TCU-Kansas Preview

The Associated Press

TCU's season opener against a much weaker opponent couldn't have gone much better.

The Horned Frogs, winners of an FBS-best nine in a row, are hoping to make an even bigger statement when they open conference play Saturday.

Making its much-anticipated Big 12 debut, No. 16 TCU visits a Kansas team hoping new coach Charlie Weis can help turn around its woes against ranked teams.

After going a combined 77-13 over the previous seven seasons as part of the Mountain West, TCU (1-0) is hoping to prove it belongs among the NCAA's elite with a move to the Big 12. The Horned Frogs kicked off the year in impressive fashion last Saturday, blowing out Grambling State 56-0.

"I guess if you were going to script a first ball game, this is the way we'd want to do it," said Gary Patterson, who earned his 110th career victory to surpass Dutch Meyer and become the winningest coach in school history.

"To be here is kind of amazing, to be a part of where you're going into a new conference and ... to get a chance to follow a legend and break that record is obviously pretty neat. It may not sink in, we've got too much in front of us."

The Horned Frogs now head to Lawrence to take on the Jayhawks (1-1), who beat South Dakota State 31-17 on Sept. 1 but suffered a disheartening 25-24 home loss to Rice last Saturday. Kansas led 24-16 with less than five minutes remaining but lost on a 45-yard field-goal as time expired, falling to an Owls team which went 4-8 last year and was blown out in its 2012 opener.

"The number one thing they have to understand is it's not OK to lose," Weis said. "When you don't close out a game on offense, you don't close out a game on defense and you don't close it out on special teams that's just not acceptable, and that's just the way it is.

"The assistants and I have to do a better job of teaching and learning how to finish a game."

Despite the Jayhawks' latest result, Patterson knows his team can't afford to take Saturday's matchup lightly.

"We have a Kansas team in our first Big 12 opponent that is vastly improved in spite of losing a tough one (last weekend)," Patterson said. "They will come back with a vengeance."

Maybe that will be true in Weis' first year with the program, but Kansas showed little fight against Top 25 foes before his arrival. The Jayhawks have been outscored by an average of 31.5 points during a six-game losing streak to ranked schools. Three of those came last season - two at home - and none were decided by fewer than 30 points.

Kansas surrendered 403 yards of total offense, including 236 through the air, against Rice and could be hard-pressed to slow down the Horned Frogs' passing game.

Casey Pachall and Trevone Boykin combined to complete all 17 of their passing attempts against the Tigers - the most in FBS history without an incompletion. Boykin also rushed for 57 yards and a touchdown on five carries.

"Coming out all week, we were talking about how we can't play down to other teams' levels, and we knew that coming in," said Pachall, who threw three of the team's four touchdown passes. "Everybody from the get-go, in the locker room, had the right mindset and the right focus about them, and we were able to do what we did."

The defense also came up big with three sacks and an interception. TCU outgained Grambling State 531-70 in total offense.

"I can't wait to go out there and have our Big 12 game," defensive end Stansly Maponga said. "I'm ready for it."

Maponga and the Horned Frogs will need to be wary of Tony Pierson, who has averaged 6.3 yards per carry in rushing for a combined 244 yards in Kansas' first two games.

Quarterback Dayne Crist, meanwhile, has struggled in his first season with the Jayhawks after transferring from Notre Dame. He's completed 33 of 64 passes for 313 yards, throwing two touchdowns and three interceptions.

TCU owns a 16-8-4 advantage in this all-time series but has lost the last three matchups. The schools haven't met since Kansas won 17-10 on Sept. 6, 1997.

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