GAME NOTES: The 16th-ranked TCU Horned Frogs will make their Big 12 Conference debut on Saturday afternoon, as they take on the Kansas Jayhawks in Lawrence.
TCU opened up its season last week with an easy 56-0 win over Grambling State, giving the Horned Frogs their ninth consecutive win dating back to last season -- currently the longest active streak in the country. The win also gave head coach Gary Patterson his 110th victory, surpassing Dutch Meyer as the program's all-time winningest coach.
"It is really kind of amazing to be here, going into a new conference, having the opportunity to play in a new stadium and passing a legend like Dutch Meyer," Patterson said.
The Horned Frogs figure to be well prepared for their first conference game in the Big 12, as they have won 17 of their last 19 on the road.
Kansas' season has not started off as promising. After escaping with a 31-17 win against FCS foe South Dakota State at home in the opener, the Jayhawks fell victim to a last-second field goal in a 25-24 week-two lose to Rice.
"My biggest disappointment is that we didn't finish," head coach Charlie Weis said of the last game. "(We were) up by two scores in the game ... I think that there's plenty of blame to go around. We didn't finish on offense, we didn't finish on defense, and we didn't finish on special teams. When that happens there is a good chance you'll lose."
With respect to the all-time series which dates back to 1942, TCU owns a 16-8-4 advantage over the Jayhawks, although the teams haven't met since Kansas took a 17-10 decision back in 1997.
The TCU offense had little trouble dismantling the Grambling State defense in its season opener, compiling 531 total yards en route to six touchdowns.
The Horned Frog quarterbacks made history on the day. Casey Pachall started the game and completed all nine of his passes for 201 yards and three scores. Then Trevone Boykin came in and went a perfect 8-of-8 for 75 yards and a touchdown. The 17 completed passes without an incompletion is the most in FBS history.
"I guess if you were going to script a first ballgame, this is the way we'd want to do it," Patterson said.
Josh Boyce was the most active receiver on the day, hauling in four balls for 102 yards and two touchdowns, including a 66-yard score in the third quarter.
The TCU rushing attack was on point as well, gaining 255 yards, paced by Waymon James with 69 yards and a touchdown. B.J. Catalon (63 yards) and Boykin (57 yards, TD) were also effective.
The Frogs defense stifled the Grambling State offense in the shutout victory, allowing just 70 total yards. Elisha Olabode returned an interception 28 yards for a touchdown midway through the first quarter to extend TCU's lead to 21-0. Devonte Fields had three tackles for loss and a sack. Sam Carter and Stansly Maponga also recorded sacks.
The Kansas offense has been mediocre thus far, scoring a total of 55 points in two games, with an average of 385.5 total yards per game.
Many of the unit's struggles can be explained by poor quarterback play, as Dayne Crist has thrown for 313 yards and two touchdowns, but he's completed just over half of his passes (33-of-64) while tossing three interceptions.
Daymond Patterson has been Crist's most reliable receiver with 11 catches for 99 yards, although Kale Pick (seven catches, 103 yards) is more of a threat to make a play down field.
The running game has been the Jayhawks' saving grace on offense. Tony Pierson (244 yards) and Taylor Cox (200 yards) make a formidable duo. Each average more than six yards per carry and the two have combined for four rushing touchdowns.
The KU defense has played well on paper (21 ppg), but it failed late in the game last week as Rice mounted a fourth-quarter comeback. Huldon Tharp is the team-leader in tackles with 16 and he also has 1.5 tackles for loss and a half sack.
The secondary has come up with several big plays in the early going with five interceptions, with Bradley McDougald claiming a pair.
Playing on the road is always difficult, especially in your first game in a new conference, but TCU is a veteran team, battle-tested in games much more difficult than this one. Kansas should be able to get the running game going, but the Horned Frogs simply have too much talent in all three facets of the game for the Jayhawks to overcome.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: TCU 31, Kansas 10