SoonersIllustrated.com is going to set the stage every week, breaking down Oklahoma’s upcoming game during the 2016 season.
Oklahoma Sooners (1-2) at No. 21 TCU Horned Frogs (3-1, 1-0)
When: 4 p.m.
Biggest question - - Will this be a turnaround moment for Oklahoma?
The Sooners need it to be a turnaround moment because this is the game that could decide whether Oklahoma is closer to its own 2014 version or the 2015 version. Starting 1-3 could start a tumble into Oklahoma’s worst season in quite a while. A victory would fuel Oklahoma to another Big 12 Championship. Although that’s a little less than what the Sooners were hoping for when the year started, it’s a high-quality parting gift. It has to start in Ft. Worth.
An educated guess: Against any comparative competition, TCU’s defense hasn’t looked like the elite group of the past. Oklahoma has an opportunity to get its offense back on track by running the ball more and finding space in quick routes – if they can get past an aggressive press defense. Joe Mixon is averaging less than 10 carries per game, but he is putting up numbers that should elicit more opportunities. Mixon hasn’t had more 18 touches in any game in his career and no more than 16 touches in any game this season, including kick-off and punt returns. Mixon gets more than 20 touches against TCU, mainly because it’s finally about time.
Player to watch:
How about Jordan Thomas? With all the talk about the struggles OU has had at the second cornerback position, Thomas hasn't exactly set the world on fire either through the first three games. OU needs a big play in the secondary, and Thomas needs to be that guy to set the tone and let everybody know it's time to follow him.
Hite – We will know a lot about Oklahoma in the first few drives against TCU. The Sooners have driven down into the red zone in every game this season on their opening drive. Expect that to happen a fourth time. Then expect at least two more scoring drives in the first quarter – or Oklahoma’s first five drives. The fire will be there for Oklahoma, because if it’s not, it’ll be a lot more telling. One of those scoring drives comes of Oklahoma’s first interception. With a double-digit lead in the second half, the Sooners hold on in a shootout but find no answers at cornerback – 43-35.
Przybylo – OK, we've heard for two weeks about OU finding its leadership and how the Sooners going into conference play will allow the secondary to make a lot more plays. It's time to put up or shut up for OU's bunch in 2016. Bob Stoops has never lost four of five games since he has been in Norman but that's what is at stake in this one. Since none of these matchups in the past have been blowouts, it's tough envision this going any differently. We'll stick with the Sooners for one more week, but it's now or never. Let's say 38-31.