Thursday, November 29, 2012
Five storylines: Oklahoma vs. TCU
By Brandon Chatmon
Five storylines as No. 11 Oklahoma faces TCU on Saturday:
1. Will the Sooners take care of their end?
There’s been plenty of talk around the state of Oklahoma about the Sooners chances to make the BCS. Yet it will mean nothing if the Sooners don’t beat TCU.
The Horned Frogs are coming off a 20-13 win over Texas but have lost three of their last five games. TCU’s first year in the Big 12 has been difficult but it has overcome injuries and obstacles to earn a 4-4 conference record heading into Saturday’s finale.
2. Football players turned cheerleaders?
The Sooners players were candid when asked about cheering for Northern Illinois and Texas this weekend. Both teams are playing games that will impact OU’s BCS chances.
If Texas beats Kansas State and OU defeats TCU, the Sooners win the Big 12 championship and earn a BCS berth. If Kent State beats Northern Illinois and Texas and/or UCLA lose, then Kent State, currently No. 17, could slide into the BCS Top 16, thus securing a BCS bid. OU needs Northern Illinois to beat Kent State to increase its chances of earning a BCS at-large bid.
The Horned Frogs quarterback is like a running back at the quarterback position. That’s a scary thought for an OU defense which has struggled to stop the quarterback running game and zone read plays this season. He’s a run-pass threat unlike any the Sooners have seen this season.
The Sooners have struggled to make plays in the open field and tackle well in recent weeks. They must improve against Boykin or the redshirt freshman could have a huge game.
4. Can Landry Jones throw for 500 yards for the third straight game?
OU’s senior quarterback has thrown for 1,044 yards in the Sooners past two games against West Virginia and Oklahoma State.
But neither of those defenses have played as well as TCU’s this season. The Horned Frogs lead the conference in total defense, allowing 323.9 yards per game. TCU’s pass defense could be susceptible in the passing game however as the Horned Frogs have allowed four 300-yard passing games in conference play.
OU’s offense provides the sternest test of the season for TCU’s defense, averaging a Big 12 best 437 passing yards per game in November. Jones is on fire and it will be tough for any defense to stop him.
5. Will special teams have a major impact on the game?
Jalen Saunders' punt return sparked OU’s win over OSU on Saturday, energizing the Oklahoma Memorial Stadium and the Sooners squad.
If the game comes down to special teams, OU has to feel good about its chances with its punt return, kickoff return and field goal units ranking among the Big 12’s best. And punter Tress Way has been solid throughout the season.