Fort Worth, TX (SportsNetwork.com) – Top-25 action takes place in the Big 12
this weekend, as the 12th-ranked TCU Horned Frogs play host to the 15th-ranked
Oklahoma State Cowboys at Amon G. Carter Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
After opening the season with four straight victories, including a huge home
win over conference favorite Oklahoma on Oct. 4, Gary Patterson’s Horned Frogs
gave another top-five foe all they could handle, in dropping a 61-58 heart-
breaking setback at Baylor last weekend.
Mike Gundy’s Cowboys are 5-1 on the season and have gotten off to a fast start
in conference play at 3-0. The team’s lone loss on the season came in the
opener against defending national champion Florida State. Most recently, OSU
posted a hard-fought 27-20 win at Kansas.
Oklahoma State owns a 13-9-2 series advantage, including last year’s 24-10
victory in Stillwater.
The Cowboys have employed a balanced attack this season in amassing a solid
420.7 yards per game. The team is getting 155.0 ypg on the ground and another
265.7 through the air.
That has been a bit of relief this season, considering the team has had to go
to “Plan B” under center with the season-ending injury to J.W. Walsh. Junior
Daxx Garman has performed well in Walsh’s stead, completing 57.9 percent of
his passes, for 1,361 yards and 10 TDs.
Gundy has been pleased for the most part with Garman’s play thus far.
“Well, he’s played pretty well except he needs to understand the depth of
safeties in certain times when he’s throwing the ball,” said Gundy. “Daxx’s
ability to improve each week will be based on us running the football because
if we are not able to run the football, then you play pass, and when you’re
playing pass, it’s hard to throw a pass. Defenses are much faster and
defensive linemen nowadays are much better in pursuit of the quarterback than
they were five or six years ago. In my opinion, if you have a difficult time
running the ball, you’re going to have a difficult time throwing the ball.”
Garman has spread the ball around without focusing too much on one single
player downfield. Wideouts Brandon Sheperd and David Glidden and running back
Tyreek Hill are all tied for the team-lead in receptions with 18.
Senior RB Desmond Roland is the go-to-guy on the ground, rushing for a team-
best 391 yards, while scoring seven of the team’s 12 rushing scores to date.
OSU has done a nice job stopping the run, ranking 20th in the country at just
110.8 yards per game. Unfortunately, the team has fallen victim to opposing
passing attack, allowing a generous 267.3 yards per game (101st in the
Junior LB Ryan Simmons leads the team in tackles with 44. Sophomore LB Seth
Jacobs is a close second at 41 stops and has two interceptions. Senior LB Josh
Furman (34 tackles, 8.0 TFL, 5.0 sacks) and sophomore DE Emmanuel Ogbah (27
tackles, 9.5 TFL, 5.0 sacks) have caused mayhem in opposing backfields.
AS potent as OSU has been on offense, TCU is considerably better. The Horned
Frogs are third in the nation in scoring (45.8 ppg) and 15th in total offense
Junior quarterback Trevone Boykin has been superb under center for TCU. He has
completed 57.7 percent of his throws, for 1,463 yards, with 11 TDs against
just two INTs. He is also the team’s leading rusher at 305 yards and three
Junior running back B.J. Catalon is second on the team in rushing (268 yards),
with a team-best six rushing scores.
When TCU does look downfield, Boykin usually finds juniors Josh Doctson (24
rec, 272 yds, 3 TDS), Deante’ Gray (19 rec, 208 yds. 3 TDs) or Kolby Listenbee
(18 rec, 418 yds, 3 TDs).
The numbers on the defensive side of the ball aren’t as eye-popping for TCU,
although giving up 61 points to Baylor last week certainly skews them a bit.
The team ranks 57th nationally in total defense (379.8 ypg) and 50th in
scoring defense (23.0 ppg). The one area where the unit has excelled is
turnover margin, ranking tops in the Big 12 and seventh nationally at +1.4.
The star on the defensive side of the ball for TCU has been senior Paul Dawson
early on. The talented linebacker is tops on the team in tackles (55), with
7.0 TFL, 3.0 sacks, 2 INTs, 3 FR and 2 FF. He had a whopping 18 tackles and
two sacks last week against Baylor.
Coach Patterson knows his team is in for a battle this week.
“We’ll have our hands full, but the biggest thing is scoring one more point
whether it’s 14-13 or 45-44. Our goal is to get to 5-1 and 2-1 in the
There will be no shortage of points scored in this one. The Horned Frogs are
still fighting for national respect of sorts and can go a long way in earning
it by knocking off the Big-12 leading Cowboys in Fort Worth.