Saturday night TCU and Oklahoma square off in a key, late season Big 12 matchup. When the Big 12 scheduled this game it’s probably safe to say that they didn’t foresee the Sooners being an 11-point favorite with TCU limping into the game on fumes.
Other than one small bump in the road, Oklahoma’s season has been a resounding success with most fans believing the Sooners have returned to glory. For them, this looks like a statement game before they head to Bedlam next weekend.
For TCU it’s been a season of close calls until the Horned Frogs got exposed by Oklahoma State two weeks ago. Unfortunately for the Frogs, the hangover from their loss to the Cowboys carried over to last weekend when TCU struggled to put away Kansas at home. With the number of injuries TCU has sustained this year, it’s somewhat remarkable that they’ve made it to 9-1 on the season. The Frogs are looking to right the ship and hopefully find some of the magic that Texas found against the Sooners earlier this season.
In either case it’s safe to say that whoever losses this game will have their College Football Playoff hopes snuffed out.
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 21st, 7:00 CST
LOCATION: Oklahoma Memorial Stadium (Norman, OK)
FORECAST: Clear with winds 4-6 MPH, 34° F
TV: ABC, WatchESPN
BETTING LINE: Oklahoma -11, O/U 67
#18 TCU HORNED FROGS 9-1 (6-1)
The Horned Frogs were dealt a huge blow with the announcement that Josh Doctson is out for the remainder of the season on Wednesday. That news, along with the fact that Trevone Boykin may be hobbled, makes the task of beating the Sooners even more difficult. The Horned Frogs have dealt with injuries all season and found a way to win nine games so this situation isn’t one that is unfamiliar to TCU.
In the event that Boykin is unavailable the Horned Frogs will be relying on either freshman Foster Sawyer or senior Bram Kohlhausen. In either case the Horned Frogs offense will be severely limited as they won’t have their two best players. This game might come down to either back up quarterbacks ability to find the open receivers quickly and get rid of the ball.
KEYS TO THE GAME FOR TCU
Protect the quarterback – No matter who lines up for the Horned Frogs at quarterback the offensive line will need to have their best game of the season. The Sooners have one of the best defensive lines in the Big 12 and you can bet that they’ll be pinning their ears back on Saturday.
Pass defense – The Horned Frog defense got burned badly by Mason Rudolph and Oklahoma State’s receivers, in order to avoid a similar type of game the defense will need to shut down the Sooners passing game. The emphasis here has to be on containing big plays, TCU might not be able to completely shut down the Sooner passing attack but limiting big plays will go a long way in keeping them in this game.
Win the turnover battle – This game doesn’t set up well for the Horned Frogs at all, in order to stay in this game they’ll need to protect the ball and capitalize on any mistakes that Oklahoma makes. An early turnover would go a long way to quieting what will be a raucous Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
#7 OKLAHOMA SOONERS 9-1 (6-1)
Oklahoma has been absolutely steam rolling opponents since it’s loss to Texas in early October. Since the loss, the Sooners have been wining their games by an average of 38.4 points per game. There is no doubt that the Sooners trip up against Texas woke them up in a big way.
Sooners fans are also buzzing about the possibility that Baker Mayfield could be a Heisman level candidate for the team. His statistics for the season are awfully impressive and with a wide open race for the Heisman it’s not out of the realm of possibility. Oklahoma will need for Mayfield to keep driving the offense at a high level for this team to have any hope of beating Oklahoma State in the Bedlam game next Saturday.
KEYS TO THE GAME FOR OKLAHOMA
Break Them Early – It’s been a rough couple of weeks for the Horned Frogs, first they lost to Oklahoma State and lost their best receiver and now Trevone Boykin is less than 100% healthy. There is a very good chance that if Oklahoma can get up by a couple of touchdowns early the Horned Frogs might tap out and quit before the end of the first half.
Pressure The Quarterback – You can bet that Mike Stoops will bring the house on blitzes as often as possible no matter who is playing quarterback for TCU. With a hobbled Trevone Boykin or either of the TCU backups on the field it should be a field day for the Sooners front seven.
Let It Fly – Anyone who watched the Oklahoma State game saw the TCU secondary exposed time after time. If Baker Mayfield was introduced to Heisman voters last week then this should make for a really amazing encore with big stats and lots of opportunities to run the score up.
BY THE NUMBERS
|3rd Down Con||50.7%||46.3%|
|Opp 3rd Down Con||29.1%||40.7%|
|Sacks Given Up||1.2||3.0|
|Redzone Scoring %||76.8%||87.9%|
|Field Goal %||80.0%||82.4%|
TCU will come out with a lot of fire and emotion, but after the last couple of weeks, it won’t last against an Oklahoma team that is absolutely rolling. Expect for this one to be competitive early with the Sooners having a comfortable lead by halftime. The biggest dilemma for Oklahoma on Saturday should be whether or not to let TCU keep it within a few scores so the Horned Frogs don’t drop completely out of the rankings. A complete blow out might actually hurt the Sooners chances of making it into the College Football Playoff, yes this the weird world we live in now.