TCU focused on Big 12 opener against Iowa State
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — TCU coach Gary Patterson isn't worried about the College Football Playoff or that the Horned Frogs dropped out of the national rankings.
“I'm just trying to beat Iowa State. That's where all the mistakes are made,” Patterson said about focusing on those other issues. “Shoot, I'm fired up we're not in the (Top 25 ).”
The young Frogs (1-1), coming off a double-overtime home loss to Arkansas, play the first game that counts in the Big 12 standings Saturday in their third consecutive home game to start the season. It is a pre-noon kickoff against Iowa State (0-2).
Patterson reminded everyone this week that the Cyclones won in Fort Worth four years ago in what was TCU's first Big 12 home game after joining the league.
What Patterson didn't bring up was the unique circumstance surrounding the game in 2012, which came two days after quarterback Casey Pachall's DWI arrest and suspension. Or that the Frogs beat Iowa State 55-3 in the 2014 regular-season finale at home to clinch a share of the Big 12 title.
In TCU's loss to the Razorbacks, new quarterback Kenny Hill led TCU to 21 consecutive points to go ahead with 2 minutes left, before Arkansas drove for a tying score and the Frogs had a short field goal blocked with 10 seconds left.
“There wasn't as many tears in that locker room the other night, as much as I would have liked to have seen, for that close a ballgame, the way it turned out,” Patterson said. “A lot of that has to do with you have a lot of young guys that, they haven't put in enough heat here, they haven't put in that offseason work here.”
TCU has played more freshmen (12) than seniors (nine) this season.
While new Iowa State coach Matt Campbell will still be trying to figure out how to handle quarterbacks Joel Lanning and backup Jacob Park — both who have struggled so far — he knows that Hill provides a challenge for his defense. Hill, the former Texas A&M transfer, has started slow and finished slow in both of his TCU starts. He has thrown for 816 yards and three touchdowns and also leads the Horned Frogs with 138 yards rushing and five more scores.
“You see a guy that has the ability to make all the throws,” Campbell said. “When things break down a little bit, he's got the ability and athleticism to make plays with his feet.”
Some other things to known when the Cyclones and Frogs play at Amon G. Carter Stadium, where TCU is 75-15 under Patterson:
Iowa State junior Allen Lazard leads the Big 12 with 120 yards receiving a game, and is the first Iowa State receiver since 2003 with consecutive back-to-back 100-yard games. His streak of 25 consecutive games with a reception is a school record.
TRYING TO AVOID A TRIO
Iowa State is trying to avoid its first 0-3 start since 1997. That will be quite a task for the Cyclones , who are more than three-TD underdogs and ranked 127th out of 128 FBS teams at just 11.5 points per game. Campbell said he's “never been a one-quarterback guy” and indicated that both Lanning and Park, the transfer from Georgia, could play against the Frogs. Lanning has started the last seven games.
LOT OF YOUNGSTERS
The Cyclones and Horned Frogs have both already played six true freshmen in only two games this season. Iowa State had played only six true freshmen combined the past three seasons. TCU had 15 true freshmen see action last year.
Three of TCU's last four games have been decided in multiple overtimes, including last week's 41-38 double-overtime loss to Arkansas that snapped the Frogs' 14-game home winning streak. They finished the 2015 regular season with a double-OT home win over Baylor before their big comeback and triple-OT victory over Oregon in the Alamo Bowl.