Two teams coming off of upset wins meet in Stillwater Saturday, both hoping to prove their victories were more than flukes. It’s hard to get a read on which team holds an advantage this weekend; an initial 5 1⁄2 point spread in favor of the Cowboys has been bet down to a more reasonable 2.5, but you’ll find few OSU fans that feel extraordinarily confident about what might happen at 2:30pm Saturday.
Why? Let’s take a look.
That’s it, that’s the tweet.
Why running back Chuba Hubbard is obviously the straw that stirs Oklahoma State’s drink, he’s not the only talented position player on a roster that has recruited studs well historically. Redshirt freshman Spencer Sanders has been somewhat erratic, but still flashed the goods that made him a highly-touted four star quarterback coming out of North Texas. The Cowboys are a middle of the pack pass success rate team, coming in as the 50% most successful program with a rate of 43.15%. I will let Parker go into the statistical details later, but know that what this basically means is that OSU is slightly better than average when it comes to making plays through the air — which is a departure from their usual fun and gun mentality.
Sanders is completing just under 63% of his passes on the season while averaging 217 yards per game, but his 7.5 yards per pass attempt are really solid for a first year starter. He leans heavily on Tylan Wallace, one of the fastest and most explosive players in the country — a guy who is second in the conference with 6.6 receptions per game and leads in yards per contest with nearly 113. He also finds the end zone to the tune of eight scores already. The issue is that he doesn’t have much help — no other Cowboy receiver has even 250 yards on the season.
So, let’s get back to Chuba, who leads the league in yardage, the country in yardage (by 250 yards), and is second in touchdowns with 16 — an average of two per game. The dude has speed to burn — of him, Gary Patterson said “He’s a track guy who plays football. He has a really good burst, especially an inside burst on inside holes that I think is underrated. He takes off. One step, he can get going. So you’ve got to be able to play the run with all 11. You can’t play the run thinking you’ll be one-on-one.”
I don’t think you can stop Chuba, but TCU will have to find a way to contain him. Anything under 100 yards would be a victory for the TCU defense, and likely lead to a victory for Horned Frog football
The Pokes are decidedly meh on the defensive side of the ball, falling slightly below the midpoint amongst Big 12 teams in every major category. They are seventh in total defense, allowing nearly 440 yards per game (the Frogs are first at just under 305, for context), seventh in scoring defense (surrendering nearly 30 points per game), sixth in rush defense and eighth in pass.
They’re just very much... okay.
Safety Kolby Harvell-Peel leads the team in tackles (a secondary player leading the team in tackles is usually a good indicator of how not great your defense is, right?), while junior linebacker Amen Ogbongbemiga is the sack leader with 3.5. The Cowboys are near the bottom of the barrel when it comes to developing a pass rush — but still have more sacks than TCU.
OSU allows nearly six yards per play and over seven per attempt — both amongst the worst in DI Football. But they have a solid 22% stuff rate and stiffen up in the red zone, where they allow touchdowns right at the national average of 63% of the time. For opposing offenses, though, the trend has been scoring inside the 20 — teams get points 88% of the time inside the 20.
The Cowboys are also a league-worst -7 in turnover differential, so that’s something to pay attention to.
Stop Chuba, stop the Cowboys. At least that’s what we think, but have no way of knowing since no one has stopped him in 2019.
Sure, as a redshirt freshman, he was stymied at The Carter by the Horned Frogs, but he’s a year older, a year wiser, and the clear bell-cow for Mike Gundy’s squad.
TCU will need to slow the Pokes’ star down, turnover their freshman QB, and contain Tylan Wallace — while playing at the level they did a week ago on offense.
It’s not impossible, but it certainly won’t be easy.
I am most afraid of an emotional letdown after Texas and with Baylor looming. We have seen that this team can get up for big games, but this isn’t exactly the kind of rivalry that either program is circling when the schedule comes out. I think there is absolutely a level of respect between the two programs and their coaches — but I don’t think we will see a knock down, drag out fight like we did a week ago or will a week later.
(also, I picked against the Frogs last week and it worked, so...)
Oklahoma State 27, TCU 24.
Here’s to being wrong.