I'm still recovering emotionally from Saturday, but neither blown offensive PI calls, nor triple overtime, nor fourth string players will keep me from putting back on my purple colored glasses and making a prediction sure to go wrong for SpitBlood's faithful following this Friday.
The Frogs, coming off an ESPN Instant Classic triple OT battle at The Carter, have to regroup and head on the road to play in front of a massive crowd in Stillwater tomorrow. Like TCU, the Pokes are playing with their backup QB, but the difference is Wes Lunt, a true freshman, came into the season as the starter, before getting hurt and losing his role to J.W. Walsh, who is now hurt and has been replaced by half a Lunt.
Despite the flux behind center, OK State is still a potent offensive team, averaging over 45 points per game. They get it done on the ground and through the air, to the tune of over 600 yards a game. Joseph Randle, the returning star at tailback has been outstanding, and though the receiving corp has been decimated by injuries, they have enough depth and playmakers to get the job done. This is another in a string of tough tasks for the TCU D, and quite possibly the most efficient and balanced squad the Frogs have faced this year.
The onus is going to fall on the secondary, which had a rough outing on Saturday, who struggled to make stops in the passing game and didn't ball hawk the way we've seen in victories against Baylor or Virginia. Jason Verrett, who continues to be the best cover guy we have, will need to take his game to the next level and look to get deflections and force some turnovers. Either Kevin White or Chris Hackett are going to have to make plays, and Olabode, Carter, and Anderson (where has he been?) need to probably play out of their minds against the pass. I predict that TCU gets back to making big plays, and pick off two Lunt throws, as experience pulls through.
Outside of two great sacks by Devonte Fields to start the second half last Saturday, the pass rush was non existant and Doege had basically all day to throw. That's going to have to change tomorrow if TCU wants to have a chance. Hopefully we see Maponga back on the field - I haven't seen a status update regarding that. It's nice to know Fields can still make plays when all the focus is on him, but we clearly need Big Stansley on the other edge to get continuous pressure on opposing QB's. Kenny Cain, who has been outstanding, also seemed to be hurt by Maponga's absence, and the lack of depth was evident late in the game and in OT as the D was gassed. With a true freshman at QB, the opportunity to throw different looks at him and have Lunt playing on his heels is there, and I think the pressure notch is dialed way up. Multiple sacks and a sack fumble seem possible.
If the TCU D can hold OK State under 400 total yards, turn them over a couple times, and prevent the big play, they will do enough to put the offense in a position to win.
The TCU offense, led by emerging star Trevone Boykin, had it's ups and downs verses Tech, and I don't think anyone that watched that game doesn't think TCU is in GREAT shape for the future. But the only future I'm worried about is 24 hours from now, and how Boykin and co can fair against the Cowboy's D. State gives up 25 points a game and almost 400 yards, so this is no defensive stalwart, but not Baylor either. Clearly, the Frogs can have some success on the scoreboard, and while it might not take 50, it's going to take 30+.
Boykin threw two picks on Saturday, but neither were terrible decisions. The long TD he threw to get TCU back into striking distance was about as perfect a pass as you will see - or so I heard as I'm pretty sure my eyes were closed at that point as I was praying for Divine Intervention (you're welcome). He continues to be more and more effective and his football IQ is rising by the series. This kid is on his way to becoming a legit star in the Big 12. Boykin will account for over 300 yards of offense on his own, and continue to spread the ball around to his bevy of targets. Brandon Carter was almost the forgotten man last week, and I think he comes back for a big game, to the tune of 5-7 receptions and a score. After Skye Dawson being the leading receiver against Tech (who would have thunk it?), Josh Boyce and LaDarius Brown will be the big stars once again, and Brown catches yet another long touchdown pass. The ground game has improved with Boykin in the backfield, and BJ Catalon, who finally got his first collegiate score, will get back in the endzone Saturday.
The special teams was insane last week... Jaden Oberkrom is quite possibly the best kicker in the country. But, as much as I love the kid, I hope to not see him putting points on the board tomorrow unless they're singles. Too often the offense settled for three, and that was the difference in the game. They have to get in the endzone if they want to have a chance. Look for Dawson to build off his solid game and break a long return or two - OK State has a great special teams, but they have given up a few big returns, so maybe Skye can finally break one all the way.
As much as I hate to do it, and even though I can't hardly remember TCU's last three game losing streak, I just don't know if the D has enough gas in the tank to slow down the Cowboy attack at home and give the O a chance. OSU 38, TCU 35.
Let's hear your predictions in the comments: Who comes up with the big play on D? How many times does Boykin get in the endzone? Will we get a Gundy "I'm a man rant" if they end up on their 12th string QB by the end of this game? Here's to hoping I'm wrong... Go Frogs.