The Oklahoma Sooners play host to the Texas Christian University (TCU) Horned Frogs on Saturday night from Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. In what is expected to be a crucial Big 12 conference, the Horned Frogs enter coming off of a blowout win against Texas Tech the last time out. For Oklahoma, last week saw them grab a win in the Red River Showdown in one of the most exciting games in the history of the rivalry. It hasn't been easy and it hasn't been pretty for the Sooners this season, scrapping by week after week, and look to have a more convincing type of game on Saturday. In the series between the two teams, Oklahoma has won nine of ten overall and seven games in a row overall. In the Big 12 preseason poll,the Sooners were selected as heavy favorites, taking 35 of 39 first-place votes. For TCU, they came in fifth in the poll and still have a good shot to finish in the top half of the conference when things are all said and done. Saturday promises to be one of top games on the Big 12 slate or the weekend and could just be the next in line for a historic season for the Sooners.
Horned Frogs Aim For UpsetTCU enters Saturday night's game 3-2 on the season with a win in their lone road game. While Oklahoma presents a different set of challenges for the Horned Frogs, they have to have some confidence having just grabbed a dominant win over Texas Tech the last time out. Back-to-back losses prior to SMU and Texas still have expectations tempered and this weekend's game is a huge opportunity for TCU to grab a ranked win that has eluded them over the last few seasons. The offense is pretty dinged up heading into this weekend's game, with wide receiver Mikel Barkley (foot) out. Running back Zach Evans (undisclosed) and quarterback Max Duggan (undisclosed) are both questionable to play this weekend. It was always going to be an uphill battle for the Horned Frogs but these injuries only make it that much more difficult for them to come away with a win.
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Duggan has had a stellar start to the season, tossing nine touchdowns compared to only two interceptions, but his backups are quite a bit untested and if he can't go, the Horned Frogs will see their offense dip drastically. They rank 16th nationally in points per game, scoring nearly 40 a game, but that's with their normal complement of offensive stars getting it done. If Duggan can play, expect a much heavier effort than usual for him out of the pocket, especially given Oklahoma's struggles defensively over the last year. Evans is the team's leading rusher, at 117 yards per game on the ground, and would be a massive blow if he's unable to go. The good news is that Kendre Miller has been a superb backup, averaging over 60 yards per game in his own right. Without Evans, the ground game will take a step back but is still plenty good enough to give Oklahoma a scare.
Everyone knows how prolific Oklahoma's offense can be, especially now that they have the potential switch at quarterback. The concern is that TCU only ranks 86th nationally in points allowed per game and while they have played some prolific offenses thus far, Saturday's opponent might be unlike anything they have seen or will see this season. The key is going to be getting pressure on the quarterback. They only rank 116th nationally in sacks per game and if they are unable to make Oklahoma's quarterback(s) uncomfortable in the pocket, they'll be in for a long day. Look for the secondary to try to lead the way and force some turnovers but the athleticism all over the field for the Sooners might be too much for the Horned Frogs to handle.
Sooners Not Worrying About QB DramaOklahoma's effort last week was historic in their comeback against texas and it's likely that the momentum and confidence could carry over into this weekend. Not only are they playing an inferior team in TCU but they are at home as well, where the fans will have a warm welcome ready. The quarterback situation remains a slight concern after last week's shakeup but regardless of who gets out there for the majority of the snaps, the Sooners shouldn't have any issues putting up points. The defense is more of a concern but still has the athletes and experience to make some big plays. Unfortunately for the Sooners, the injury report is lengthy and it's a good thing that they boast some of the best depth in the country. They already have four players ruled out, with another five questionable. Luckily for the Sooners, their core group of playmakers remains intact and Oklahoma will look to grab hold of the Big 12 reigns in a crucial night game from Norman.
It's no surprise to see Oklahoma's offense ranked near the top of FBS. They rank eighth nationally in scoring and 20th in yards per game and that was with many fans calling for Spencer Rattler to be benched. It's not easy following in the footsteps of such great quarterbacks, as he found last week getting benched for Caleb Williams. Rattler has turned the ball over quite a bit and Williams looked exceptional last week, but the quarterback position still seems up for grabs heading into this weekend. At running back, the two-headed monster of Kennedy Brooks and Eric Gray continues to churn out rushing yards, combining for nearly `140 yards per game on the ground. As the offense continues to develop an identity at quarterback, expect these two to have no issues at all securing success on the ground on Saturday and for the offense to use that balance on the ground to have a big day.
Defensively, Oklahoma are quite a few years removed from their historically bad defense but has certainly taken a step back from last seasons’ success. The Horned Frogs lack some of the spunk some of their other opponents have had though and given the injuries that TCU might be nursing, the Sooners shouldn’t have any issues having their way on both sides of the ball. One concern is the ground game but even if Evans does give it a go, he’s gonna struggle to get consistent reps, and shouldn’t do too much damage to the Sooners.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Sooners are riding a ton of momentum from last weekend and even with the QB issues, they only now have become more dynamic and tough to slow down. They shouldn’t have any issues moving the ball against TCU and while their defense has allowed other teams to stay close, that won’t be the case on Saturday. The Horned Frogs are juggling too many injuries to make things interesting and given how excited the fan base will be after last weekend, home field will rule supreme. Additionally, according to covers.com, for Oklahoma, they are 5-1 ATS in their last six games after allowing more than 280 yards passing in their previous game, are 4-1 ATS in their last five games in October, and are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games after accumulating more than 450 total yards in their previous game. For TCU, they are 0-3-1 ATS in their last four games on grass, are 1-5 ATS in their last six meetings. Also, the favorite is 5-1 ATS in their last six meetings.
Full-Game Total Pick
Oklahoma’s offense is one of the best in the country but given that this game could get out of hand and they could be juggling quarterbacks, the offense might not be quite as dynamic for all four quarters as it usually is. For TCU, the injuries on offense will hurt their chances at scoring consistently and 65 combined points don’t seem in the cards. Additionally, according to covers.com, for TCU, the under is 4-0 in their last four games as an underdog and is 5-1 in their last six games after accumulating less than 170 yards passing in their previous game. For Oklahoma, the under is 4-1-1 in their last six games after allowing more than 40 points in their previous game and is 6-2 in their last eight games after accumulating more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game. In games between the two teams, the under is 7-0 in the last seven meetings in Oklahoma and is 4-1 in the last five meetings overall.