Patterson is a defensive genius, and this year he has a veteran group in front of him that has talent, experience, and trusts him.
“Like a Travin Howard that has played a lot of football, he knows that I won’t put him in harm’s way,” Patterson said about his leading tackler, who has 33 starts behind him. “So they listen and understand what you’re trying to accomplish.”
After 20 years running TCU defenses, Patterson has boundless credibility. But it is reinforced from time to time.
Against Texas last week, between series, he told his players what was coming next after he saw a particular play.
“As soon as the fly sweep came against Texas last week, for example, I went to the sideline and said, ‘OK, here’s the setup — they’re going to run the fly sweep, but the next time it’s going to be a fake and they’re going to run a wheel with a vertical by the tight end,” Patterson said. “Sure enough.”
The defense has already played three of the most efficient offenses in the country, now they could to put themselves up against the best.
”As a defense, we like that,” TCU defensive end Mat Boesen said. ”We like coming into hostile environments like that and just competing with them and giving them our all and getting after it. So I think as a team we like that, we like that pressure, we like being under pressure, being the underdog, and just coming after it.”
If the past is an indicator, Saturday’s game will be entertaining and tense. The past five games have been decided by a combined 21 points. The Sooners have won four of those matchups. Oklahoma won a 52-46 shootout last season , holding on after nearly blowing a 49-24 fourth-quarter lead. Mayfield passed for two touchdowns and ran for two more while TCU quarterback Kenny Hill passed for 449 yards and five touchdowns.
TCU might need even more to pull this one out.
”We have a lot of work to do,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said. ”I’m excited about it, and I think our kids are excited about it.”
Teddy believes in the Horned Frogs.
How will TCU fare against Mayfield? As long as Gary Patterson coaches TCU, the Horned Frogs will be known more for defense. Playing in an air-it-out conference, TCU has allowed 13.9 points per game, five fewer than any other team. And its passing defense is easily the Big 12's highest-rated, limiting foes to a 49.1 percent completion rate. In his last two games against TCU, Mayfield has thrown for four touchdowns without a pick.
Teddy Greenstein's pick: Oklahoma is coming off the Bedlam game. TCU, with the better "D" and scheduling edge, will find a way. TCU 30, Oklahoma 27.
They can deny it all they want, but these two really want to beat each other.
Quarterback Baker Mayfield has been the best player on the field in every OU game this season, and he will be again this week and next week and the week after that. Patterson is the other star of Saturday’s show. It’s safe to presume that he is saturated with the belief that his defense can stifle Mayfield and that his team will ruin the Sooners’ season.
“We understand the challenge,” said Patterson, whose team is ranked No. 6 nationally in total defense. No other Big 12 team is better than 40th.
It was a sloppy opening game, but it was a win, and the Frogs will have a chance to play better Monday.
Kenrich Williams had 13 points and game highs of 14 rebounds and seven assists on coach Jamie Dixon's 52nd birthday.
Dixon led his alma mater to the NIT title in his first season after spending his first 13 years as a head coach at Pittsburgh. TCU won for the eighth time in nine games going back to last season, including five NIT victories.
"We could have played better," Dixon said. "I thought we would have been a little better offensively and the same defensively, we're not there yet. We've got work to do."
The ring ceremony was awesome, as are the rings themselves. Maybe a little distracting though?
“It was an ugly win, but we got the job done,” said Kenrich Williams, who had 13 points, 14 rebounds and a game-high seven assists. “We just came out real lackadaisical for the first game. We weren’t getting stops. But it feels good to get a win, so we’re 1-0.”
However the night started for the Frogs, it ended the right way in an 83-73 victory. Vladimir Brodziansky, the Big 12’s fourth-most accurate shooter a year ago, had 16 points on typical 8-of-11 shooting. Australian forward Kouat Noi, playing his first Division I game after redshirting last season, had 12 points and eight rebounds.