Does TCU Have Enough Ammunition?

TCU started the 2005 season with a 17-10 victory over 5th-ranked Oklahoma, and the Sooners haven't lost at home since. Not only will OU be playing for revenge Saturday, but the Sooners are coming off a bye week. Does TCU have enough bullets to beat them?

TCU Head Coach Gary Patterson had a gleam in his eyes at Tuesday's media lunch. He seemed excited, almost giddy, as he answered questions about Saturday's game against the No. 2 Oklahoma Sooners. Patterson quoted Achilles (Brad Pitt) from the movie Troy, giving the upcoming game an epic tone.

"It the first scene; it's a battle, and he's (Achilles) back sleeping," Patterson said "They call him to come up, and there's this huge warrior. A guy comes back and says ‘I don't want to fight him. Did you see the size of him?' And he (Achilles) says ‘That's why they won't remember your name.'"

But Oklahoma already remembers Patterson and the Horned Frogs. TCU started the 2005 season with a 17-10 victory over 5th-ranked Oklahoma, and the Sooners haven't lost at home since. Not only will OU be playing for revenge Saturday, but the Sooners are coming off a bye week. Oklahoma should be well rested and ready for a Trojan-war-like battle. The prospect of playing one of the nation's best teams seemed to energize Patterson.

"This is what you get into the business for," Patterson said. "You play these games, because this is what college football is all about. You want to win all of your ballgames, but the key is that you want to be pushed. They call them measuring stick games because we want to see where we are as a program."

Oklahoma will be the heavy favorite in the game, but the No. 24 Frogs have flown under the radar so far this season. The media will play up the David-vs.-Goliath angle, but TCU may surprise. So far this season, both teams are relatively untested. In three games, Oklahoma has outscored its opponents by 122 points. TCU has outscored its opponents by 141 points in four games. Something will have to give Saturday. Patterson is grateful to have all of his players healthy four games into the season.

"When you get into those games, you have to make sure you have all of your bullets," Patterson said. "I don't know if we have enough bullets, but I guarantee we're going to fire them."

The Frogs defense ranks No. 1 in the nation in run defense, total defense, and first downs allowed. TCU ranks third in pass defense efficiency and sixth in scoring defense. The Frogs have established these impressive defensive numbers against New Mexico, Stephen F. Austin, Stanford and SMU. They have not played against a powerful offense. Oklahoma has big-play potential across the board. At any time, from any where on the field, from almost any position, the Sooners can put up six. Patterson said he doesn't expect his defense to hold Oklahoma to its usual numbers. DeMarco Murray is capable of gaining more than 30 yards (TCU's average rushing yards allowed) from scrimmage in one snap.

Following the Trojan-War theme, TCU might have a wooden horse. It won't be the Frogs defense. Everyone knows about TCU's stingy defense. According to Patterson, it is up to the offense for the defense to succeed. If TCU can control the ball, Oklahoma will have less time to wear down the Frogs defense. Because the Sooners have so many deep-play threats, TCU needs to win the time-of-possession battle. Less time on the field equals less possibility for big plays. TCU is currently first in the nation, controlling the ball for an average of 37:13. The Frogs have also won 24 straight games in which they control the ball longer.

Patterson said his team will not back up or play passively. Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops should know to expect no less from TCU. Saturday night will be a war.


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