Oklahoma-TCU Pregame Notes

Under head coach Bob Stoops, Oklahoma is 36-1 at Owen Field and 6-0 in home openers. See inside for more news and notes previewing Saturday's OU-TCU matchup. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. CST. (Photo/Jeff O'Donnell)

The Matchup
#5 Oklahoma (0-0) vs. TCU (0-0)

11 a.m. CST. Owen Field (82,112) Norman, Okla.

Television and Radio
Saturday's game will be broadcast regionally by ABC. Dr. Jerry Punch (play-by-play), Terry Bowden (analyst) and Trenni Kusnierek (sideline) will call the game. To listen the OU radio broadcast live on the internet, click the link below and then click the 'audio' link next on the right hand column for 'Oklahoma vs. TCU'.

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The Series
Oklahoma leads the all-time series 6-3, but the Horned Frogs lead the series in Norman by a 3-1 mark. However, the Sooners have won four of the last five meetings. OU won the last matchup between the two schools, 10-9, in Ft. Worth in 1998.

The Rankings
The Sooners are ranked No. 5 in the Coaches Top 25 Poll and No. 7 in the Associated Press Poll. TCU is not ranked.

The Coaches
Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops is 67-12 as he begins his seventh year in Norman. TCU head coach Gary Patterson is 32-17 in his fifth season at TCU. The Horned Frog quarterbacks are coached by former Sooner offensive coordinator Dick Winder.

Home Sweet Home
Under Stoops, Oklahoma is 36-1 at home and 6-0 in home openers. Overall, the Sooners have won seven straight home games to begin the season dating back to, interestingly enough, a 20-7 loss to TCU in 1996. The Sooners also are currently on an 19-game home winning streak.

More Streaks/Records
The Sooners have won their last 15 non-conference games and are 19-0 in the month of September under Stoops. OU has also won 12 straight and 22 of their last 23 games against teams from the state of Texas.

About TCU
The Horned Frogs, who boast the 17th-best record in Division 1-A (42-18) over the past five seasons, hit a snag a year ago with an uncharacteristic 5-6 season.

Offensively, TCU returns five starters from an offense that ranked 16th nationally in scoring (32.91 ppg).

Running backs Lonta Hobbs and Robert Merrill anchor the offense, having each recorded 1,000-yard rushing seasons as freshmen. Last season, Merrill led the way with 753 yards while Hobbs wasn't far behind with 647.

At quarterback, TCU will give the reigns back to senior Tye Gunn. Gunn, who is 10-2 as a starter and the school's all-time completion percentage leader, played in just seven games last year before missing the final four games with an injury. Gunn completed 71 of his 131 pass attempts for 1,065 yards, nine touchdowns and just three interceptions.

Gunn is also not without talent to throw to at receiver. Junior receiver Corey Rodgers, who led the Frogs in catches (61) and receiving yards (836) last season, heads up a corp that returns two other wideouts with starting experience.

On the offensive line, TCU returns just two players with past starting experience — senior guard Shane Sims and senior right tackle Herbert Taylor — but the group consists of four seniors and one junior.

Defensively, the Horned Frogs took a step back from their usual dominance finishing the season ranked 103rd nationally in scoring defense giving up 33.9 points per game.

But don't expect the 2005 version of the TCU defense to be that bad again this season. According to Patterson, his defense will back to full strength and has dominated the offense in the spring and fall scrimmages.

The Frogs, who have been the nation's top-ranked defense twice under Patterson's tenure and in the top five three times, return seven starters, including the entire secondary — free safety Jeremy Modkins, strong safety Brian Bonner and cornerbacks Drew Coleman and Quincy Butler.

Butler is the team's leading returner in tackles (56) and interceptions (2). Coleman, who played in only six games a year ago because of a knee injury, drew praise from Patterson during his weekly press conference this week as a player who could develop into one of the top corners in the country.

On the defensive line, TCU is anchored by senior defensive tackle Ranorris Ray and sophomore right defensive end Tommy Blake. Ray was sixth on the team in tackles (38) last season and third in sacks (2.5). Blake was second on the team with five sacks and third with 5.5 tackles for loss.

On special teams, TCU returns junior kicker Peter LoCoco but will have a new punter in junior Brian Cortney. Last season, LoCoco connected on 9-of-15 field goals with a long of 47.

Junior receiver Corey Rodgers is TCU's top returning threat. Rodgers bring back any returns for touchdowns last season, but averaged 10.2 yards per return on punts and 23.3 yards on kickoffs.

Roster | Depth Chart (PDF) | 2005 Schedule | TCU Game Notes (PDF)

Patterson on Oklahoma
"I feel better playing this game than I did when we opened at Nebraska in 2001. We just didn't play very well offensively that day. We played exceptionally well defensively. I like my chances knowing I have a senior quarterback, two great running backs, experienced wide receivers and most of my defensive guys back.

"Oklahoma lost a lot from last year but still has a lot. Neither team knows what it has until the ballgame is over. I think the kids are excited about it, and they understand it's only one game. We let Texas Tech a year ago be more than one game.

"I read today that Bob Stoops is 36-1 in Norman. That means the odds are against us. I wouldn't mind being (the second team to win in Norman). We're going up there to win not to play well."

Stoops on TCU
"We're looking forward to the challenge of it. Coach Patterson and his staff at TCU have done an excellent job, so we need to be ready.

"They like to play a 4-4 front, and in the secondary they'll either be in quarters coverage, man coverage, some three-deep. They'll take their chances like everyone does and blitz you on occasion in certain formations to mix it up. As you watch Coach Patterson, who's been a longtime defensive coordinator and head coach now, he has always really committed to stopping the run.

"They're pretty diverse in their offense in that they run some option, they give you all your traditional I-back running plays, zones, powers and play-actions. They really try and hurt you with their play-action passes and option passes. We're prepared for it."

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