The No. 18 Horned Frogs (9-1, 6-1 Big 12 Conference) travel to Norman, Oklahoma, Saturday to take on the No. 7 Oklahoma Sooners (9-1, 6-1), with kickoff set for 7 p.m. at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.
The Frogs enter the game as the underdog, a situation they have not been in since last season’s infamous game against Baylor on Oct. 11, 2014, in Waco, Texas.
TCU head coach Gary Patterson had one word to describe that situation: “perfect.”
As the Frogs enter a stadium where the home team has only lost four times dating back to the 2006 season, they will have to put up one a fight in order to improve to 10-1 on the season.
The Frogs will potentially be more shorthanded on both sides of the ball than at any other point in the season when they take the Sooners, arguably the toughest opponent on the Frogs’ schedule this season.
Already thin on defense, the Frogs’ offense took a major hit against Kansas Saturday when quarterback Trevone Boykin exited the game early with an ankle injury and did not return. Boykin’s status for this weekend is questionable.
Patterson said on Tuesday red shirt freshman Foster Sawyer is on pace to get the nod as starting quarterback in the event that Boykin is unavailable.
Patterson announced Wednesday standout wide receiver Josh Doctson, who leads the Frogs in touchdowns, receptions and receiving yards, will miss the remainder of the regular season due to a wrist injury he suffered against Oklahoma State.
If both ends of the Boykin-Doctson connection, which has lead the Frogs’ offense all season, are absent, it could spell serious trouble for TCU.
Now in their 17th season under head coach Bob Stoops, the Sooners have been an interesting story this season.
Coming off a disappointing 8-4 campaign last year and gutting out a few wins early this season, many people wrote off the Sooners when they were downed by Texas on Oct. 10, which entered the game at 1-4.
Since that loss, Oklahoma has made a complete U-turn. Not only have they run the table in their last five games, but the Sooners have outscored their opponents by 192 points and have out-gained them by an average of 309.8 yards.
In that stretch the Sooners thrashed Kansas State 55-0 in Manhattan, Kansas, dominated Texas Tech 63-27 in Norman, and knocked off then No. 6 Baylor 44-34 in Waco, Texas, handing the Bears their first home loss since 2012.
The Sooners have a wide range of weapons that have enabled them to be so dominant in recent weeks.
Junior quarterback Baker Mayfield, who is in his first season playing at Oklahoma, is averaging 308.2 passing yards per game and threw for 270 yards and three touchdowns last weekend at Baylor.
Sophomore running back Samajae Perine is also a threat, averaging 97.2 rushing yards per game with 12 rushing touchdowns on the season.
The Frogs will also have to watch out for senior wide receiver Sterling Shepard, who leads the team with 61 receptions, 9 touchdown receptions and an average of 100.3 receiving yards per game.
With all the weapons the Sooners have on offense, the Frog defense will need to continue to put up the types of strong performances they had against teams such as West Virginia and Texas.
Patterson confirmed Tuesday that Nick Orr will be ready to play after exiting late in the game against Kansas when he took a shot to the head trying to break up a pass.
Outside linebacker Ty Summers should have some confidence entering the game after recording a crucial interception late in the win over the Jayhawks.
If the defense can’t get the job done, the Frogs will have to find a way to win on offense like they have done so often this year. That will be quite the task, though, if the Frogs are without Boykin and Doctson.
Players such as senior tailback Aaron Green and sophomore running back Kyle Hicks will have to step up and have big games running the ball.
Final thoughts and prediction
This game will be brutal for the Frogs any way you look at it. The Frogs are less than 100 percent. Oklahoma is playing arguably the best football in the country, and Norman is one of the most hostile places for an opponent to play.
It won’t help either that the low for Saturday night in Norman is 28 degrees. Patterson said “not one advantage comes to our side,” entering the contest.
Oklahoma 49, TCU 33