TCU receiver Taye Barber and his teammates have been together on campus for more than three months, and now jump right into Big 12 play after having their only non-conference game wiped out because of the pandemic.
"Everybody has been itching to get back on the field," said Barber, a junior receiver. "Everybody has the motivation to play football again."
Iowa State (0-1) certainly feels the same way, though it has only been two weeks between games for the Cyclones, and not 10 months like for TCU. The Cyclones were in the Top 25 before a 31-14 home loss to Louisiana Lafayette, one of the three Sun Belt Conference teams with road wins over the Big 12 in season openers.
Saturday's game will be the delayed opener of Gary Patterson's 20th season as head coach of the Horned Frogs.
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"One advantage a TCU team has is Gary Patterson has been there for 20 years and there is real continuity to the defensive staff, and great continuity on the offense staff," Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said. "The other piece of it is who is their personnel. … That's probably the biggest unknown, the who, as much or more so as the what."
TCU's scheduled game Sept. 11 against SMU was postponed after a cluster of Horned Frogs players and staff tested positive for the novel coronavirus more than a week before that.
Asked this week what he liked most about his team, Patterson said he'd know a lot more about the young group once it played a game.
"We've worked hard. I think we have a good young chemistry group," Patterson said. "One of the things you have when you have small senior classes you don't have overall leadership. We have a lot of freshmen, redshirt freshmen and sophomores, and when that happens it's always different."