Now that I’ve picked myself up off the floor after that heartbreaker to Tech, let’s move on to the Frogs’ next opponent, the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
The Cowboys are 4-2 on the year (2-1 in conference) and are coming off of a win against Iowa State, who is continuing to prove that their win in Fort Worth was simply a matter of unfortunate circumstance for TCU.
The Pokes, like TCU, have had some injury troubles this season, culminating in losing starting quarterback J.W. Walsh for the season to a knee injury last weekend.
Walsh took over the starting job from true freshman Wes Lunt three games into the season, when Lunt went down with an injury against Louisiana Lafayette. The expectation is that Lunt will be starting this weekend, but Oklahoma State is waiting until Wednesday to make a formal decision.
If Lunt can’t go, things could get ugly for OSU, as third-stringer Clint Chelf would have to step in. Chelf is a junior who couldn’t beat out a true freshman for the starting job, or a redshirt freshman for the backup spot. Take from that what you will.
The Pokes could potentially be without wide receivers Tracy Moore and Isaiah Anderson as well. Moore is leading the team in touchdown receptions with four, and is second on the team in receptions with 20, but there is still plenty of depth at that position.
Specifically, Josh Stewart is far and away the Cowboys’ best receiver this season. He has 42 receptions for 454 yards so far this season.
The TCU secondary can’t forget about Blake Jackson or Charlie Moore either. Together, Stewart, Jackson and Moore account for 79 catches, 1,129 yards and six touchdowns. Without Tracy Moore on the field, you can bet these three will see almost all of the targets come their way.
But the real offensive stalwart for Oklahoma State comes out of their backfield.
Joseph Randle is the go to guy on this offense. He’s got 765 rushing yards this season on 128 carries and eight touchdowns, to go along with 15 receptions for 117 yards.
Randle averages 6 yards/carry, and has only had one game this season where he rushed for less than 105 yards (two weeks ago against Kansas, in the rain).
TCU’s rushing defense ranks #7 in the country, allowing 92 yards/game on the ground.
Regardless of whether Lunt or Chelf is starting, expect to see the Frogs try to make the quarterback beat them. The TCU defense is third in the nation in interceptions, with 14, and with Randle being a known commodity in the backfield, I expect and extra man in the box to keep him from breaking free, and a lot of man-to-man on the outside.
On the other side of the ball, Oklahoma State’s defense is rapidly improving. Granted, the last two teams they’ve played, Kansas and Iowa State, aren’t shining beacons of offensive power. The last time OSU played a relatively strong offense, they allowed 41 points to Texas (it was controversial, I get that).
Their run defense is stout, so we should see a lot of Trevone Boykin trying to get the ball to Boyce and Dawson. This may be the game where the Frogs open up the playbook a little bit.
That’s my hope, anyways.
As I said in the MMQB yesterday, this could be one of TCU’s last chances to become bowl eligible. I see TCU competing well against West Virginia and Texas as well, but I feel that this is the best chance they have to get to six wins.