The Iowa State Cyclones (0-1) will take on the TCU Horned Frogs (0-0) for a Big 12 showdown. At the end of the 2019 season, the Cyclones were sixth in the Big 12, with a 5-4 conference record and a 7-6 overall record. The Horned Frogs were tied for eighth in the conference and had a 3-6 record within the Big 12 and a 5-6 record overall. The last time these teams faced off was in October of last year, where the Cyclones had a strong 49-24 victory over the Horned Frogs.
Weak Passing Has Cyclones Dropping Their OpenerThe Cyclones entered into the season ranked 23rd in the nation. They did drop their bowl game at the end of 2019’s season, but they had quite a few highlights, and even in regular-season games that they lost, it tended to not be by a huge margin. However, that ranking will likely change after their home opener. They faced off against the Ragin’ Cajuns and ended up being completely steamrolled. The final score was 31-14 in Louisiana’s favor, with the Cyclones only scoring a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter. Those were scored by Kene Nwangwu and Breece Hall. Connor Assalley kicked the extra point on both touchdowns.
It's GAMEWEEK!— Cyclone Football (@CycloneFB) September 21, 2020
Iowa had a total of 303 yards in the contest, with 158 rushing and 145 passing. Passing is what really let the team down. This was rather surprising, as last season quarterback Brock Purdy set eighteen school records, including one for his 3982 passing total passing yards. The 145 yards was the lowest the team had seen in two years. Purdy only completed 16 of 35 pass attempts. Out of the teams 158 rushing yards, 103 of them came from a single player. Breece Hall, who scored one of the team’s two touchdowns, had 20 carries and averaged 5.2 yards a run.
Horned Frogs Set To Finally Begin SeasonTCU is having a bit of a late start. Initially, they were set to play their season opener against the SMU Mustangs on the 11th. However, due to both staff and athletes testing positive for COVID-19, the game was postponed. At the time of writing, there has been no announced date for the makeup game. Last season was the first time in twenty years that the Horned Frogs went three seasons in a row without winning at least eight games. It’s been a rough stretch of football for the program, and it’s unclear if that’s going to be much better this season. They have a remarkably green offensive group. Their defense is looking slightly stronger, even with the departure of their best lineman at the end of last season.
In 2019, TCU saw the emergence of quarterback Max Duggan. The freshman showed great promise under tough circumstances, though his game has quite a bit of room to grow. Duggan connected on 181 of his 339 attempts and had 2,077 total passing yards. However, he did throw ten interceptions. He only started in the final ten games of the season, and out of those ten he ended up playing six from cover to cover. In those six games, the team went 2-4. However, Duggan missed significant time in camp due to a heart issue and backup Matthew Downing, a transfer from Georgia, will get the start. Duggan, who was cleared to play, will now be the backup.
As a whole, the team had 4,892 total yards in the 2019 season. 2,448 of those yards were rushing, while the remaining 2,444 yards were passing. They averaged 204 rushing yards per game and 203.7 passing yards per game.
- TCU was 1-2-0 ATS in non-conference games in 2019.
- TCU was 2-4-0 ATS when playing at home in 2019.
- Iowa was 3-2-0 after a loss in 2019.
- Iowa was 2-1-0 ATS as the underdog in 2019.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
As mentioned, the Horned Frogs had to postpone their first game of this season. This puts them at a slight disadvantage to the Cyclones, as they’ve yet to be tested in an actual game. All the practicing in the world can’t prepare a team for the real deal, and while Iowa has had a chance to get their legs under them and work out a few early season kinks, TCU will be having those growing pains against the Cyclones. Other than that, there’s a worry as to Max Duggan. He’s a very talented quarterback, but an inexperienced one. If he gets into trouble, the team doesn’t have many options to bail him out. That sort of pressure is enough to make a green team like TCU antsy, and that’s just what Iowa needs to get one over on them.
Prediction: Iowa State Cyclones
Full-Game Total Pick
When these two teams square off, they tend to either be extremely high scoring, or extremely low scoring. On average, the point total between them is 28.91 across 11 games played. The last time they met up, they had a combined score of 73, which is well over the combined scores of the two games played before that. Both of these teams are entering the season with strong quarterbacks leading their team, which is always a big help in getting offense generated. Both Purdy and Duggan are players to watch in their own right, but when combined with the explosive nature of these teams when facing each other, the game is looking to be one of their high scoring affairs.