TCU survived the trap game against SMU, and now they head to Stillwater to face Oklahoma State. This is easily the toughest September test for the Horned Frogs, as the Pokes are currently ranked No. 6 in the country and have annihilated their first three opponents.
While we have an inkling that this TCU squad is vastly improved from 2016, this matchup will show us exactly where the Frogs are compared to one of the best teams in the country.
Oklahoma State’s Record
3-0 (last week: obliterated Pitt 59-21). Oklahoma State has scored 162 points in three games, and have won by an average of 37 points per game. To say that their offense is dominant, is to understate what they’ve been able to do through three games this season.
Of course, we can sit here and question the competitiveness of Tulsa, South Alabama, and even Pitt (whose only win this season comes against FCS Youngstown State, 28-21), because the three teams have a combined 3-6 record this year. To do so, however, would be to deflect our attention from the fact that Oklahoma State is very, very good.
QB Mason Rudolph has completed 72.3% of his passes this season (68-94), for 1,135 yards, 11 touchdowns, and just one interception. He’s arguably the best QB in the country.
Receiver James Washington has 13 catches for 367 yards and three touchdowns. Receiver Marcell Ateman has 13 catches for 235 yards and three touchdowns. Receiver Jalen McCleskey has 12 catches for 179 yards and three touchdowns.
Safety Tre Flowers has been a mainstay in the OSU secondary (an underrated unit in the Big 12). He leads the team with 15 tackles on the season, including an interception.
Biggest Unit Matchup
Easily the biggest matchup in this game is the OSU receivers vs. the TCU secondary. Frog fans have to be a bit concerned after the SMU game with what a good passing offense might be able to do against TCU’s defense.
Yes, TCU locked down SMU in the second half (minus one broken coverage), but TCU can’t rely on Mason Rudolph completing about 45% of his passes like Ben Hicks did on Saturday.
Ranthony Texada needs to have another game like he did Saturday, because he’ll be responsible for locking down James Washington. Julius Lewis will need to step up as well, but most of all Niko Small needs to eliminate the mistakes he’s made in the past two games. He’s been susceptible to the play action pass, and Rudolph has four touchdowns on play action this season.
The Frogs opened up as an 11-point underdog to Oklahoma State, which has since moved a point in favor of OSU, making the Frogs a 12-point underdog. I wouldn’t be shocked to see the line move even more in favor of Oklahoma State, based on both teams’ performances this past weekend.