TCU opened its season with a 56-0 victory over Grambling State. The Horned Frogs haven't been receiving much attention so far, but their No. 16 ranking in the AP Top 25 speaks for itself. They are a team to watch in 2012.
The Horned Frogs will take on a Kansas squad in the process of rebuilding. The Jayhawks haven't had a winning season since 2008, but hopes are high now that Charlie Weis has taken over the program. A one-point loss to Rice last week leaves Kansas at 1-1.
Let's take a look at the key information for Saturday's game followed by a couple of players to watch as Kansas looks to upset TCU.
Where: Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, Kan.
When: Saturday, Sept. 15 at 12 p.m. ET
Listen: WBAP 820 AM (TCU) or KLWN 1320 AM (Kansas)
Live Stream Audio: TCU All-Access
Betting Line: TCU -21 (Vegas Insider)
Injury Report (via USA Today)
TCU: No injuries reported
Kansas: Kale Pick (questionable, ankle)
Key Storyline: How will TCU handle its first road test?
The Horned Frogs have several marquee road games on the schedule later in the season, including trips to face West Virginia and Texas. That makes getting comfortable in hostile territory one of the biggest keys early in the season.
On paper, TCU should have no problem beating Kansas. The Jayhawks don't have enough talent to keep up with the high-powered Frogs offense. But the road atmosphere can be an equalizing factor if the favorites aren't ready for it.
Getting the win to maintain an undefeated record is the main goal, but the coaching staff should be watching closely to see how certain players react to the environment as well.
Top 25 Implications
TCU moved up four spots in the AP poll after last week's victory. It was a nice jump considering the Horned Frogs only knocked off Grambling State and, with several top teams facing tricky tests, another one is possible with a win on Saturday.
The Horned Frogs have a schedule that's heavily back-loaded. The team finishes its season with five straight tough games, which means they will want to move as far up the rankings as possible before that brutal stretch.
What They Are Saying
Horned Frogs head coach Gary Patterson was pleased with his team's performance in the season opener, but said there is still a little room for improvement, according to a Yahoo! Sports report.
I guess if you were going to script a first ballgame, this is the way we would do it. We got a chance to play a lot of players. The one thing we have to work on is organization, especially with the No. 2 offense. We had to call some timeouts, but other than that it was what you wanted to start off with.
Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star reports Weis wasn't nearly as happy following Kansas' loss to Rice, but knows the journey to get the program back on track will take a lot of effort from the entire football program.
During the Big 12 coaches teleconference, Weis said on Tuesday:
You can’t just count on these guys to figure it out on their own. That’s one of the responsibilities of the coaching staff. We gotta help guide them through that.
TCU Player To Watch: Josh Boyce
Boyce showed off his explosive playmaking ability last week. The junior wide receiver regularly got behind the Grambling State defense en route to 102 yards and two touchdowns, including a 66-yard scoring play.
He finished two yards short of 1,000 last season and appears ready for a huge breakout campaign for the Horned Frogs. Since he can stretch the defense, it allows the entire offense to become more efficient and balanced like it was in Week 2.
The Kansas defense has struggled to stop the big play in recent years, so Boyce will be a popular target for quarterback Casey Pachall once again on Saturday.
Kansas Player To Watch: Tony Pierson
If there's one area where Kansas can cause problems for TCU, it's the running game. Pierson, a dynamic sophomore who makes up for a lack of size with terrific speed, has reached 120 yards in each of the first two games and scored two touchdowns in the opener.
He's averaging more than six yards per carry and is joined in the backfield by junior Taylor Cox, who has found the end zone in both games. The Jayhawks must lean heavily on those two backs if they have any chance to pull off a shocker.
The Horned Frogs held Grambling State to under two yards per rush last week. A similar performance will be necessary to keep the Kansas ground game from taking over.
Key Matchup: TCU QB Casey Pachall vs. Kansas pass defense
Pachall's numbers from last week are astonishing. He completed all nine of his passes for more than 200 yards and three touchdowns. While the level of competition wasn't high, it's tough to have that much success in practice let alone a game.
It showed the Kansas secondary exactly what it's up against. The Horned Frogs offense is built on quickness and efficiency, making it tough to stop on a consistent basis, especially for a defense that's in the process of trying to fill some holes.
Even though Pachall probably won't be able to put up video-game numbers this week, he should still have another big game as the Horned Frogs pick up a second straight win to start the season.
TCU 38, Kansas 21
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