It's a homecoming today for TCU coach Gary Patterson. But he'd rather have a win than a parade though.
He hasn't been on the Kansas State football field in 30 years, but he needs to be successful today to keep the Horned Frogs' shot at reaching a bowl alive.
The Wildcats are one of the hottest teams in the country and that will make this challenge even tougher.
For that to happen, TCU is going to need a couple of key players to step up and win some of these key match ups against a very talented Kansas State squad.
LaDarius Brown vs. Kip Daily
TCU wide receiver LaDarius Brown has been becoming one of quarterback Casey Pachall's favorite targets the last few weeks as he is among the team leaders in receptions. Perhaps with all of Patterson's talk this week of Trevone Boykin's athleticism, maybe this opens more holes for Brown out wide.
Daily is a 5-foot-11, 180-pound senior cornerback for the Wildcats and he is a playmaker. He's got two interceptions this year, allbeit both against Umass, but he's also one of the team's leading tacklers. Brown has the size edge, but Daily is a scrappy corner.
James Dunbar vs. Ryan Mueller
TCU's senior offensive lineman has been labeled a leader by Patterson. There's not much more you can ask of a laeader than to try and contain one of the best pass rushers in the country. TCU quarterback Casey Pachall needs time to work in the pocket and Dunbar will be key if that's going to happen.
Mueller is the nation's leader in sacks with 10.5. The 6-foot-2, 245-pound junior end was a walk-on and that's something that is driving him this season. He's received a couple of Big 12 awards already and can win a couple national awards if he keeps this up.
Jon Koontz vs. Cornelius Lucas
TCU senior defensive end Jon Koontz has been steady this season. The Horned Frog defense has had to deal with a bunch of injuries, yet they keep performing well thanks in part to Koontz. He's got his biggest test of the season up against him today.
Cornelius Lucas is likely going to be a first-round draft pick this year and it's easy to see why. The 6-foot-9, 328-pound tackle plays a premiere position at a very high level. He's helped anchor the Wildcat offense that has been better in recent weeks.
Paul Dawson vs. John Hubert
One of the most pleasant surprises of the TCU defense so far has been Dawson. He's the team leader in tackles with 75 and has been an athletic boost to a linebacker core that has needed a shot in the arm at times this year. If TCU is going to win today, the linebackers are going to have to play well.
Hubert is one of the toughest runners in the country to tackle. He's got a motor that's tough to stop and is very difficult to tackle. He leads the KSU offense with 706 rushing yards and eight scores. He and the rushing quarterbacks will be a tough test for the TCU defense.
Trevone Boykin vs. Everyone
Boykin has been the center of a lot of talk this week about what he can and can't do. It sounds like we're going to find out exactly what he can and can't do today. It sounds like he will at least be at wide receiver and punt returner.
It wouldn't be much of a surprise if got to play some quarterback as well. He will likely be put in under center, or at least in the backfield, in red zone situations. It would be a surprise if he gets put on defense. Patterson is convinced he can play safety and linebacker, but don't expect to see that this game.