Eyeing a spot in the first College Football playoff, the No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners face their toughest challenge of the season so far as they take on the No. 25 TCU Horned Frogs Saturday afternoon at Amon G. Carter Stadium.
A perfect 4-0 after overcoming a pesky West Virginia squad two weeks ago in Morgantown, Oklahoma looks to improve its Big 12 record to 2-0 and put the equally pesky Horned Frogs down early.
The Sooners own a 9-4 all-time record against TCU, and have won three straight dating back to 2008, but barely knocked them down 20-17 last season and suffered a huge upset in 2005, well before the Horned Frogs joined the Big 12.
TCU also enters the matchup undefeated after steamrolling SMU 56-0 last week, behind four passing and two rushing touchdowns from quarterback Trevone Boykin, and 614 total yards of offense. The Horned Frogs defense also forced three turnovers in the rout, and their now in the Top 25 for the first time this season.
Despite that impressive display, the Sooners own an even more devastating attack, complemented by the emergence of freshman running back Samaje Perine. Weighing in at a staggering 243 pounds, Perine plowed through the Mountaineers for 242 yards and four touchdowns two weeks ago. Perine will likely carry the load once again, with sophomore Keith Ford sit out the second straight game with a broken fibula, according to NewsOK.
The Horned Frogs can counter with their own power running game and defense. As a team TCU has let up only one rushing touchdown through three games and 2.1 yards per carry. They also have a knack for prying the ball loose, recovering five of seven forced fumbles.
Boykin leads the offense from the ground and air, totaling 214 rushing yards and three scores with another 858 passing yards and eight touchdowns. The junior’s the most talented, two-way quarterback the Sooners have faced all year, but they do have a solid pass rush that’s picked up 12 sacks, the fifth-most in the conference.
Still TCU has just as formidable a defensive line to pester sophomore quarterback Trevor Knight, who’s had his fair share of struggles early in the season. Knight’s had some trouble with his accuracy, completing 58.5 percent of his passes, and didn’t throw for a touchdown against West Virginia. He’s also tossed three errant interceptions.
Knight does have a solid offensive line to protect him. The Sooners are second in the Big 12, allowing only two sacks in four games, and creating holes for the nation’s No. 34 rushing offense. And despite his issues, Oklahoma is ninth in the country with 44.8 points per game.
The Sooners and Knight also boast receiver Sterling Shepard, a junior with 23 receptions for 436 yards and two touchdowns. TCU will counter with the conference’s No. 1 pass defense, surrendering 127 yards per game and opposing quarterbacks completeling 48.8 percent of their passes. TCU’s also let up one passing touchdown in three games.
Start Time: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. EST
TV Channel: FOX
Betting Odds: Oklahoma -5
Over/Under: 56.5 points
Prediction: Oklahoma 23, TCU 17