At the beginning of the season I looked at TCU’s home game with the Sooners as a possible College Gameday matchup. It really looked like both teams had a good shot to reach the showdown in Fort Worth undefeated. We’re a long way from that now, with the Sooners sitting at 1-2 and TCU having already dropped a game as well.
Even though things haven’t gone...shall we say...well, the Big 12 title is wide open. At the end of the day that’s all either team can control. I just really want to beat Oklahoma too. If TCU wants to be viewed as an elite program, and a perennial Big 12 contender, they have to prove that they can beat the Sooners consistently. So, what’s the best way to attack them?
In the Sooner’s last four losses dating back to last year, three of their opponents rushed for over 290 yards. The Sooners play a 3-3-5 defense, which allows them to utilize speed on the outside and in coverage, but leave them open to be exploited in the run game [if the linebackers aren’t producing]. That will mean a lot of running the ball with Kyle Hicks, Kenny Hill and company. Kenny’s ability to contribute to the running game should be a big factor, as it has been with each of the aforementioned teams that put up 290+ yards on the ground against the Sooners.
While the ability to run the ball seems to be the formula for success moving the ball against Oklahoma, that’s not how teams have been scoring on them so far this year. The Sooners have only given up one rushing touchdown this year, and that was to Ohio State- the only opponent to rush for over 100 yards against them this year (291 yards, exactly). The other eight touchdowns that they have given up this year have been through the air.
I doesn’t seem like it, but Kenny Hill hasn’t thrown for more than one touchdown in a game this year since the season opener against South Dakota State. I predict that changes this week, and Kenny Hill turns in his first multiple touchdown game though the air since week 1. Ohio State picked on the Sooners cornerbacks relentlessly, and they ended up throwing four touchdown passes to the same guy, including this one. TCU has weapons on the outside, and Taj Williams, John Diarse and Emanuel Porter should be able to have success there.
In addition to their troubles in the secondary, Oklahoma had to replace all three of their starting linebackers this year. While they have been decent in generating pressure and stopping the run (except for Ohio State), Houston chose to attack them through the air, getting into the endzone twice on underneath throws. So, there should be an opportunity for players like Desmon White, Ty Slanina and Kyle Hicks to get in on the scoring as well.
While the key to controlling this game may lie in TCU’s ability to run the ball and stop OU from doing the same, the way to score on the Sooners seems to be through the air. When you have the weapons that TCU does in the passing game, it only makes sense to go with that strategy.
Score Prediction: TCU 34, Oklahoma 30