NORMAN- With a week off, Oklahoma had the chance to celebrate the much needed triumph against Texas. Coming off the bye week, the Sooners now refocus on Gary Patterson and the Horned Frogs of TCU.
Despite TCU losing seven of the last eight to the Sooners, this is always an intriguing game for Oklahoma.
“I’m sure Coach Patterson has a bunch of things ready for us so we just got to be ready for,” redshirt freshman Spencer Rattler said.
“That’s a great defense, great coach, we’ll have to be ready to execute against that team.’
Key players stepping up:
Patterson is known across the country for his sound defenses, which means the Sooners will have to pull out all their weapons on offense, beginning with Rattler.
Rattler brings a certain finesse that most quarterbacks in the league can not accomplish and has a completion rate of 71.3 percent. But his eagerness of throwing into windows that are too tight has cost him five interceptions this season.
“My goal is no more turnovers fumble wise or interception wise,” Rattler said. “I’m still gonna play my game but just play it smarter that’s the only thing.”
Luckily for Rattler there are many different options the Sooners can use to exploit Patterson’s disciplined defense.
Theo Wease has shown his dependability and made some great strides against Texas. Wease finished with 52 yards and averaged 6.5 yards per catch.
“I know [Wease is] gonna make plays for me and this offense whenever we need him to,” Rattler said.
The Sooners will hope to see Wease’s role in the offense continue to grow as the season carries on.
Another offensive threat that has truly improved is Austin Stogner. Against Texas Stogner averaged 9.3 yards per catch but has averaged 13.5 this season so far. Stogner also leads the team in receptions (17) and receiving yards (230).
“You know it’s not a surprise that he’s having a big impact, not certainly to the people within this program,” Lincoln Riley said. ”I think our quarterbacks have a tremendous amount of confidence in him.”
Run game takes big strides:
The Oklahoma run game has come under fire for underwhelming performances this season. However, the running back rotation has shown a lot of growth and provided spark in key moments the past couple of games.
“The backs we’re playing with haven’t played a whole lot of football, and so they’re learning on the fly and they’re getting better and they’re getting more comfortable,” Riley said.
T.J. Pledger flashed improvement in spades when he recorded a season high against Texas by rushing 131 yards. Pledger, along with the rest of the running back core, are pushing for more opportunities to prove themselves, but Patterson’s defense won’t be providing many opportunities for these players to shine.
While TCU has allowed 178.7 yards per game on the ground this season, the Horned Frogs are historically tough against the run.
The defense comes marching in:
The Horned Frogs bring a mentally and physically tough defense to every game. TCU limited Kansas State to 289 total yards two weeks ago, which was a season low for the Wildcats.
Creed Humphrey said their coaches do a great job of implementing their scheme.
“It’s a fun game to play,” Humphrey said. “They always have a good defense so it’s exciting to play against them.”
Patterson has been able to give Riley a challenging chess match every year and this year will not be any different.
Riley said he’s done a good job in my opinion of sticking to those core principles but he certainly has adapted too.
Patterson will be rolling out his methodical and tenacious defense while Lincoln will be calling the shots for his talented and competitive offense.
The chess match begins Saturday at 11 a.m. and will be televised on ABC.