Offensive Balance and Great Tackling are the Keys to a TCU win over Oklahoma State
November 1, 2019
The Frogs (and all of us) got a breath of fresh air last Saturday with that Homecoming win over No. 15 Texas. The Frogs needed it. And they earned it.
They earned it by playing their most complete game of the year. The defense confused and intercepted Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger four times (three in the second half). And the offense, led by Max Duggan, got it done on the ground — and in a big way through the air — as Taye Barber and Jalen Reagor made it hard for Texas’ secondary to keep up. The addition of the complementary deep threat Barber brings may be the key to this offense in the last month of the season. (The regular season ends four weeks from today.)
Now it’s on to Oklahoma State and Stillwater, home of Boone Pickens Stadium. It’s one of the toughest, coziest stadiums you’ll ever visit. The fans are loud, the stadium holds in the noise, and the area between the sideline and the stands is less than 15 feet in some places — the fans are right on top of the field.
Oklahoma State is a team that looks a lot like TCU, except for its defense. Like TCU, OSU features a first-year starter at quarterback in Spencer Sanders. The redshirt freshman from Denton Ryan has thrown for 1,739 yards and 13 touchdowns, but he’s also thrown 10 interceptions (hello, TCU secondary). The Cowboys’ run game is good, and they lean on sophomore running back Chuba Hubbard, who is a sensational player. Hubbard currently leads the nation in rushing at 173 yards per game and specializes in runs over 50 yards in length. Tackling on first contact will be the key, as Hubbard has amassed 814 of his rushing yards after contact. He has at least one run of 20, 30, 40, 50, 70 and 80 yards this year. He’s a machine that OSU head coach Mike Gundy is concerned is getting over-worked at 30 touches per game.
The Cowboys may have to lean on Hubbard more, however, as major news came down around noon Friday that All-America wide receiver Tylan Wallace (a Fort Worth native from South Hills HS) is out for the season with a knee injury suffered Wednesday in practice. That takes 53 catches and 903 yards — along with a major scoring threat — off the field. Wallace is one of the best in the nation and was on his way to winning the Biletnikoff Trophy as the nation’s best wideout. The injury to Wallace means that #17 Dillon Stoner will be getting more passes thrown his way — he’s pretty good, too. Also, look for #89, giant tight end Jelani Woods, to be a “bailout” target for Sanders.
Defensively, the Cowboys have struggled. Run defense is an area of concern as the Cowboys have given up big numbers in recent games. Baylor averaged over six yards per carry, and Texas clicked off five yards every time they ran it. The linebackers are solid — look for #20 Malcolm Rodriguez and #11 Amen Ogbongbemiga — they can get to the ball if the defensive line helps them. If not, Darius Anderson and Sewo Olonilua could have a fun day.
Oklahoma State’s secondary is porous. They are in the bottom five in the nation in pass defense, and they’ve given up an average of 372 air yards over the last three games, including a monstrous 424 yards to Texas Tech.
I think balance is the key to this one for the Frog offense — get the run game going and work the clock. Then have fun with some deep shots. Containment is the word of the day for the TCU defense. And great tackling.
This is the 30th meeting between these two schools. They first played in 1915 when Oklahoma State was known as Oklahoma A&M College. Boone Pickens Stadium (formerly know as Lewis Field) runs east-west and is one of the few college stadiums situated on an east-west line. Most outdoor stadiums favor a north-south alignment.
The Saturday weather in Stillwater calls for sunny and 58 degrees.
We’re on the air on the Horned Frog Sports Network at 1:30 p.m. CT. Catch us on WBAP 820 AM, KTCU-FM 88.7, the Riff Ram App, TuneIn App and on XM389.
Kick ‘Em High!