TCU vs Oklahoma: How Horned Frogs Can Upend Sooners in Big 12 Clash

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TCU vs Oklahoma: How Horned Frogs Can Upend Sooners in Big 12 Clash
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 11 Oklahoma Sooners and TCU Horned Frogs are familiar foes headed in different directions this season, with both teams entering a critical Big 12 showdown.

Oklahoma has been nothing short of dominant this season, as its record has swelled to 4-0. The team's most critical win came last week when the Sooners downed Notre Dame 35-21.

Things have been erratic at best for the Horned Frogs, a team without an identity at 2-2 after losing to quality opposition in LSU and Texas Tech, but encountering little resistance from SE Louisiana and SMU.

TCU can upset the Sooners and place itself back in the Top 25 with a specific formula. Here's how.

 

Trevone Boykin Must Continue to Improve

Quarterback Casey Pachall is officially out for the the game, so the ball is once again in Trevone Boykin's court, which is just fine considering that he led the Horned Frogs to a near upset of the Sooners last season.

Last year, Boykin got to start and threw for just 231 yards and one score. He added a rushing touchdown as well. Boykin has already been much better this year, as he has thrown for 635 yards and four scores with just two interceptions, while completing over 60 percent of his passes.

Perhaps the biggest difference is the fact that Boykin has only been sacked three times in four games, whereas last year, he was sacked 24 times.

Boykin is also a threat on the ground, which he showed against SMU last week when he rushed for over 100 yards. The sophomore will need a remarkable performance against an Oklahoma defense that allows just 12 points per game.

 

Defense Must Follow WVU's Lead

The West Virginia Mountaineers took the Sooners down to the wire a few weeks back before losing 16-7.

West Virginia forced four turnovers and a quarterback change for the Sooners. However, the situation has worked out fine for the Sooners, as Blake Bell has went on to throw six touchdowns and no interceptions in the last two games.

The ball-hawking strategy the Mountaineers used to force turnovers is similar to what TCU did a year ago when it nearly pulled off the upset before losing 24-17. The Horned Frogs forced two turnovers in that contest and won the time of possession battle.

To successfully counter an Oklahoma offense that scores over 30 points per game, the Horned Frogs must follow the formula it crafted a year ago and emulate what West Virginia was able to do—minus the four turnovers the Mountaineers also committed.

 

Key on the Run

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While the Sooners have struggled to find consistency at the quarterback position (that search now appears to be over), it is the running game that has allowed the team to win games.

The duo of Brennan Clay and Damien Williams have combined for 542 yards and three scores, and they've opened wider passing lanes for their quarterbacks as a result.

The good news is TCU fields a defense more than capable of shutting down Oklahoma's ground attack, as the unit ranks No. 26 in the country against the rush, allowing 115.8 yards per game.

TCU will be able to focus on the run and limit its production, meaning the Sooners will be forced into a one-dimensional attack, which the Horned Frogs can capitalize on en route to an upset. 

 

Follow B/R's Chris Roling on Twitter for more news and analysis @Chris_Roling

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