Jayhawks Close out Road Slate at No. 8 TCU

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas football heads South to close out its road slate in the state of Texas with the No. 8-ranked Horned Frogs Saturday, Nov. 14. Kansas (0-9, 0-6 Big 12) and TCU (8-1, 5-1 Big 12) meet for just the 32nd time in the history of the two programs with kickoff slated for 11 a.m. on Fox Sports 1.

Saturday’s contest marks the 32nd meeting between Kansas and the No. 8-ranked TCU Horned Frogs. The two teams first met Oct. 10, 1942 in Fort Worth, Texas, where TCU won, 41-6. The Horned Frogs lead the all-time series 19-8-4, including an 8-2-2 mark in games played at Amon G. Carter Stadium. KU has lost the last three meetings with TCU since the Horned Frogs joined the Big 12 Conference in 2012, but have played them close with scores of 20-6, 27-17 and 34-30, respectively. In the last six meetings, Kansas has averaged 26.7 points per game compared to the 21.3 points per game that TCU averaged.

No. 8 TCU enters the weekend with the second-best scoring offense (46.7) and second-best total offense (621.4) in the FBS, and ranks third in passing offense racking up 395.7 yards per game in the air. The Horned Frogs have gained 275 first downs (101 rushing, 157 passing and 17 penalty) while scoring 54 touchdowns. TCU has gained 5,593 yards (2,032 rushing and 3,561 passing) from scrimmage while converting 53 percent of the time on third down (67-of-127). Heisman Trophy candidate, and quarterback Trevone Boykin leads the Big 12 and ranks third in the nation in passing yards per game at 374, and leads the nation in total offense at 441.1 yards per game. Boykin is also responsible for 224 of TCU’s 420 points which leads the FBS and ranks fourth with 29 touchdowns thrown, to go along with his eight scores on the ground. Outside of Boykin, the Horned Frogs rely heavily on Aaron Green in their ground attack has he has netted 796 yards on 149 carries and has reached the end zone nine times.

The Horned Frogs enter Saturday’s game with the fourth-best scoring defense and total defense in the Big 12, giving up 27.2 points per game and 396.1 yards per game, respectively. Teams have completed 159-of-305 of their passes for 2,104 yards and 12 touchdowns, while gaining 1,461 yards on the ground and 19 scores. Opponents average 162.3 yards rushing per game and 233.8 passing yards to make up 396.1 yards of total offense. Linebacker Travin Howard leads the defensive effort wtih 59 stops and ranks 15th in the Big 12 with 6.6 tackles per game. Safety Denzel Johnson leads the team with 8.0 tackles-for-loss while defensive end Josh Carraway paces the team with 4.5 sacks. Four different defenders have picked off at least one pass with Corry O’Meally paving the way with eight passes defended.

Since taking over the helm of the Horned Frogs in December 2000, Gary Patterson has become synonymous with TCU?football and Fort Worth. Patterson, the Horned Frogs’ all-time winningest coach with 140 victories, led TCU to a 2014 Big 12 Championship in just its third season in the conference. TCU won its sixth conference championship, in three different leagues, under Patterson. The Horned Frogs have won at least 11 games in eight of the last 12 seasons, including a 12-1 mark in 2014. Patterson received 10 National Coach of the Year honors in 2014. He was honored by the Walter Camp Football Foundation, AFCA, Associated Press, Home Depot, ESPN.com, CBSSports.com and Scout.com. He also received the Eddie Robinson Award, Paul “Bear” Bryant Award and Woody Hayes Award. Patterson has won a total of 20 National Coach of the Year honors in his 14-year head coaching tenure at TCU. In 14 seasons as a head coach, Patterson has coached 173 All-Conference selections, 15 First-Team All-Americans, 17 Freshman All-Americans and two Academic All-Americans. As TCU’s head coach, Patterson has had 36 players drafted with a total of 82 in NFL camps. The Horned Frogs have won eight conference titles with Patterson on staff in addition to posting 10 of the school’s 14 10-win seasons. The Horned Frogs have won at least 10 games in nine of the last 13 years.

The Jayhawks are one of the youngest teams in the country as they rank first in first-time players (39) and are tied for first in first-time starters (33). Among the first-time starters, 10 have been true freshmen or redshirt freshmen. On offense, the Jayhawks have started at least four freshmen in three of their last four games, including six (five true and one redshirt) against Oklahoma (Oct. 31).

Kansas is one of eight schools in the country to have started 20 or more different players on each side of the ball. KU has used 26 different players in the starting lineup on offense: three running backs, three quarterbacks, nine wide receivers, nine offensive linemen, one tight end and one fullback. On defense, the Jayhawks have started 20 different players: three cornerbacks, six safeties (including nickelbacks), four linebackers and seven defensive linemen.

Junior safety Fish Smithson has recorded 10 or more tackles in four-consecutive games for the Jayhawks after tying his career high at Texas (Nov. 7) with 13 stops. Smithson is the first KU player to post double-digit tackling efforts in four-straight games (10, TTU; 10, OSU; 10, OU; 13, UT) since defensive back Carl Nesmith accomplished that feat in five-straight. Niesmith finished that season with 103 tackles. Right now, Smithson leads the squad with 88 stops and if he were to finish the year atop the KU tackling charts, he would be the first KU safety since Darrell Stuckey in 2009 to lead the team in total tackles.

Junior safety Fish Smithson ranks second in the nation in solo tackles per game (7.6) and 17th in the nation in total tackles (9.8). Amongst fellow defensive backs, Smithson ranks second in the FBS in solo tackles per contest and his 9.8 total tackles per game ranks fifth in his position group. He leads the Big 12 Conference in both categories, and is averaging 0.8 more tackles per game than anyone else in the league.

Kansas returns home Saturday, Nov. 21, to open up its final homestand of the 2015 campaign against West Virginia. Kickoff against the Mountaineers is slated for 11 a.m., and the game can be seen on Fox Sports Net.

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