The Horned Frogs have been a wake-up call and a major scare. Most of all, they’ve been a thorn in Oklahoma’s side after losing by a combined 10 points in their first two seasons as a part of the Big 12 Conference.
“There’s no overlooking any team in the Big 12 or any team that we play,” Oklahoma offensive tackle Tyrus Thompson said. “Once again, when you overlook people, that’s how you lose to teams you’re not supposed to lose to. You have to respect everybody you play.”
Playing TCU close hasn’t been a matter of overlooking the Horned Frogs, but it might be a case of unfamiliarity. Like it or not, TCU is a strange opponent – much like West Virginia. New to the conference, the Horned Frogs are a new animal.
Before 2012, Oklahoma hadn’t played one of the closer geographical foes since 2005, when TCU came to Norman and knocked off Oklahoma in the season opener.
In addition, TCU doesn’t do much to hurt itself.
“They’re just very sound in the way they defend you,” Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. “. . . They just do a really good job of gap control and understanding really the discipline of where they need to be depending on what runs you’re putting out there.
“They just do a good job of playing disciplined defense.”
In the past two years, the Horned Frogs scored just one passing touchdown – on an 80-yard throw. Everything else was scored on the ground. This team could provide an even bigger thorn, though.
TCU, which enters the game undefeated, has a renewed passing attack with Trevone Boykin in his third year in the starting lineup, and the Horned Frogs come in ranked in the Top 25.
“It doesn’t mean anything,” Oklahoma defensive end Chuka Ndulue said. “They could be No. 1 or they could be No. 30. It doesn’t matter.”
TCU doesn’t come without its share of struggles, potentially masking the trouble that the Horned Frogs could cause. TCU has won just one Big 12 Conference home game, against Kansas, and lost to Iowa State during its first season in the conference.
The Horned Frogs have also lost five straight games to Top 25 teams.
That doesn’t remove the thorn from Oklahoma’s side, though.
“They always play us tough,” cornerback Zack Sanchez said. “The past two years, they always find a way to play us tough. It’s always a defensive battle. We kind of gotta outdo their defense. Those guys want to do the same to us. It’s a defensive battle.”