Brandon Kitchin
The defensive line gears up to play on the team's practice day, Friday, Aug. 5, 2016.

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Much of the talk about Horned Frog football these days centers around the early forecasts that predict TCU and University of Oklahoma will dominate the Big 12 this season.

But this week, head coach Gary Patterson only wants to talk about Saturday’s 7 p.m. game against the South Dakota State University Jackrabbits in Amon G. Carter Stadium.

“We have not taken this game lightly,” Patterson said of the matchup against a Football Championship Subdivision team, rather than a Division I competitor.

When asked about the hype about the Frogs and OU, Patterson shifted the conversation to SDSU.

”Right now, I’m trying to beat South Dakota State, to be honest with you,” he said. “If I don’t beat South Dakota State, I won’t need to ask who the experts are.”

Patterson’s message has trickled down to his players.

“South Dakota State is a great team, they beat Kansas last year, and they have a lot of great players,” wide receiver Deanté Gray said. “Coach has harped on us to not looking ahead, and we’re looking at one game at a time.”

SDSU returns 15 of its 22 starters from last season’s team that qualified for the FCS playoffs.

Patterson said he thinks they’ll lean toward a more passing-oriented attack.

“They throw the ball more outside of two tight ends, one running back sets, they’re not a ground and pound group,” Patterson said. “They can, will but they’re not a ground and pound group.”

SDSU’s new quarterback Taryn Christion is a sophomore. But, Patterson is not overlooking the Jackrabbit offense. “I’m sure Taryn has progressed a lot through the spring and has become a much better passer,” Patterson said. “We’re preparing for all of it.”

SDSU is used to playing top schools.

“They’re a group that’s never shied away from playing people, and a few years ago, they played Missouri and Arkansas, and they played Kansas last year,” Patterson said. “They’ll go play one against somebody, so we’ve got to be ready to go.”

The Horned Frogs play well in their stadium. Their home record for the past 15 seasons stands at 74-14; and 11-4 in season debuts under Patterson.

Kickoff for Saturday’s game is 7 p.m. in the Amon G. Carter Stadium.