Unfortunately for the two squads, which meet Saturday in Fort Worth, September hasn’t treated them kindly. One of these teams will end the month with three losses.
With TCU reeling from consecutive defeats, it feels as though this matchup could come down to the mental state of the Horned Frogs. Maybe a revenge game versus the Cyclones will perk them up.
Iowa Stat at TCU
Kickoff: Saturday, Sept. 29 at 7 p.m. ET
Spread: TCU -10
Three Things to Watch
1. How tired is TCU?
The Horned Frogs have had a long two weeks. After losing to Ohio State and Texas on back-to-back weekends, TCU has to be feeling pretty beaten up by this point.
They have to play one of the more physical teams in the Big 12 now, so let’s see if they hold up.
2. Robinson tries to bounce back
TCU sophomore quarterback Shawn Robinson had a rough outing last week versus the Longhorns, turning the ball over three times in the 31-16 defeat. Robinson’s facing a similar defensive scheme on Saturday, which raises the question of how he and offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie will respond.
3. David Montgomery
Through three games, Montgomery’s season isn’t living up to billing. Iowa State’s star running back didn’t crack 100 rushing yards in a game until last week when he ran for 132 yards on 35 attempts versus Akron. The Cyclones need Montgomery to get going if they want their offense to operate at maximum efficiency.
Even with TCU's struggles, the Horned Frogs have done a pretty job against the run. Last week, Texas managed just 112 yards on 45 carries (2.5 ypc), although the Longhorns did score a couple of touchdowns on the ground.
When these two teams met last year in Ames, TCU got bogged down by Iowa State's bend-don’t-break defense. The Horned Frogs could only muster seven points after turning the ball over twice in the Cyclones’ red zone. That puts TCU in a classic revenge spot, and head coach Gary Patterson shouldn’t have much trouble getting his team all lathered up beforehand.
The ‘Clones will likely find themselves trying to move the ball on a defense that is keying on their run game. If so, count on quarterback Zeb Noland taking some early chances down the field on first down to loosen things up. A tight game in the second half with David Montgomery pounding the Frogs up front sounds like the best path to an Iowa State upset.
Even so, a motivated TCU squad will be tough to beat on the Horned Frogs’ home turf. Don’t be shocked if they come out firing and put the Cyclones in the uncomfortable position of playing from behind all game.
Prediction: TCU 28, Iowa State 14
— Written by Allen Kenney, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Kenney is founder and editor of BlatantHomerism.com and host of the Blatant Homerism Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @BlatantHomerism.