No. 17 TCU takes on No. 19 Kansas in a battle of unbeaten Big 12 teams at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, Kan., on Saturday.
ESPN’s “College GameDay” will be at Kansas for the first time, too. Game time is scheduled for 12 p.m. ET, and it will be televised on FS1.
TCU (4-0) made a statement with its 55-24 victory against Oklahoma in Week 5. First-year coach Sonny Dykes wasted no time making an impact with an offense that averages the second-most yards in the FBS at 549.5 yards per game. Veteran quarterback Max Duggan continues to play at a high level, too. The Horned Frogs have emerged as a Cinderella story as a result.
Kansas (5-0), meanwhile, has emerged as one of the best stories of the season. Second-year coach Lance Leipold has flipped the program into a winner. Quarterback Jalon Daniels leads an offense that averages 41.6 points per game, and nobody thought GameDay would be in Lawrence on the week of the Red River Rivalry between Oklahoma and Texas and the Jimbo Fisher-Nick Saban showdown in Tuscaloosa.
That is college football for you. Here is everything you need to know about Saturday’s matchup between TCU and Kansas:
TCU vs. Kansas betting odds
Spread: TCU -7
Moneyline: TCU -265, Kansas +235 (Caesars Sportsbook)
This line opened at -6, and the full-point bump means there is faith in TCU and that high-octane offense being able to pull away on the road. The Horned Frogs’ last three games have hit the over.
Three trends to know
— Bettors love both teams this season. Kansas is 5-0 ATS, and TCU is 4-0 ATS. The Jayhawks have won S/U as an underdog three times in 2022. Will they get a fourth in a row at home? The Jayhawks are 3-3 ATS as a home underdog with one victory in six tries under Leipold.
— Kansas is trying to break a 45-game losing streak against ranked opponents. The Jayhawks’ last victory against a ranked team was a 28-25 victory against No. 15 Georgia Tech on Sept. 11, 2010.
— TCU has won the last three meetings against the Jayhawks, and they averaged 43.7 points per game in those victories. The Horned Frogs rank third in the FBS with 48.5 yards per game this season.
Three things to watch
— QB show. Duggan and Daniels have similar styles, and that should add up to a shootout in Lawrence. Duggan leads the FBS with a 202.18 passer efficiency rating, but he is mobile, too. Daniels has twice as many rush attempts as his counterpart. Duggan (11 TDs, 0 INTs) and Daniels (11 TDs, 1 INTs) have combined for just one interception. It has been impressive to watch on both sides.
— TCU spreads the wealth. TCU offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley has done a fantastic job, and that showed against the Sooners in Week 5. The Horned Frogs have four receivers with at least 10 catches and seven receivers with at least one TD reception. It’s a difficult offense to guard, and Duggan distributes the ball evenly. It’s an experienced group of receivers, and Kansas cannot just focus on one.
— Kansas’ pass rush. Here is another strange-but-true stat. The Jayhawks have 15 sacks this season – which is tied with Alabama. Defensive coordinator Brian Borland came to Lawrence with Leipold, and junior defensive end Lonnie Phelps has led the way with five sacks. That pass rush can ramp up at home, and Duggan has taken just six sacks this season.
Stat that matters
Who wins the yards per play battle? Duggan and Daniels are two-way threats that can challenge a defense. TCU is favored in part because their offense is churning out yards at an impressive rate. Duggan averages 9.8 yards per play between the run and pass. Daniels is at 8.6. That might not seem like a big difference, but it can be the difference in a one-score shootout.
TCU vs. Kansas prediction
Who wins the running game, and will they stick with it? TCU’s Kendre Miller (386 yards, 5 TDs) and Kansas’ Devon Neal (333 yards, 4 TDs) are solid running backs who can break off the huge run as a complement to their quarterbacks. Kansas’ ride has been fun, and this game will be back-and-forth all the way into the fourth quarter. The Horned Frogs have been a little better in closing time this season, and Duggan will protect the football down the stretch. TCU wins an entertaining game and prepares for its shot against No. 7 Oklahoma State on Oct. 15.
Final score: TCU 34, Kansas 27