The turnaround is almost complete. Once left for dead, the Wildcats are now above .500 and just one win away from returning to the postseason. With TCU, Oklahoma, and KU left on the schedule I’ve no doubt this will happen. First up are the Horned Frogs, who make their first visit to Manhattan as a member of the Big 12 conference. These are the five things I’ll be watching this weekend:
1. Trevone Boykin: You should watch TCU’s suddenly do-everying playmaker, because the linebackers and safeties will certainly be keying in on him. Boykin finished out TCU’s season as quarterback last year after Casey Pachall left for therapy for his drug addiction, and filled in early this year when Pachall returned but broke his arm. Pachall is back, and Boykin is lining up all over the field (running back, wide receiver, and even wildcat quarterback). With TCU on its third running back, Boykin may lead the team in rushing+receiving yardage.
2. Ty Zimmerman’s Shoulder: Zimmerman had to come out of the game a bit against Texas Tech last Saturday. It’s difficult to extract any more injury information from Bill Snyder than the fact that Ty Zimmerman does in fact have two shoulders that he utilizes to play football, so we won’t know until game time how effective he’ll be. Zimmerman had an interception when he came back in the game after the injury occurred, but also missed one that he had a hand on and likely could have snared if he had full range of motion.
3. Offensive Line Play: This was probably the most disappointing unit at the beginning of the season given expectations, but has bounced back tremendously. The o-line is shoving people around, John Hubert is finding big holes, and the team didn’t attempt a single pass against Texas Tech the run game was working so well. If the big boys up front can push around TCU, Oklahoma and whoever faces K-State in a bowl game better watch out.
4. Curry Sexton’s Usage: Curry Sexton was expected to step into the slot following the graduation of 4th round draft pick Chris Harper, but not a lot was known about him beyond being a model citizen and effective special teams player. We now know he’s a dangerous receiver. The Abilene native had a career game against West Virginia with 112 yards on just six catches – an average of almost 19 yards per reception. He is second on the team in receiving yardage (although Tramaine Thompson missed two games). Sexton has also been a solid blocker in the run game. We’ll see if the coaching staff can find more ways to get him on the field.
5. Daniel Sams’ Rushing Attempts: It’s obvious K-State has the best chance of winning when the ball is in the hands of Sams – that’s why he had 27 rushing attempts against Oklahoma State and then 30 against Baylor. Yet the past three games have been blowouts, and he’s carried the ball 14, 13, and 11 times in those contests (for those wondering, Jake Waters had 10, 7, and 8 rushes the last three games). Hopefully Sams only has 11-12 carries against TCU, reducing wear and tear and keeping him fresh for Oklahoma.