Game 8: TCU at Kansas – Preview and Prediction

Opponent: TCU

Opponent’s Record: 3-4 (1-3 in Big 12 play)

Location: David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, Lawrence, Kansas

Game time: Saturday, October 27, 2018 at 3:00 PM

TV channel: Fox Sports 1 or Fox Sports Go

Radio: 810 WHB

Line: TCU -13.5

TCU is limping into this week, down their starting quarterback and missing their most dynamic playmaker. David Beaty’s squad needs to take advantage in order to pick up his second Big 12 win.

While most of KU’s fanbase is abuzz with the basketball trial verdict and the opening exhibition game, the Jayhawk football team takes the field Saturday against an undermanned TCU squad. Earlier this week, TCU head coach Gary Patterson announced that star receiver Kevontae Turpin was dismissed from the team. Adding insult to injury, TCU’s starting quarterback is out for the rest of the season after having shoulder surgery. KU’s ability to create takeaways will dictate the outcome of this game. On the other side, the offense will need to take advantage of good field position against the Horned Frogs.

When TCU has the ball

Michael Collins will get the start in place of the injured Shawn Robinson at quarterback. Collins proved himself a bit in relief of Robinson in TCU’s loss to Oklahoma. He threw two touchdowns, but he was also intercepted once. On the outside, TCU also loses their best playmaker in Kevontae Turpin. TCU, as always, has a bevy of speed at receiver that will cause problems for KU’s secondary. Look for the explosive Jalen Reagor to make a few plays for TCU on the outside.

There was some controversy last week when KU safety Mike Lee was ejected from the game for targeting. Fortunately, Lee is available for Saturday’s game after some worry that he might be suspended. The Jayhawks will need him and every speedy player on the defense to keep up with TCU. It’s been fun to watch Hasan Defense and Corione Harris develop at corner this season, and tomorrow should be a good opportunity for the two to show out against a backup quarterback.

This aspect of the game on Saturday is hard to predict. Collins has hardly played this season and Turpin was a massive part of the TCU offense. Gary Patterson is a good coach and he will prepare his team for Saturday. The key is KU’s playmaking ability. I think Patterson and offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie will throw some unique looks at the Jayhawks to make things easier for Collins. Can KU’s defense diagnose and attack? So far this season, they have answered the call.

When KU has the ball

After last Saturday’s paltry offensive performance, David Beaty announced that he was going to watch the film and evaluate the quarterback position. With the way Peyton Bender has been playing, it’s hard to rationalize putting him out there. This offense has been a travesty. TCU’s defense, outside of games against Oklahoma and Ohio State, has been very stout. They will miss some starters in the secondary, but Gary Patterson’s patented 4-2-5 defense always provides a test for KU. For the billionth week in a row, the mantra on offense is the same: feed Pooka Williams. KU needs to find a way to get the star freshman the football early and often.

Last week, KU’s biggest issue was finishing in the red zone. They were handed the ball inside Texas Tech’s 20 multiple times and only came away with three points. That is unacceptable. On Saturday, they are going to have chances against a banged up TCU offense. Beaty needs to hand the ball off to one of the Jayhawk’s talented backs and let them do the work near the goal line. I have serious doubts KU can get to 20 points against TCU.

Prediction

This game could get sloppy. TCU has turned the ball over three times in each of their last four games. KU leads the nation in turnover margin. I think this game, uncharacteristic for the Big 12, hovers around 40 points total. TCU doesn’t have the depth like they had last year to pull away, but KU doesn’t have the offense to keep up. S&P+ predicts KU will cover. I think a 10-point final margin is in reach. As we close on the final month of the David Beaty era, the offense has been paltry for all four years of his tenure. Saturday will be more of the same.

TCU 27, Kansas 16 (TCU -13.5)

Season record: 4-3, 2-5 ATS

Last week’s prediction: Texas Tech 42, Kansas 22 (actual Texas Tech 48, Kansas 16)