No. 3 TCU vs. Iowa State Preview, Staff Picks

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(Nick Wilder/WHO-HD)

(Nick Wilder/WHO-HD)

AMES, Iowa — The Iowa State Cyclones (2-3, 1-1) host heavily-favored No. 3 TCU (6-0, 3-0) on Saturday in hopes of pulling off a major upset.

The Cyclones began their tough string of games against incredible offenses last week, losing 66-31 to Texas Tech down in Lubbock. The highlight of the game for Iowa State was redshirt freshman running back Mike Warren. He ran for a career-high 245 yards and continued to display his unique talent for such a young player. His performance went largely unnoticed due to Texas Tech racking up a school-record 776 yards.

“We got a heavy dose of speed and space on Saturday,” head coach Paul Rhoads said. “We didn’t need a wakeup call, but there is a realization of what’s ahead in the next seven games of conference play. If we don’t adjust to it, we’ll see more outcomes like we did (against Texas Tech).”

The Horned Frogs are neck-and-neck with the Red Raiders in terms of their offensive output. Quarterback Trevone Boykin, who is among the front-runners for the Heisman Trophy to this point, has this offense humming. TCU is third in the nation in both yards per game and points per game. It will be a tall task for the Cyclones to slow this team down on Saturday.

“A way to combat that is getting to those receivers, running backs and quarterbacks quick and bringing more than one guy there,” linebacker Luke Knott said. “It’s hard to tackle those guys in open space with just one guy. We need a group effort and guys rallying around the ball.”

Iowa State will likely be able to put points up on the board themselves in this Big 12 matchup. TCU ranks 53rd in the country in points allowed per game and 64th in yards allowed per game. The Horned Frogs have been much worse defending the ran compared to the pass, and Warren could be in for another huge day.

“I think I could probably handle a few more carries throughout the game,” Warren said. “I wasn’t really dinged up or anything (against Texas Tech). I feel good, nothing wrong with me so far.”

The Cyclones have lost 12 in a row against ranked teams and have beaten a top five team only once, Oklahoma State in 2011. It would take a heroic effort for Iowa State to pull this win out as the Horned Frogs are favored by 20.5 points. Job number one for Rhoads and his team will be trying to keep up with TCU’s offense.

“Our explosive plays have been high like we talked a week ago and we hit them again,” Rhoads said. “I think we had eight total (against Texas Tech), four run and four pass. If you’re having explosive plays, I don’t think you necessarily need to take shots down the field. If you’re not, it’s a possible means to get to them.”

Staff Picks

Keith Murphy: TCU

John Sears: TCU

Michael Admire: TCU

Andy Fales: TCU

Game Information

Location: Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, Iowa

Time: 6 p.m. CT

Television: ESPN2

All-Time Series Record: TCU is 5-1 against Iowa State