Posted on September 19, 2017, by Travis Pulver
Oklahoma has been ruling the roost in the Big 12 for years, but the Sooners are going to face some tough competition this season. Two of the teams aiming to get a spot in the conference title game themselves will be facing off this Saturday– the No. 16 TCU Horned Frogs and No. 6 Oklahoma State Cowboys.
When the two meet this Saturday in Stillwater, Oklahoma, there is a very good chance it could be one of the most exciting games of the season to date.
For it to be that kind of game, however, one thing is going to have to happen. TCU quarterback Kenny Hill is going to have to bring his ‘A’ game.
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We already know that Oklahoma State gunslinger Mason Rudolph will. The senior has yet to throw for less than 303 yards in a game this season and currently ranks fourth in the nation in yards per game (378.3). Of course, it helps when you have a plethora of targets to throw to and a good running game to help keep defenses honest and take pressure off.
But what makes the Oklahoma State offense even more impressive than Rudolph’s stats is that he doesn’t target any one receiver more than the others. With such a prolific passing game, you’d expect Oklahoma State receivers would lead the nation in receptions per game. But they don’t have one in the top 100.
Of course, the problem with looking at what Oklahoma State has done this season is that they haven’t faced anyone yet. They were expected to whip Tulsa, South Alabama, and Pitt and did just that. TCU will easily be the best all-around team they have faced this season. They will certainly have the best defense the Mason Rudolph has seen.
The Horned Frogs haven’t exactly faced a tough schedule either, but they have faced better competition than Oklahoma State (Jackson State, Arkansas, and SMU). Kenny Hill has done a decent job at quarterback completing 75 percent of his passes and throwing just two interceptions.
But the real strength of the Horned Frogs is their defense. If the first three games are any indication, the tough as nails TCU head coach Gary Patterson is known for is back (No. 15 in total defense). However, if the SMU game is any indication, TCU is not ready for what they are going to see from Oklahoma State.
SMU sophomore QB Ben Hicks is a promising young quarterback. But he doesn’t belong in the same conversations as Mason Rudolph. He still managed to throw for 300+ against the TCU defense. That was without a marquee running back like the Cowboys have to take pressure off.
TCU hasn’t faced anyone as tough as Oklahoma State this season. If Kenny Hill can get on track early and limit the mistakes, the Horned Frogs could certainly make the Cowboys work for it.
But in the end, only one can win…
The Cowboys defense isn’t overly impressive. So it is not impossible to imagine Kenny Hill having a good day against Oklahoma State. He didn’t last season, but a year later and a year better…who knows what could happen. Mason Rudolph got it done on the ground last year against the Horned Frogs. But it is hard to imagine him struggling against TCU’s defense this year.
The Horned Frogs will be his toughest challenge to date. But in the end, it will not be much of a challenge. Oklahoma State is just too good.
TCU may be good enough to keep up with Oklahoma State for a quarter. But once Mason Rudolph heats up, this one is going to get ugly. Oddsmakers have the Cowboys favored by 11.5. They will cover that before the end of the first half and win by at least 14.