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Kansas State vs. TCU Prediction, Game Preview

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Kansas State vs. TCU prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins the game between the Wildcats and Horned Frogs.


Kansas State vs. TCU Game Preview

When: Saturday, December 3 – 12:00 p.m. ET
Where: Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, TX
Broadcast: FS1

Kansas State and TCU are already bowl-eligible. This week in Fort Worth is about adding an exclamation point to the regular season and building momentum heading into the postseason portion of the schedule. Both schools performed pretty well in November. The Wildcats have taken back-to-back games and four of their last five, including Bill Snyder’s 200th career win last Saturday over instate rival Kansas. The Horned Frogs, a disappointment for much of the year, were 2-1 last month, routing Baylor and Texas on the road. Oddly enough, TCU’s biggest struggles this season have come at home, where the team is 2-4 and has lost three in a row.

What To Know About Kansas State

The foundation of the 7-4 squad has been a veteran, league-leading defense allowing only 3.6 yards per carry. The Wildcats are fundamentally sound at every level, from Jordan Willis and Will Geary up front to LB Elijah Lee and SS Dante Barnett in the back seven. But K-State has been a more competitive team in the second half because the offense is finally beginning to shoulder more of the load. The team has not been held below 31 points in any of the last four games, and rookie running back Alex Barnes has joined quarterback Jesse Ertz to help ignite a ground game that began to roll downhill in November.

What to Know About TCU

The 6-5 Horned Frogs, true to their record, have been a model of inconsistency and unpredictably all year long. There’s been no rhyme or reason to their direction, though a lack of talent has not been Gary Patterson’s biggest issue. After bottoming out with a 52-46 loss to Oklahoma on Oct. 1, the defense has played pretty well. Setting the tone are linemen Josh Carraway, Aaron Curry and Mat Boesen, the catalysts of D that’s No. 7 nationally with 40 sacks. Kenny Hill is a microcosm of an unreliable offense that’s averaged 13 points during the team’s last three losses. Plus, neither Hill nor leading rusher Kyle Hicks was at full strength at the end of the Texas win.

Advantages

Offense: TCU. Inconsistent would describe both units. However, the Frogs are more likely to stretch defenses with receivers Taj Williams and KaVontae Turpin, who’s healthy again.

Defense: Kansas State. Both teams boast next-level playmakers, but the Cats are slightly better at making third-down and red-zone stops.

Special Teams: Kansas State. The Wildcats have been very good on special teams, both in the return game and with the specialists, punter Nick Walsh and placekicker Matthew McCrane.

Coaching: Kansas State. Patterson has lost some momentum in Fort Worth. Snyder is still going strong at 77 in Manhattan.

Intangibles: Kansas State. The Wildcats have been the more consistent team since the midpoint of the season. Plus, the Horns have been unable to hold serve at home this fall.

Matchup To Watch

Kansas State OT Dalton Risner vs. Carraway, Boesen and James McFarland

Risner has been one of the Wildcats’ cleanest pass protectors this season, and he’s only a sophomore. He and his fellow linemen will face a tough challenge in a Frog front that gets off the snap quickly and pursues with a hot motor. The O-line must hold their blocks long enough for Barnes and the rest of the K-State backs to get to the second level.

Kansas State vs. TCU Betting Odds

Spread: TCU -4.5
Over/Under: No line as of post

Kansas State vs. TCU Prediction

It’s a tossup game, so go with the home team, right? Not here. TCU has been so bad at Amon G. Carter the last three games that conventional wisdom goes out the double-hung. Plus, Kansas State is playing tighter right now than the Frogs, and the injury status of Hill and Hicks is cause for concern. The Cats will keep it conservative on the ground with Ertz and Barnes, splicing in an occasional downfield pop to Dominique Heath and Byron Pringle on play-action. And regardless of who fills out the TCU backfield, they’ll struggle to earn chunk yards against that fundamentally sound K-State defense.

Kansas State vs. TCU Score Prediction: Kansas State 26, TCU 23

MORE: 1-128 College Football Rankings – Week 14

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