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TCU vs. Oklahoma State: 3 Things We Learned

The Horned Frogs failed to build on their biggest victory of the season, instead reaching a new low in Stillwater.

NCAA Football: Texas Christian at Oklahoma State Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

Only one week removed from upsetting Baylor and inching closer to clinching bowl eligibility, TCU faced another ranked opponent on the road, with Oklahoma State dominating the Horned Frogs in all three phases and stampeding for nearly 700 total yards in a 63-17 victory. Now 4-6 overall, TCU must beat Kansas and Iowa State over the next two weeks to avoid missing a bowl game for an unprecedented third consecutive season.

Here are three things we learned from Saturday’s beatdown in Stillwater.

1. The Cowboys are front-runners for the Big 12 Conference title

Three teams have distinguished themselves for the conference championship this season: Baylor, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. The Cowboys are playing the best football of those three programs, however, fielding one of the nation’s top defenses and an experienced quarterback in Spencer Sanders who’s having his best season with Oklahoma State.

With the Cowboys defeating Baylor earlier this season and the Bears exposing the Sooners in Waco on Saturday, Oklahoma State emerges in the driver’s seat of the conference. The regular-season title will likely come down to the Bedlam matchup between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, but the Cowboys should be favored to win due to the Sooners’ quarterback issues and overall inconsistencies as well as Oklahoma State’s all-around play.

2. TCU continues to have zero answers in the run defense

The Horned Frogs have been dominated on the ground all season long. Even when TCU upset the Bears last weekend, Baylor’s Abram Smith topped 100 yards and averaged 6.9 yards per carry. Fast-forward to the matchup against Oklahoma State, who whopped TCU’s run defense for a season-high 447 rushing yards. Jaylen Warren went off for 113 yards and three touchdowns, while third-string running back Dominic Richardson exposed the Horned Frogs for a team-leading 134 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

TCU has allowed at least one 100-yard rusher on the opposing team in eight consecutive games. The Horned Frogs haven’t generated much pass rush, but TCU’s interior defensive line has been an increasing disappointment as the season has progressed. An experienced unit with multiple returning starters (Corey Bethley, Terrell Cooper) as well as four-star recruits (Patrick Jenkins and Jaquaze Sorrells) and talented transfers (Kenny Turnier) should not be gashed on a week-by-week basis as frequently as TCU’s unit has been. Alas.

3. Kansas will not roll over for the Horned Frogs this weekend

While TCU was being crushed in Stillwater, Kansas went into Austin and stunned the Texas Longhorns with a 57-56 overtime victory for the program’s first conference road win since 2008. Sophomore quarterback Jalon Daniels enjoyed his best collegiate start for the Jayhawks, throwing for 202 yards and three touchdowns while running for a touchdown. Devin Neal stepped up on the ground, rushing for 143 yards and three touchdowns.

TCU will host Kansas for its Senior Night game this weekend and the Horned Frogs shouldn’t take the Jayhawks lightly. Kansas could be playing its best football of the season and the Jayhawks have some recent history of success against the Horned Frogs, knocking them off 27-26 in 2018. Should TCU find a way to lose, it would be perhaps the lowest low of a forgettable 2021 season that has featured plenty of them.