Despite the loss two weeks ago to Oklahoma State, everything is still on the table for TCU. If the College Football Playoff committee has shown the nation anything, it is their favorable outlook on one loss teams. However, this week against the Sooners will make or break the Horned Frogs season. This is not just a must win game. This is a game that the Frogs must dominate. Oklahoma is in the same spot as TCU. They both have one loss, but the difference is the timing of their losses. OU dropped the Red River Rivalry to Texas on October 10th, but it has not battered the committee as OU is right behind Bedlam rivals Oklahoma State at #7 in the latest CFB Playoff rankings. But it is an uphill battle from here on out for Gary Patterson and co.
Baker Mayfield is at the helm of the Sooner Schooner after his stint at Texas Tech. Mayfield is averaging 331.2 yards per game through the air while the offense is averaging 41.6 points per game. This next part seems commonplace for QBs in today’s game, but Mayfield can also get the job done on the ground as well with 301 yards and 6 TDs. The Sooners bread and butter, however, is their run game. Samaje Perine is quietly having a solid season in the shadows of Leonard Fournette of LSU and Derrick Henry of Alabama. Perine has 972 yards on 168 carries for an average of 5.8 yards per carry and 12 TDs. Oklahoma has proven they can handily beat teams through the air and on the ground. This will need to be the best overall game this young defense has played this year in order to win. Mike Tuaua and the d-line will need to get pressure on Mayfield early and often to help the secondary. And the secondary will need to make sure there are no breaks in coverage.
This Sooner defense is a stalwart one. They are only giving up an average of 19.7 points per game, 149 yards rushing per game, and 186 yards passing per game. The Sooner defensive line has given opposing offensive lines and QBs fits with 36 total sacks this season. With Trevone Boykin being a game time decision, the Frog O-Line will need to be prepared in case the elusive speed and skill of Boykin is not taking the snaps. Boykin’s status will be a big factor. With Bram Kolhausen struggling last week in a less than decisive win over the Kansas Jayhawks, one would think Foster Sawyer would take the reins if Boykin is unable to go Saturday in Norman. For Sawyer, beating Kansas is not much as far as accomplishments go. Not to mention, receivers Ty Slanina and the Frogs #1 target, Josh Doctson, are out for the rest of the year. The Frogs will either need Boykin in the game to pick apart the defense of Oklahoma with his veteran playmaking ability, or the offensive line will have to win the battle in the trenches to give Sawyer or Kolhausen the time they need to make their plays as well opening holes for Aaron Green. If Boykin does not play, Green will have to make plays to open up the passing attack for the Frogs.
This will be a game that will be won in the trenches. Whichever defensive front is able to cause more havoc for the opposing QB will win. I look for Tuaua and the Frogs’ D-Line to step up and come away with that one. The Frogs’ offensive line will be prepared regardless of who’s taking the snaps. TCU takes a close one in Norman.
PREDICTION: TCU 31, OU 28.