A Big-12 Affair

Saturday Spotlight

(16) TCU Horned Frogs at (6) Oklahoma State Cowboys

TCU: A few seasons back, I thought they were one of the elite teams in the nation and had a really good shot at getting to the playoffs and possibly beyond that to the championship game. They were breezing through opponents but when the games mattered the most, they were nowhere to be found and that’s been their issue. In the Big-12, the one thing that many of the teams in the conference have with one another is the ability to light up the scoreboard and TCU is no stranger to that conversation. So far in 2017, coach Gary Patterson’s group are averaging 49 points per game. Let’s talk about Kenny Hill and how he’s fared as the quarterback of the Horned Frogs. In a conference where the quarterbacks such as Baker Mayfield, Will Grier, and Mason Rudolph have flourished, you can see why it’s difficult to really get some recognition, but Kenny has quietly put together a nice season. He’s completed 75 percent of his passes, he’s thrown eight touchdown passes and only two picks. Their offense is working and it always will because they have the motor to drive the football down the field, spread defenses out and winning the open space game. The defense of TCU has been great just as well. So here’s the question: What makes them so successful? They have a phenomenal pass rush and they have been physically dominant at the line of scrimmage. For years, one side of the football has always outshined the other, but this year, they both have handled their business. This is a big game for Gary Patterson and his guys as they will see a very prolific Cowboys offense of Oklahoma State in Stillwater on Saturday afternoon.

Oklahoma State: On Saturday against Pittsburgh, I was amazed watching how their offense worked up and down the field and how they were able to just score with simple ease and it starts with one guy and he goes by the name of Mason Rudolph who has truly established himself as a Heisman contender. He’s a big kid standing tall at 6’5 with the ability to look at the line and make all the necessary throws down the field whether it’s over the middle, down the sideline and in the flat. Don’t let his size fool you. Last week in that game at Pitt, the pressure was coming from the right side of the defensive line and you immediately thought he was going down, but he somehow powered himself to stay up and found an open receiver down the field and scored. Also in that game, he threw five touchdown passes in the first half. We always talk about Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield rightfully so, Mason is in that conversation for one of the best in the nation. James Washington is another guy that I’ve been high on as well. He’s the best wide receiver in the country and when you watch him play and you look at his physique, you see more of a running back look to him than a receiver so whenever he does declare himself eligible for the NFL Draft, I wonder how he’ll really be used at the next level. Every quarterback has that go to guy and he’s been Rudolph’s for a few years now. He’s a five-foot-eleven, 183-pound wide receiver that loves to stretch the field from a vertical standpoint. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him drop a pass, so he’s very sure-handed and after he makes the catch, he moves exceptionally well in open space. As a defender, if you play him tight on off of him, he’ll find a way to catch the ball. They’ve also been playing some defense as well. The pass rush has been okay, the run defense, good enough, and the secondary is holding its own against teams that have to bomb away to keep up. This is a big-time game on Saturday afternoon at home.

TCU Player To Watch: Darius Anderson– Whenever you’re facing a team that can air the ball out all over the field and score, your best bet to try and control the clock and how do you do that? You run the football! Oklahoma State’s run defense is just average at best so I’d get Anderson his touches early on and as often as possible. You don’t want to be too predictable.

Oklahoma State Group To Watch: The Cowboys offensive line– TCU loves to rush the passer and this will be the best defensive front that Oklahoma State has seen all season long. We’re about to see just how real the defense of the Horned Frogs really is. They’ve done a good job protecting Mason all year long, now let’s see what they do on Saturday.

Final Analysis: This is the best game on the slate for week four. The Big-12 always calls for an entertaining game and I don’t think this one will disappoint. This TCU secondary will have my attention for sure and the big question is how will they be able to keep up with the receivers of Oklahoma State? More importantly, can they try to slow down an Oklahoma State offense that has been on fire right out the gate? These will be the best offenses that either team has seen this year. The Cowboys have blown out their first three opponents and TCU will have its explosive moments and try their best to match score for score.

Prediction: Oklahoma State 45 TCU 28