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Players to Watch: TCU

Jamison+Patton+poses+during+warmups+before+the+match+up+against+Oklahoma+at+Gaylord+Memorial+Stadium+in+Norman%2C+OK+on+Sept.+30%2C+2023.
Jacob Rice
Jamison Patton poses during warmups before the match up against Oklahoma at Gaylord Memorial Stadium in Norman, OK on Sept. 30, 2023.

Iowa State:

Abu Sama III – Running Back

With the Cyclones’ offensive line finally showing some growth in the run-blocking department against Oklahoma, Sama showed off more big play ability and has progressed a lot during his true freshman season. He broke out his longest run of the season against the Sooners, a 39-yard rush in the first quarter, and has proven himself as a solid offensive weapon when given the chance.

TCU is coming off of a game where it allowed over 200 rushing yards to West Virginia, and while the Mountaineers are looking like one of the top-rushing offenses in the Big 12, the Horned Frogs have shown all season they are no stranger to giving up big plays.

If Iowa State’s guys up front continue to progress and help out arguably their most explosive weapon in the backfield, Sama could have a career game as he continues to emerge as a playmaker for the Cyclones.

J.R. Singleton – Defensive Lineman

While the Cyclone defense hasn’t had much success getting to the quarterback, Singleton is one of the few defenders to record a sack and get consistent pressure up front. His veteran presence on the defensive line has made up for linebacker Gerry Vaughn’s absence, and he has the potential to blow up some plays in this affair with the Horned Frogs.

TCU is fourth in the Big 12 in sacks allowed (10), with five coming in last week’s game against West Virginia. Considering the Horned Frogs’ recent mistakes protecting the quarterback, this could be the game where the Cyclones finally get into the backfield consistently with Singleton spearheading the attack.

Jamison Patton – Defensive Back

The Iowa native has slowly made his way onto the field the past two games and against the Sooners proved why he moved his way up the depth chart of the Cyclone’s talented secondary. Patton compiled four total tackles including a shared tackle for loss with fellow freshman Jack Sadowsky.

The Horned Frogs have aired the ball out more than 35 times in three of their five games, so Patton and the rest of the secondary should have plenty of opportunities to make a play on the ball. While Patton has not necessarily played like a starter, the way he’s proven himself with the opportunities he has been given shows that he is determined to bolster his time on the field, and there is no better opportunity to do so than at home against an air-raid offense in TCU.

TCU:

Chandler Morris – Quarterback

In her first full year as a starter, Morris has gotten off to a hot start with the second-most passing yards (1,419) and touchdowns (11) in the Big 12 through five games. He has stepped into the Horned Frogs’ pass-heavy offense well, and despite a two-interception game in the season opener against Colorado, has shown his veteran knowledge against every opponent.

The Cyclones are coming off back-to-back games where they struggled to stop the passing game, and if Morris continues to decipher opposing defenses, Iowa State could be in trouble. Morris has also been efficient in spreading the ball out with five receivers with 10 or more receptions, combining for 65 receptions for 783 yards.

Emani Bailey – Running Back

The Horned Frogs are fourth in the Big 12 in rushing yards (968), led by Bailey with 538 yards on 100 carries. The Louisiana transfer isn’t much of a touchdown threat, but his ability to put TCU into scoring position is a huge threat to the Cyclones, who have averaged 123.6 rushing yards per game, including 157 against the Sooners on Saturday.

Bailey is coming off his worst performance of the season, averaging under three yards per carry against West Virginia, but the Horned Frogs overall struggled in the second half and trailed in the fourth quarter where Bailey rushed the ball five times. He has proven himself as a playmaker capable of breaking off a long run or two per game, which the Cyclone defense has struggled with all season.

Dylan Wright – Wide Receiver

Due to a few injuries this season, Wright hasn’t been the most available receiver for the Horned Frogs, but when he has seen the field, he’s made the most of his opportunities.

The Minnesota transfer is the team leader in yards per reception (20.8), and after missing three straight games, made his return against West Virginia where he snagged three balls for 60 yards including a 36-yard touchdown catch. Wright has caught touchdown passes in both games he’s played in this year, each for over 20 yards.

Iowa State has allowed four passing touchdowns longer than 20 yards in the last two games, so a big-time threat like Wright should be at the top of the defense’s watch list if he suits up this week.

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Jacob Rice, Visual Editor
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