I am so darn excited for this game! We have been spoiled for so long that it feels like forever since we played a game that mattered, REALLY mattered. And this is one of those. I remember what happened the last time we played a highly ranked OU team - and I am ready to witness that result again, in person. Here are some of the things I think will lead to that outcome.
- MIND THE GAP - OU has a veteran O-Line that has been very proficient at making holes for two stud running backs. Veteran Keith Ford has been banged up, which has made way for an even better back, beastly Samaje Perine. The worst thing that could have happened to the Big 12 is the injury to Ford, as Perine has gashed opponents for 6.3 yards a carry and five touchdowns. The TCU front line, which has been dominant, will need to take their play to the next level Saturday to slow down the Sooner running attack - keeping to their assignments, not falling for misdirection, and blowing plays up in the backfield.
- HOLD STEADY - And if they stop the run, then the game will fall on the shoulders of potential Heisman candidate Trevor Knight. Knight, who burst on to the scene with his thrashing of Alabama last January has fallen off just slightly, completing close to 60% of his passes for four TDs. But he hasn't seen anything close to a D like this since the Crimson Tide, and TCU might be playing better than they were in the Sugar Bowl. If the line is disruptive, and if the game goes on Knight's back, it will be up to the secondary to tighten up their coverage from a week ago and make plays on the ball. OU doesn't have a superstar at wide-out, but they do have 11 guys who have caught passes (including Knight!) and one who averages over 100 yards a game, Sterling Shepard. Stopping Shepard in the slot will greatly impact Knight's overall effectiveness, and slot receivers have been where the corners have been exposed - though not much. This game could be Ranthony Texada's national coming out party, and he could be the linchpin to an effective day for the TCU D.
- YOU BE YOU, BOYKIN - Trevone Boykin has shown flashes of brilliance, dulled by moments of "what the heck are you doing, good sir?" over the course of the first three games. When the offense asks him to throw the ball 40 plus times a game, he looks very average. When asked to be the leading rusher for the team, he looks very average. When asked to chuck it deep every other attempt... well, you get the idea. But when he is using his legs to create passing windows, making short quick reads, getting the ball to his receivers in space, running when necessary and handing it off to a four headed monster behind him, he looks like one of the most well-rounded QBs in the country. I am going to make the assumption that Cumbie and Meacham have been holding back their full arsenal for such a game as this, and we will see the full complement of tricks tomorrow afternoon. Allowing Boykin to stay within himself - not asking him to win the game on his own, but by putting himself in a position to succeed by using his weapons, will be the difference between a win and a loss.
- NEXT MAN UP? - It seems like each week has given us a new star on both sides of the ball, and it won't surprise me if the trend continues tomorrow. It has been fun watching the young guys develop, and players like Deante' Gray, Desmon White, Mike Tuaua, etc get their time in the limelight. In addition to the "surprise" stars, it will fall on the shoulders of veteran guys like Chuck Hunter, Josh Doctson, Kevin White, Paul Dawson, B.J. Catalon, et al, to play the game of their lives against OU for the Frogs to come home with a win.
- EARLY. LOUD. PROUD. - We know the OU game brings lots of crimson and cream to the Carter, but TCU fans have got to represent. I have heard a lot of loud stadiums in the past week, and would love to see the Frog Fans follow the lead of Kansas City, Pittsburg, and the like. OU is a top five team - the stadium needs to start packed and stay packed. One extra false start, one early time out, one miscommunication by the Sooners could be the difference in this game. We need to welcome this top five team in to our house in the warmest way possible, and support our boys in this battle. Patterson has been cool, calm, and collected in the lead up to the game - that means he's counting on the fans to bring the chaos.
It is going to be an amazing atmosphere in Amon G Saturday afternoon. TCU Athletics, the Student Section, and many others have said it, but it bears repeating - BE EARLY. BE LOUD. BE LOUDER. Now excuse me while I go watch this and this for the next 12 hours or so. AMP IT UP BABY AND BEAT OU!!!