I couldn’t believe my eyes at halftime of Saturday’s game between TCU and Oklahoma State. The Cowboys had a slight edge of 10-6. It was one of the only Big 12 games of this season that has been highlighted by tough defense and unimpressive offense. A lot of credit needs to be given, especially to Oklahoma State.
In the second half, Oklahoma State continued to suffocate TCU’s offense and went on to win the game 31-6. With the victory, only the Oklahoma Sooners stand in their way of winning the conference championship.
There were a lot of reasons for people to believe TCU had a chance at scoring the upset. The Horned Frogs had a bye the week before, the game was played in Forth Worth, and Gary Patterson’s team had revenge on the their minds, a year after their hopes of an undefeated season were crushed by the Cowboy’s. But an unexpected statement from OSU’s defense gashed any advantages TCU might have had.
Entering the game, Kenny Hill led the Big 12 in interceptions. Oklahoma State’s ball-hawking defense led the Big 12 in interceptions and needed to take advantage of this mismatch. They did.
TCU’s enigmatic quarterback had one of his worst outings of the season. Hill only completed 18 passes for 166 yards. His only touchdown came on a 4-yard shovel pass to KaVontae Turpin, which required the running back to give the lion share of the effort to find the end zone. He also threw a pair of interceptions. One went to cornerback Lenzy Pipkins, and the other went to linebacker Justin Phillips.
Mason Rudolph wasn’t quite at his usual excellence, only completing 50 percent of his 34 passes for 207 yards and a touchdown. He didn’t need to be.
The season-long improvement to the Oklahoma State running game is starting to show itself. The Cowboys ran the ball 45 times for a dominating 334 yards and 3 touchdowns. It was as impressive of a performance for the ground game, as it was for the defense. Chris Carson, who ran for an average of 8.6 yards per carry, provided punishing hits to wear down the Horned Frog defense. While Justice Hill’s quick jump cuts frustrated would be tacklers, in route to a 154-yard game. The two provided a nice fastball and a changeup for the running game, and TCU couldn’t seem to hit either.
Now, after seven consecutive wins, Oklahoma State heads into their bye week. A matchup with the archrival Sooners awaits them on the other side. And if the Sooners can come out on top Saturday in Morgantown, then December 3 Bedlam matchup will be for the 2016 Big 12 Championship.