I know we are through Thanksgiving, but Tylan Wallace is going to feast Saturday against TCU.
Down to walk-ons in the two deep in the secondary, the Frogs just don’t have the numbers to stop Wallace, they can simply hope to contain him — or, more likely, let Wallace get his and shut down everything else.
The Cowboys have almost as many injury issues as TCU, playing Texas Tech without their top two running backs. Will Hubbard and Brown return when the team travels to Fort Worth? It might not matter, as Mike Gundy found something special in Dezmon Jackson, too.
An embarrassment of riches at running back? For both teams.
Spencer Sanders has been an enigma in 2020; when he went down early with an ankle injury, Oklahoma State fans were worried their grand hopes were demolished. But in his absence, freshman Shane Illingworth became somewhat of a folk hero, leading with swag and security. Since his return, Sanders has been, well, not great: throwing for just six touchdowns and five interceptions, taking 14 sacks, and has lost three fumbles, third worst among quarterbacks.
As such, the Cowboys have underachieved on offense; when Chuba Hubbard and Tylan Wallace announced that they were forgoing the draft and returning to Stillwater, most expected this to be an elite and efficient offense. But they are averaging just 28.9 points per game (half a point better than the Horned Frogs) and just barely over 400 yards per game. The passing offense has been very average: Tylan Wallace leads the league in receptions per game (5.8) and yards per game (98.1), but other than that, the Cowboys don’t have a receiver averaging even 30 yards per game. Seems ludicrous based on what we are used to from this offense.
The running game, though, is still pretty darn good; the Cowboys have two running backs in the top ten in the league in yardage, with Hubbard going for nearly 90 yards per game on a 4.7 per carry clip and Brown adding almost 50 ypc on 5.6 per carry. The two players have combined six touchdowns, and when they were both out against Texas Tech, Jackson stepped in and didn’t miss a beat — accumulating a light day of 235 yards on 36 carries with three touchdowns.
Which version of the Cowboys will show up Saturday? A lot of that depends on how comfortable Spencer Sanders is allowed to be. And an offensive line that is allowing nearly three sacks a game will have their hands full with a TCU defensive line that has really come on the last month of the season — and will be looking for more Saturday.
This was supposed to be the best defense in the conference — at least on paper before the injuries hit.
But so far in 2020, they are allowing over 160 yards per game on the ground and 375 total per game, though their pass defense (212 yards per game, 6.8 yards per attempt) has been solid enough. That being said, they’ve given up 14 passing touchdowns, which is bottom half of the league. Rodarius Williams and Kolby Harvell-Peel are still great — the cornerback duo have combined for 10 PBUs, two interceptions, and a forced fumble.
Linebacker Calvin Bundage leads the team with 4.5 sacks, Tyler Lacy has four, Trace Ford 3.5, and Malcolm Rodriguez three for a team that is third in the Big 12 with 25 total and more than three per game.
This is the best team in the conference when it comes to opponent third down conversion rate, as they hold opponents to just 24.6% — which is the second best margin in the country this year.
Oklahoma State is the better team, based on what’s happening right now. But the Cowboys looked like they had had the life sucked out of them after Bedlam, and what they let Texas Tech do to them Saturday should give Frog fans hope.
If TCU can hold the Pokes defensively and keep this a low-scoring affair, the Frogs absolutely have a shot. But if it becomes a high scoring affair, I don’t see any way TCU keeps up.
Oklahoma State 31, TCU 20.