MANHATTAN, Kan. – Winning the time of possession battle will be critical for TCU on Saturday when it heads to Kansas State for a Big 12 showdown. The Horned Frogs are 26-2 over the last five seasons when they hold the ball longer than their opponent - in this case the Wildcats, who are No. 2 in the FBS in time of possession at 35 minutes, 21 seconds per game.
TV: 2:30 p.m. ET, FSN. LINE: TCU - 3.5
The Horned Frogs, who like the Wildcats are coming off a bye following a loss, will look to ride Darius Anderson on several time-consuming drives. Anderson ranks fourth in the FBS with 7.6 yards per carry, 13th with 106.4 rushing yards per game and tied for 23rd with six rushing touchdowns. "They want to control the clock. They're going to try to come right at you in the running game and then big plays with play action," TCU coach Gary Patterson told the media about his alma mater Kansas State. "We've got to be more physical. We've got to tackle better. As we always say, it's a big boy ballgame." The Wildcats and first-year coach Chris Klieman will counter with James Gilbert, a senior who is averaging 5.7 yards per carry and is one of four Kansas State players with multiple touchdown runs this season.
ABOUT TCU (3-2, 1-1 Big 12)
The Horned Frogs convert 50 percent of their third downs, a rate that is tied for ninth in the FBS, and doing so against the Wildcats, who are No. 2 nationally in third down defense at 20.8 percent, will be critical in this game. Freshman quarterback Max Duggan, who has yet to throw an interception against nine touchdown passes, could be called upon to make plays with his arm to extend drives for TCU, which is seventh in the FBS in time of possession at 34:19. In the red zone, Duggan looks for tight end Pro Wells, who has seven receptions - three for touchdowns.
ABOUT KANSAS STATE (3-2, 0-2)
In addition to being one of the top scoring defenses in at 19 points per game allowed thanks to the play of Wyatt Hubert, Reggie Walker, Trey Dishon and Jordan Mittie, the Wildcats excel on special teams. Kansas State ranks in the top 20 in the country in kickoff and punt coverage by allowing fewer than 17 yards per kick return and two yards per punt return. Non-offensive touchdowns have also been a forte of the Wildcats as they lead the nation with 114 such scores since 1999, including a pair this season from Jonathan Alexander (fumble) and Malik Knowles (100-yard kickoff return).
1. Kansas State boasts 113 Big 12 victories. Only Oklahoma and Texas have more.
2. TCU has won four of the last five meetings with Kansas State, including a 14-13 victory at home last season that pushed its series lead to 7-5.
3. The Horned Frogs are 41-15 following a loss under Patterson.
PREDICTION: TCU 27, Kansas State 23