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Kansas Jayhawks Football vs TCU Horned Frogs Preview

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What to look for in the game come Saturday morning.

West Virginia v Kansas Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Kansas hits the road in search of its first conference road win since ::checks notes::

::still checking::

::still checking::

::Yup still checking::

Aha! October 4, 2008, a 35-33 win at Iowa State, a game in which Kansas trailed 20-0 at halftime.

Yikes.

First Down

TCU is 2-1 so far on the season, with dominant wins over Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Purdue followed by a surprising 41-38 home loss to SMU in the Battle for the Iron Skillet. (Texas is weird.) Anyway, despite the loss the SMU, TCU has moved up in the S&P+ rankings from a preseason mark of #34 to their current mark at #28.

Second Down

Max Duggan has surpassed K-State transfer Alex Delton for the starting job. Delton was completing under 40% of his passes, but Duggan hasn’t exactly been stellar - he currently sits at a 50.6% completion rate.

TCU’s struggling passing game has greatly affected WR Jalen Reagor, who had 1,061 receiving yards last year. Reagor is currently on pace for just 408 yards in 2019 (not counting a potential bowl game). He has yet to have a 75+ yard receiving game in 2019, something that happened seven times in 2018 - including 8 catches for 177 yards against KU.

Third Down

As noted over at Frogs O War, TCU’s defensive line has recorded zero sacks so far in 2019. Meanwhile, Carter Stanley has been dropped six times this season. TCU has a talented, if inexperienced, defensive line. Stanley has shown the ability to scramble out of trouble, but if he has a clean pocket it could be a long day for the Frogs.

That said, Kansas is currently -6 in turnover differential on the season. The KU defense has yet to force a turnover against FBS competition after recovering two fumbles against Indiana State in Week 1. Meanwhile, TCU is at -1 on the season, a mark which includes five lost fumbles versus just one INT thrown by TCU quarterbacks.

Fourth Down

The ultimate key to this game may come down to the Kansas rush defense versus the TCU rush offense. TCU RB Darius Anderson is averaging 9.0 yards per carry on 41 attempts, while Sewo Olonilua is at 5.4 ypc on 30 attempts.

That said, the Kansas defense has already performed decently against the run so far this season. Boston College had 228 rushing yards, but averaged 4.9 per attempt and was repeatedly put in passing situations on third down. West Virginia had 192 rush yards, but just 4.0 per attempt. The Jayhawks have been avoiding giving up the big plays, and that has kept them in games.

Game Notes

We are less than two years removed from a running clock the last time Kansas visited Fort Worth, an embarrassment broadcast on national network TV in prime time.

We are also less than one year removed from a butt fumble that gave KU the win, a game after which then-head coach David Beaty admitted he didn’t know a special teams rule. That embarrassment - for both teams - was fortunately NOT on prime time network television.

Since TCU joined the Big 12, they have met Kansas seven times. There’s been the one blowout two years ago. Two games have been one-point affairs, including the butt fumble. Then, there have been 2 two-score games and 2 one-score games. Surprisingly, it’s been a very competitive series.

Kansas has yet to allow an opponent to score 30 points this season, something that happened four times last season.

Carter Stanley is now a top-10 quarterback in Kansas football history, at least in terms of passing yards.