TCU vs. Kansas State at a glance: Frogs looking for payback

Josh Hoover (Photo by Chris Leduc/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)

Saturday’s TCU-Kansas State showdown is a rematch of last season’s Big 12 Conference championship game and the Horned Frogs are looking to avenge their 31-28 loss. The 4-3 Frogs gained some traction last week with a 44-11 win over BYU led by freshman quarterback Josh Hoover.

Kansas State, meanwhile, bounced back from an ugly showing at Oklahoma State to beat Texas Tech on the road last week and remain in the hunt for another Big 12 title.

THE GAME
TCU (4-3, 2-2 Big 12) at Kansas State (4-2, 2-1), Saturday at 6 p.m. Central time
TV: ESPN2
Line: Kansas State by 6 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Series record: Kansas State leads 9-8.

KEY MATCHUP
TCU QB Josh Hoover against the Kansas State pass defense, which struggled against Oklahoma State but looked better against Texas Tech. The redshirt freshman threw for 439 yards and four touchdowns, each to a different receiver, in his first career start a week ago, leading the Horned Frogs to a 44-11 win over BYU. Hoover took the place of Chandler Morris, sidelined by a sprained MCL in his left knee.

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PLAYERS TO WATCH
TCU: Wide receivers JP Richardson and Savion Williams each caught six passes and scored a touchdown last week against the Cougars. Richardson finished with 104 yards and Williams with 77, and together they were a big reason why Hoover had so much success in his first career start; 13 different Horned Frogs caught a pass in the game.

Kansas State: QB Avery Johnson or Will Howard. Both could see the field, but there is also the very real chance that Johnson has taken the starting job completely from Howard, who led the Wildcats past the Horned Frogs last year but has struggled mightily this season. Johnson, one of the nation’s top dual-threat QB recruits, took over when Howard was ineffective against Texas Tech and went 8 of 9 for 77 yards while running 13 times for 90 yards and five touchdowns.

FACTS & FIGURES
TCU is 17-1 under Sonny Dykes when leading or tied in the turnover battle. … TCU linebacker Namdi Obiazor, their leading tackler, is the brother of Kansas State DE Chiddi Obiazor. … TCU RB Emani Bailey is second in the Big 12 and seventh nationally with 751 yards rushing. He has topped 100 yards four times this season. … TCU is allowing a Big 12-best 301.3 yards total in conference games. The Horned Frogs also lead the Big 12 with 19 sacks. … TCU ranks first nationally in offensive tempo, running 2.78 plays per minute. … Hoover is the first Power Five quarterback with at least 400 yards passing and four TDs in his first start since Washington State’s Anthony Gordon against New Mexico State in 2019. The four TDs were the most by a TCU quarterback in his first start since Casey Paschall against Baylor in 2011. … Kansas State had three interceptions against Texas Tech last week. SS Kobe Savage had two of them for the first multi-pick game by a Wildcat player since Kevion McGee at Iowa State in 2018. … Johnson’s five TD runs last week tied the school record held by offensive coordinator Collin Klein, who did it against Texas A&M in 2011, and Jonathan Beasley, who did it against North Texas in 2000.