TCU faces their biggest challenge of the season on Saturday, when they travel to Norman to face Oklahoma. The Sooners, bolstered by a high-powered offense, sit at No. 5 in the College Football Playoff rankings, one spot ahead of TCU. The Frogs, of course, have one of the best defenses in the country. Top ten in the country in run defense (1st), red zone defense (3rd), scoring defense (6th), total defense (6th), 3rd down defense (7th), and 1st down defense (10th).
They’re 19th in the country, with almost seven and a half tackles for loss per game. They’re 24th in the country in opponent pass efficiency.
TCU’s defense will be the best defense Oklahoma has seen so far this season.
On the flip side of things, Oklahoma will be the best offense TCU has seen this season.
Oklahoma’s offense is setting records in efficiency
Just for starters, The Sooners are setting new efficiency records on offense this year. Led by the presumed Heisman frontrunner at quarterback, Oklahoma also averages 608 yards and 45 points per game (for comparison, Oklahoma State averages ~580 yards and 45.3 points per game).
Their offensive balance starts at quarterback, where the literal flagbearer has thrown for over 3,200 yards, 28 touchdowns to just five interceptions, while completing close to 72% of his passes, but moves quickly to running back, where the two-headed monster of Trey Sermon and Rodney Anderson have combined for more than 1,100 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. Sermon and Anderson are both rushing the ball at more than six yards/carry, meaning this will be another major test for TCU’s nation-leading rushing defense.
Two receivers, CeeDee Lamb and Marquise Brown, are dominant on the outside for Oklahoma, but it’s tight end Mark Andrews that really makes the passing game tick. He has a knack for finding holes in the defense, and always seems up for making big plays at key moments.
The entire offense ticks thanks to the offensive line. The Sooners’ OL is probably the best one TCU will have faced to-date, and it’ll be an incredible challenge for the Frogs’ dominant defensive line. Oklahoma’s offensive line has only allowed 18 sacks all season (quarterback mobility helps, but still...), while TCU’s defense has 28 sacks on the season (11th best in the country).
Meanwhile, Oklahoma’s defense is holding them back
The Sooners are allowing more than 400 yards and 28 points per game to opposing offenses, and they’ve allowed more than 31 points four times this season. That includes 38 points to Iowa State in the Sooners’ lone loss, 41 points to a 1-8 Baylor squad, and 52 points to Oklahoma State in Bedlam last weekend.
That being said, the Sooners do have a few playmakers to keep an eye on. Ogbonnia Okoronkwo is a stud at defensive end. He has eight sacks and 14 tackles for loss this season, and is the second-leading tackler on the team.
The biggest problem for the Sooners, though, is that their secondary has been bombarded all season. Oklahoma is giving up 262.8 yards per game through the air (109th in the country), and opposing quarterbacks have a 141.97 passing efficiency, and 18 passing touchdowns against the Sooners this season.
I’m going to stick with my prediction from the podcast, and say that TCU pulls off the upset on the road in Norman. 35-27. I think that TCU takes away Oklahoma’s balance on offense, and forces them into some mistakes. Kenny Hill does enough, and minimizes his own mistakes, while Darius Anderson and Kyle Hicks tear it up on the ground.