OSU-TCU: Key Match-ups & Prediction

Josh Stewart

This game has a lot of importance as Oklahoma State and TCU are both looking for a win to springboard into the month of November. We know the Cowboys are looking at a schedule of nothing but ranked opponents until the regular season finale at Baylor. TCU has West Virginia, Kansas State, Texas and OU left on the slate after this weekend.

The Horned Frogs need one victory to become bowl eligible, while Oklahoma State is the only team other than Kansas State that controls its own destiny in the Big 12. If OSU finds a way to win the rest, the Cowboys would repeat as Big 12 champs. All they need to find right now is a way to beat TCU.

1. OSU Defensive Ends and Safeties
vs. TCU Quarterback Trevone Boykin
Casey Pachall started the season at quarterback for the Horned Frogs, and he is good. He was marvelous last season leading TCU to a Mountain West Conference championship.

However, since Pachall had his DWI and has pulled himself out of school to seek treatment for alcohol and drug dependencies, Trevone Boykin has come on and been very stout. You have to discount his first start against Iowa State as Boykin learned he was playing quarterback on Thursday after working as a running back all week because of depth issues at that position.

Here's a look at TCU's offensive numbers this season:
Total offense/Points per game
vs. Grambling (Pachall) 531 yards/56 points
vs. Kansas (Pachall) 487 yards/20 points
vs. Virginia (Pachall) 438 yards/27 points
vs. SMU (Pachall) 156 yards/24 points
vs. Iowa State (Boykin) 455 yards/23 points vs. Baylor (Boykin) 509 yards/49 points vs. Texas Tech-3OT (Boykin) 516 yards/53 points

The premise is that TCU is better offensively with Boykin at quarterback, and the numbers give that credence. Boykin is so good at the quarterback run game with the zone read and power read not to mention the quarterback sweep and speed option.

He handles the ball well and is quick. Defenders have to pass rush on skates to make sure they don't lose contain on Boykin. He also has a cannon for an arm and he can throw deep, really deep.

The Oklahoma State defensive ends must keep contain, and play assignment football on option plays. They must pass rush and be effective without over-committing. The safeties must be alert to come up and play run support, but not get fooled on play action allowing the ball to be thrown over their head. It is not real complicated but because of Boykin's speed and versatility it is effective.
Edge: TCU QB Trevone Boykin

2. OSU Offensive Tackles Parker Graham and Daniel Koenig
vs. TCU Defensive Ends Devonte Fields and Stansly Maponga or James McFarland
The Horned Frogs lead the Big 12 in sacks and interceptions because they have an effective pass rush. Fields is the individual sack leader with 7.5 sacks, and Maponga was the expected leader in the preseason.

Injuries have slowed Maponga and kept him out of games. He is likely to miss Saturday as well with McFarland stepping in his place again. As a team, the Frogs have 19 sacks for 112 yards in losses and they have picked off 14 passes.

The Cowboys have allowed the fewest sacks in the Big 12 with just three for 14 yards in losses, and they have only tossed seven interceptions, so something will have to give. TCU is good at getting, and OSU is good at not giving.

The key will be the pass rush, and Graham and Koenig have featured billing in making sure they keep Fields and whoever is opposite him occupied.
Edge: Even

3. OSU Slot Receivers Josh Stewart and Blake Jackson
vs. TCU Safeties
Look for Stewart and Jackson to be the Cowboys' go-to receivers on Saturday. Stewart was the go-to guy last week against Iowa State, and Jackson has become much more dependable and he is explosive. Stewart, who gets a lot of short passes, is averaging 10.8 yards per reception while Jackson is averaging 19.7 yards per grab.

TCU is allowing only seven yards per pass attempt, so once again, something will have to give. The 4-2-5 scheme of head coach Gary Patterson has Sam Carter at strong safety, Elisha Olabode at the free, and Chris Hackett at the weak safety spot. Look for variations of cover six as the base for this crew, and look for Stewart and Jackson to be looking for corners and crevices to take advantage for a catch. Edge: OSU Slot Receivers Stewart and Jackson

Prediction
Take you blood pressure medication or your nitro pills because this will be a barn burner and should keep you on the edge of your Boone Pickens Stadium seat. I just don't see either team running away and hiding from the other.

Turnovers would have to be involved if that happens, and it has happened to both teams this season, the Cowboys at Arizona and TCU hosting Iowa State. If everybody does a decent job of holding onto the football, then look out as this game will go down to the wire.

Oklahoma State 38, TCU 31

Week 9 Predictions
No. 24 Texas 45, Kansas 20

No. 4 Kansas State 28, No. 17 Texas Tech 20

Iowa State 30, Baylor 28

No. 7 Oklahoma 24, No. 5 Notre Dame 14

Last Week

@Oklahoma State 34 Iowa State 20 Actual Score: 31-10 OSU

No. 21 TCU 28, No. 20 Texas Tech 20
Actual Score 56-53 Texas Tech (3OT)

No. 7 Oklahoma 38, Kansas 9
Actual Score: 52-7 Oklahoma

No. 3 Kansas State 45, No. 15 West Virginia 35
Actual Score: 55-14 Kansas State

Baylor 35, Texas 31
Actual Score: 56-50 Texas

Last Week: 3-2 SU/3-2 ATS

Record: SU 41-7/ATS 27-12 (Games involving FCS teams don't have point spreads.)

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