The 2017 campaign has started about as good as possible for Mike Gundy and his Heisman-hopeful quarterback Mason Rudolph. Through the first three games, Oklahoma State has outscored opponents 162-52 (59-0 in Q1) and are averaging an absurd 54 points a contest. The Cowboys are shredding defenses, stifling offenses and look even better than advertised as they enter Big 12 play.
In come Gary Patterson and his #16 TCU Horned Frogs, led by a solid rushing attack and a much-improved defense. TCU has been very impressive in the early stages of the season, highlighted by a 28-7 victory over Arkansas in Fayetteville. The Horned Frogs are looking to make a statement and show the rest of the conference that they too are contenders for the Big 12 championship.
When: Saturday, September 23 2:30 P.M. CST
Where: Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, OK.
Stream: Watch ESPN
Listen: Cowboy Radio Network
Line: Oklahoma State (-12.5)
Get to know the TCU Horned Frogs
This TCU squad will easily be the best team the Pokes have faced thus far in 2017 and might even turn out to be the second best team OSU plays in the regular season. The Frogs are 3-0, with wins over Jackson State, Arkansas, and most recently a 56-36 win over SMU. All week long, TCU players, coaches and fans have heard how unstoppable the OSU offense is and how they’ve never won in Stillwater since joining the Big 12. Look out for a motivated and underrated TCU team to try and set the tone early in Stillwater on Saturday. Here’s a look at the counterpart from Fort Worth.
TCU on Offense
Texas Christian University has been deceptively good thus far in the season. Averaging almost 50 points and 507 yards of offense a game, TCU is outscoring opponents 147- 43 and fielding the 7th ranked scoring offense in the entire country. Lookout for some fireworks on Saturday, folks. The frogs are led by Senior QB Kenny Hill who, through three games, has completed 75 percent of his passes and thrown for 737 yards and eight touchdowns. After throwing a conference high 13 picks in 2016, Hill is looking a lot more like the Kenny Trill of old in 2017, a welcome sight for the TCU faithful.
On the ground, the Horned Frogs have four different backs averaging at least 5.5 yards a carry. Leading the way is sophomore running back Darius Anderson with 262 yards, followed by senior tailback Kyle Hicks and sophomore rusher Sewo Oloniula with 128 and 107 yards respectively. Unfortunately for the Frogs, it looks like Hicks will miss Saturday’s game due to an undisclosed injury. Look for TCU to get Freshman speedster Kenedy Snell more touches on the ground and through the air. Snell is lightning fast and has taken two of his three receptions to the house.
Through the air, Hill will look to target the always dangerous KaVontae Turpin, who has 118 yards on the season after being banged up to start out the year. Turpin is also featured in the rushing attack and a playmaker in the return game, the Frogs want to get him involved early and often. Behind Turpin are a number of other receivers including Freshman Jalen Reagor and Senior Desmon White whom both have 126 yards on the season, leading the TCU receiving corp. TCU wants to find success on the ground first and use it to set up the big play though the air. A key to the game on Saturday will be forcing Kenny Hill into passing situations.
For a deeper dive of TCU offense, check out this article from CRFF’s own Dustin Ragusa here
TCU on Defense
On the other side of the ball, the Horned Frogs have looked much improved from last season and better resemble a Gary Patterson coached team. Through three games, the Frogs rank 21st nationally in scoring defense, giving up 14.3 points per game, and have held opponents to just 265 yards of offense. After shutting out Jackson State (take that for what it’s worth) TCU absolutely stifled the Razorbacks in week two. The Horned Frogs limited the Hogs to a meager 267 yards of total offense and allowed only 39 percent of Austin Allen’s passing attempts to be completed. This may be in part to Arkansas’ ineptitude on that side of the football, but it was an impressive performance nonetheless. However, last week against SMU, the TCU secondary looked somewhat vulnerable against the Mustangs and their dynamic passing attack. The Horned Frogs have held all three opponents under a 50 percent completion percentage through the air, but they gave up 338 passing yards to SMU.
TCU’s defense is tough, aggressive, athletic, and experienced. They’re led by budding star DE Ben Banogu, who leads the team in total tackles, tackles for loss, and sacks. Behind him is 2016 First-Team All-Big 12 linebacker Travin Howard, who has 18 tackles, 2.5 tfl, and a pick six on the season. In the secondary, TCU is loaded with talent and experience. Cornerback Ranthony Texada has 31 career starts, safety Nick Orr has 29 career starts and junior safety Ridwan Issahaku is one of the teams top playmakers.
Rudolph and Co. will be tested on Saturday, but if TCU’s game against SMU showed us anything, it’s that the Horned Frogs are susceptible to the big play. While only allowing 18 out of 38 passes to be completed, the ones that were caught went for an average of almost 19 yards...(eye emoji) Look for the Pokes to swing for the home run more than a few times on Saturday.
I’m sure TCU is sick of hearing all the praise for OSU. The tweets, the articles, the mullet and who could blame them? They are embracing the underdog status and have more than enough locker room material than they’ll need for tomorrow. TCU looks like a fine team and I have listed out many reasons above why they could knock off the Pokes in Stillwater tomorrow...well guess what? THAT AIN’T HAPPENING.
Rudolph and Gundy are out for blood this year, POKES BIG.
OSU 52 - TCU 31
Here are some gems from years past to get you pumped for Saturday