to beat a dead horse because much has been said about he struggles defensively. What needs to change this week is pressure on the quarterback. Iowa State allowed Dillon Gabriel to cook a full course meal every drop back last week and they didn’t generate enough pressure two weeks ago against Oklahoma State either. The Cyclones are sacking the quarterback 2% of the time which is one of the lowest rates in the country.

Iowa State still remains solid in the run. They haven’t given up too much in that area over the course of the struggles the last two weeks. If you exclude a few plays of course. What you can watch here is the Iowa State linebackers while they are young they have been struggling a bit to contain and keep up. While I dont envision it to be a long term problem it has shown up in recent weeks.

TCU Offense

Chandler Morris is back after sustaining an injury that gave way for Max Duggan last season. Now he is the second-leading passing in the Big 12 conference. Morris has thrown for 1,419 yards, 11 touchdowns and 3 interceptions on the season. Morris has also been very accurate with the football completing 66% of his passes this season.

NCAA Football: West Virginia at Texas Christian Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

To pair with him is the Big 12’s second-leading rusher Emani Bailey. The junior running back has rushed for 538 yards and two touchdowns this season. He is averaging 5.8 yard per carry and makes things look easy every time he touches the ball.

We talked this week on the Night Cap about teams picking on Myles Purchase and staying clear of TJ Tampa. For good reason but expect Purchase to get a full dose of the leading receiver for the Horned Frogs in JP Richardson. The junior has 272 receiving yards and one touchdown on the season.

Verdict - Toss Up

I don’t believe Iowa State’s defense is as bad as they have been the last two weeks, but we have seen what stress can do to their secondary. The defense will be tested but it would be to the magnitude it faced last Saturday. Who makes enough plays in this matchup?

Special Teams- TCU

Iowa State had a punt blocked against Oklahoma. Instantly I put them down in this one just because of that. No more of that, please.

Winning Scale 1 to 10

It’s the Jack Trice game folks! Emotion and energy will fuel this one! On a scale from 1 to 27, Iowa State has approximately a 13.5 chance of winning.

Final Analysis

Iowa State has an opportunity of winnable games coming right up and it will make or break their postseason hopes. This one you have to get off the bus and put yourself in position to win from the start. It’s going to be a night of emotion and energy as stated before. Can Iowa State continue to take steps forward offensively? Will the defense return to form? These are huge questions, and I can’t wait to see what happens.

Score Prediction

Iowa State - 21

TCU - 20