For the first time since... 2017 (??) Oklahoma State finds itself in control of its own destiny in November in terms of securing a berth in the Big 12 Championship Game. Winning out secures a spot. Beating TCU and Texas Tech with an Iowa State loss at OU next week means the Pokes can afford to lose to OU and secure a Bedlam rematch in the Big 12 title game.
In other words, the Pokes absolutely can’t afford to slip up to either TCU or Texas Tech. What could go wrong! (If you’ve been a long-suffering OSU supporter, you know the answer is... everything.) Here’s what the Pokes are getting themselves into against TCU this weekend.
When: Saturday, November 13 at 7:00 p.m. CT.
Where: Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, OK.
Listen: Cowboy Sports Network
Line: Oklahoma State (-13) per Caesars Sportsbook. This means the Cowboys are favored to win this game by 13 points according to Vegas oddsmakers.
Significance: For the first time since... I want to say TCU @ OSU 2015, Boone Pickens Stadium will host a “blackout” game. Obviously there’s a lot on the line for OSU as outlined above, so show up in black, be loud and have fun if you’re going to the game.
Get to know the TCU Horned Frogs:
Well, the one thing we have all known about the TCU Horned Frogs for the last two decades is they’re led by defensive guru and CFB coaching legend Gary Patterso— wait what do you mean he doesn’t coach there anymore?
That’s right, TCU
fired let go of (??) Patterson two weeks ago. Last week was the first game the Frogs played without Patterson at the helm since 2000 and the first without him on the staff since early 1998. So naturally, the Horned Frogs responded with their most resounding win in probably four years with an upset of rival No. 12 Baylor.
The upset was perhaps sparked by the decision to start Chandler Morris at quarterback, a former OU transfer who led Highland Park (TX) High to the 2018 5A Division I State Championship in a thrashing of Shadow Creek. It was Morris’ first meaningful college experience, and he impressed with 461 yards and two touchdowns on 29-of-41 passing in addition to 11 carries for 70 yards and another score. Morris has thrown for just 170 yards in his entire college career prior to last week.
Morris will need to replicate that performance if TCU wants to have any chance at winning this game. Morris was TCU’s leading rusher with 70 yards last week, and the Frogs tallied just 95 rushing yards as a team. OSU may have the best run defense TCU will see all season; the Cowboys allow just 86.2 rushing yards-per-game and just 2.6 yards-per-attempt. Of course, that dynamic may change if...
TCU’s best player — and highest rated recruit in program history by a country mile — plays. Right now, running back Zach Evans is looking questionable with an injury that has sidelined him since the start of October. That isn’t helped by the fact that backup running back Kendre Miller is also questionable. Assuming TCU rolls with Morris at quarterback rather than former starter Max Duggan, TCU’s leading available rusher on Saturday will be Emari Demercado, who has carried 49 times for 177 yards this year, good for 3.6 yards-per-carry.
Add it up and it is easy to draw the conclusion that Morris may have to do it all with his arm and his legs. Putting everything in the hands of a redshirt freshman with very limited prior experience might be why Vegas has the Pokes as 13-point favorites at home.
On defense, Oklahoma State will need to focus on slowing down the explosive Quentin Johnson, who caught five passes for 142 yards and a score last week. Johnson leads the Frogs in receiving with 31 catches for 615 yards and six touchdowns. His longest catch went for 75 yards and he averages 19.8 yards-per-catch. All of those stats are highest on the team. If the OSU secondary can lock down Johnson and get pressure on Morris, it’s hard to see TCU putting up many points.
On offense, Oklahoma State needs to keep building confidence. The TCU defense gave up 32 points at home to 3-6 California, 42 points to rival SMU and 31 points to Texas Tech. TCU has played eight games against opponents not named Duquesne and has let up more than 30 in six of those eight games, with the other two being West Virginia (29) and Baylor (28). If Oklahoma State doesn’t score more than 30 points, it would be considered a disappointment.
However, these Frogs have played hard for interim coach Jerry Kill so far. Morris was on fire last week, and slowing down the combo of Morris and Johnson isn’t necessarily easy. Good thing this OSU defense is top 10 in the nation by most metrics.
TCU has a chance in this one if they can break a few explosive plays for touchdowns or that set up touchdowns, and if they can replicate a strong defensive showing from last week. TCU played some guys on defense that hadn’t got a look and it helped. Perhaps most notably was true freshman Shadrach Banks, converted from a high school wide receiver (and a wildly entertaining at that) to a linebacker. Banks came up with the game-winning interception against Gerry Bohanon and Baylor last week and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Banks getting some reps this week as well. With Morris and Banks as examples and an already thin running back room, new players with not a lot of college tape could be the biggest thing OSU has to worry about.
What Else to Read:
Picks From Joes: Robert Whetsell picks the games around the Big 12 this week and offers previews in a manner only he can.
Friday Night Highlights: Matt Harris breaks down how each OSU football commit for the class of 2022 performed in their high school games last week.
Texas Tech hires a new coach: Ryan Harris explains why Texas Tech’s hire of former Baylor and Cedar Hill HS coach Joey McGuire is a good hire and why OSU might be worried.
Bowl Projections: Ian Nikkel projects where Oklahoma State and the rest of the Big 12 will be bowling at come December.
Ingalls and Ian Podcast: Check out the latest episodes of the Ingalls and Ian podcast, where our Jacob Ingalls and Ian Nikkel discuss everything Oklahoma State, including a breakdown of what to expect against TCU with Parker from our TCU sister-site Frogs-O-War.
Who Else to Follow on Twitter:
If I’ve learned anything about what I think about the 2021 Cowboys, it’s that I don’t know how to pick them. I picked losses to Boise State, Kansas State and Texas. I picked a win at Iowa State. I picked Kansas to cover a 30-point spread. None of those things happened.
That being said, I’ll always take my best guess. I think Chandler Morris falls back to earth a little bit after a stellar debut as a starter last week. TCU loses a little of the magic and the fight of playing hard at home against a hated rival in the face of adversity after its’ head coach of over 20 years had been let go. The Oklahoma State defense proves to be too much for Chandler Morris and the Frogs don’t have enough in the running game to keep up (so long as Zach Evans doesn’t play).
Oklahoma State finds a groove on offense... enough to give fans hope but not enough to prove it’s more than an outlier; fans leave feeling good about the offense but not good enough to think they won’t regress back toward the mean of what they have been this season. Overall, another dominant performance where Oklahoma State flexes defensive muscle and flashes offensive excellency on a few drives but leaves fans wanting a little more. So, with a TCU garbage time touchdown, I’ve got...
Oklahoma State, 38 — TCU, 21