Stirring it Up in Stillwater
November 12, 2021
The season rolls on. And what a difference a win makes.
After an entertaining, breath-taking, unexpected and energizing win over No. 12 Baylor last week, the Frogs get a reward.
The prize? No. 10 Oklahoma State in Stillwater at night.
One of the toughest places to play in the Big 12 will be packed and loaded. Boone Pickens Stadium, once known as Lewis Field, was renovated several years ago. The late, great T. Boone Pickens, an oil tycoon who loved Oklahoma A&M (that’s the original name), paid for the renovation. The most notable factoid about the stadium is that the field runs east to west. It was built that way years ago so the stands could protect the field from the fierce winds that often pepper Stillwater. Most fields are built to run north to south.
Oklahoma State starts with defense. And it’s good. OSU is No. 3 in the nation in total defense, allowing just 277 yards per game. The team is No. 2 in 3rd down defense, with opponents converting just 26 percent. Add to that the Cowboys are allowing just 16 points per game, good enough for No. 9 in the country.
Defensive coordinator Jim Knowles runs a multiple, attacking defense that comes at offenses from all angles and uses five defensive backs and two linebackers in ways that smother and confuse opposing quarterbacks. They swirl around like a dust devil and Frogs’ trigger man Chandler Morris will have to have his radar on, much like he did last week when he “Houdini’d” the Frogs to a win in his first start.
To put it in perspective, last week Oklahoma State had 8 sacks and 12 tackles for loss against West Virginia and held the Mountaineers to 17 net yards rushing. The same West Virginia team that ran for 229 yards on TCU.
Quick throws and being secure with the football will be key as OSU does a great job stripping the ball and creating turnovers. Last year, the Frogs turned it over five times against OSU.
TCU’s offensive line will be in for a test and will have to give Morris some time and protection if the Frogs are to have a chance.
On offense, the Cowboys have had to reload and, as usual, head coach Mike Gundy has done just that. Gone are running back Chubba Hubbard, WR Tylan Hubbard and some great offensive linemen. Not to worry as Utah State transfer #7 Jaylen Warren has moved in at running back and has put up some huge numbers, including a 218 yard performance against Boise State. Tay Martin (#1) has taken over as the class of wide receivers and have scored at least one touchdown in each of the last three games and has taken over as the go-to wideout.
Quarterback Spencer Sanders (#3) is now a junior and is one of three players in OSU history with more than 4,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards in his career. His best game this year was against Kansas State, when he threw for 344 yards and 2 TDs while completing 65 percent. The OSU offense isn’t dynamic, but they are sound and take what opponents give them. They’ll slow it down, run it and then hit you with a deep ball. Mike Gundy knows what he’s doing and he’ll have a great game plan.
The scary part for Oklahoma State is what will they see out of TCU. Lots of new players appeared on defense and the offense was completely different from an efficiency standpoint with TCU quarterback Morris at the controls.
A fast start and an early lead will serve the Frogs well as OSU’s offense is not super dynamic and haven’t played from a behind much this year. The Frogs can put pressure on Oklahoma State by getting a lead early and keeping the chains moving. Taking advantage of OSU’s speed and over-pursuit with screens and misdirection have worked for other teams. It will work for Meacham & Co.
Did You Know?
- Oklahoma State have won five of the last six games vs. TCU in Stillwater. The Frogs lone win in Stillwater in the Big 12 era came in 2017, a 44-31 win for TCU.
- TCU Interim head coach Jerry Kill was a young coach on the staff at Midwest City High School in 1984. The quarterback on that team was current OSU head coach Mike Gundy.
- Mike Gundy has been the head coach at OSU since 2005
We’re on the air live from Stillwater on the Horned Frogs Sports Network at 6 p.m. CT. Join us on WBAP 820 AM, XM 381, the Riff Ram and Varsity Network apps.