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Sooners look to rebound with a leap over the Frogs Saturday
October 19, 2018 ▪ By Ray Dozier
Losing to Texas two weeks ago is no reason to believe the Sooners cannot make the College Football Playoffs. Ten years ago, Oklahoma lost to the Longhorns but ran the table to get into the BCS Championship Game. Three years ago, Texas stunned the Sooners, but OU again won out to reach the semifinals of the College Football Playoffs.
This year, No. 9 Oklahoma (5-1, 2-1 Big 12) must run the table to be eligible for the CFP, and it wouldn’t hurt if Texas did the same. Getting revenge on the team that beat you, would be the best chance. OU’s quest begins with a rendezvous with TCU (3-3, 1-2), whom the Sooners beat twice last year for the CFP.
With two conference losses, the Horned Frogs don’t appear to be a threat for the Big 12 title but should give Oklahoma fits when they meet at 11 a.m. (ABC) in Fort Worth. The last four contests at Amon G. Carter Stadium have been decided by a total of 18 points.
The quest also begins with a new defensive coordinator (Ruffin McNeill) at Oklahoma. The Mike Stoops firing left a defense that was ranked 76th (27.3 average) in points allowed, 65th (156.7) against the run and 107th (264.3) against the pass. Those numbers should improve this week as the Frogs don’t have a good offense—scoring 28.7 points (70th) and 413.2 yards (61st) per game.
Giving up 48 points and 501 total yards to the Longhorns was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Lincoln Riley should have given Stoops the pink slip after an embarrassing second half against Georgia in the Rose Bowl. Stoops’ defense allowed the Bulldogs 37 points and 238 yards in the second half and two overtimes.
“I think we can play a lot better,” Riley said of his defense after the Texas loss. “We’ve seen bits and pieces, we’ve seen flashes in the past. The players have moved on, we’ve moved, and we’re ready for this week.
“We’re fighting to get over that hump right now. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s very clear to all of us inside those walls.”
TCU lost, 17-14, last week to a Texas Tech team not known for playing rugged defense. Frog QB Shawn Robinson completed 26 of 45 passing for 290 yards with a pair of scores and interceptions. Robinson’s first interception in the end zone thwarted a 73-yard drive in the first quarter.
TCU had a total of three turnovers in the game. Turnovers have been a huge problem for the Frogs this season. They have 15 turnovers and rank 126th of 130 teams with a turnover margin of -1.5 per game.
Robinson has thrown for 1,313 yards (218.8 per game) this year with 9 TDs and 8 INTs, completing 62 percent of his passes. Jalen Reagor leads the team with 432 yards on 37 catches with 3 TDs. Darius Anderson leads the Frogs with 355 rushing yards (5.5 per carry) with 2 TDs. Receiver Kavontae Turpin is the most dangerous player on the offense and special teams. He has 348 receiving yards and a couple of TDs on 24 catches. Turpin averages 119.5 all-purpose yards per game, adding averages of 18.8 yards in punt returns and 18.7 yards in kick returns per contest.
Defense has always been the mantra of coach Gary Patterson’s TCU teams. This year is no different. The Frogs have allowed 20.2 points (29th) and 311.8 yards (14th) per game this season. The D has logged 40 tackles for loss and 17 sacks. Linebacker Garret Wallow has a team-high 45 tackles while defensive end Ben Banogu, the Big 12 Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, has 4.5 sacks among his 19 tackles, along with six QB hurries and a forced fumble.
OU hasn’t lost consecutive regular season games since 1999, and the last time the Sooners lost a true road game was October 4, 2014, when No. 4 OU dropped a 37-33 decision at No. 25 TCU. Oklahoma has thrived on the road with a 17-game winning streak.
Last week, Raiders QB Jett Duffy completed 13 of 24 for 190 yards with a TD and a pick. He also got loose for 83 yards. And, Duffy is slower than Kyler Murray. Murray will be challenged by, perhaps, the best defense he’s seen this year.
Murray has been terrific as a playmaker so far this year. But look for TCU coach Gary Patterson to disguise his defenses to take Murray off his game.
“You have to shift things around, keeping an eye on the quarterback, some personnel groups make it hard to do that,” Patterson said. “That’s why it’s always interesting.”
Robinson is also a dual-threat QB, and Oklahoma’s defense cannot afford to make errors against him. The defensive players have talked about working on tackling during the off week. Let’s hope they learned something.
The Sooners must control the line of scrimmage and get the linebackers and d-backs in the proper positions. Robinson is a dual-threat at QB, and the D can’t allow him time to make plays.
The Big Red defense held the Frogs to 20 and 17 points respectively in last year’s meetings, and 424 and 317 yards. The D will be impressive if it holds TCU to under 24 points and 400 yards on Saturday.
Sooners 38, Horned Frogs 17.
- OU leads the series, 13-5, including four straight wins; OU leads 6-1 in Fort Worth.
- OU is favored by 8.
- Lincoln Riley is 17-3 (.850) overall; 1-0 vs. TCU; 6-0 on the road; 10-2 vs. conference opponents; 13-1 vs. unranked foes.
- Gary Patterson is 163-60 (.731) overall; 2-7 vs. OU; 84-20 at home; 101-43 vs. conference foes; 25-23 vs. ranked opponents.
- OU is 15-3 in games played on October 20, including three straight victories.
- TCU is 10-4 in games played on October 20.