Posted on September 24, 2017, by Travis Pulver
TCU has a good offense, but the team’s strength lies more with its defense. Oklahoma State’s strength has always been with its offense. The defense has been good enough to make sure the other team doesn’t score as much as they do. But Saturday afternoon, someone’s strength was not going to be enough.
That or their weakness would be too much to overcome. As it turns out, Oklahoma State’s defense wasn’t up to the task, and the No. 6 Cowboys lost to the No. 16 Horned Frogs 44-31.
The best way to beat Oklahoma State is to keep Mason Rudolph off the field, minimize his time on it, and make the most of your own offensive opportunities. That means put some points on the board and don’t turn the ball over. Of course, if you can force Rudolph and company to make a couple of mistakes, that helps too.
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TCU ended up doing all of that.
Kenny Hill was everything Texas A&M fans loved in his first five games for them (before everything fell apart). He was accurate, poised, and most of all—effective when it mattered most. Hill finished the day 22-33 for 228 yards and one touchdown (and an interception). He was at his best on third downs (8-11 for 108 yards) and converted on 11 of 19.
This, along with a stellar running game led by Darius Anderson (26 carries for 160 yards and three touchdowns), helped TCU do more than just control the clock. They dominated it, 39:04 to 20:56—and they did something with that time.
Kenny Hill and the Horned Frogs started a little slow with two field goals and a turnover on downs—which works entirely into Oklahoma State’s hands. With one 86-yard bomb late in the first quarter from Rudolph to James Washington, the Cowboys took the lead, 7-6.
As it turns out, it was the only lead the Cowboys would have, and it was short-lived. TCU answered the score with a seven play, 75-yard drive that was capped off with a big play of their own. It wasn’t an 86-yard big play, but the 28-yard run by Anderson gave TCU back the lead, 13-7.
Oklahoma State attempted to answer on the following drive, but Rudolph fumbled after being sacked. Nine plays later Kenny Hill connected with John Diarse on a nine-yard touchdown pass to extend the TCU lead, 20-7.
Mason Rudolph can do wonders with the ball and did his best to do so against TCU with the limited time he had. But an interception on the opening drive of the second half led to another TCU touchdown and a 17-point deficit. Oklahoma State closed the gap to six-points with a one-yard touchdown run by Justice Hill late in the fourth quarter.
But the defense had to do something they had not done all game long– stop the TCU offense. KaVontae Turpin set the offense up at midfield with a nice kick return and three players later Anderson trotted into the end zone from 42 yards out to ice the game, 44-31.
Rudolph finished the day 22-41 for 398 yards and two touchdowns but also had two interceptions.
The loss will have a serious impact on Oklahoma State’s playoff chances, but will not end them. However, the Cowboys will not be able to lose again. That will mean having to beat Oklahoma twice, in a couple of weeks and the Big 12 Championship Game.
Next week, they will face a much-improved Texas Tech team. The Red Raiders would love to make a statement of their own with an upset win.
TCU will move into the CFB playoffs conversation. But if they are going to make it into the top four they can’t lose. They have a tough one up next in West Virginia and will need to take down Kansas State, Texas, and Oklahoma as well.