Niko Small tackles Texas' running back Daniel Young en route to a 24-7 victory over the Longhorns. Photo courtesy of Christian Argueta Soto.

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TCU quarterback Kenny Hill and the Horned Frogs were excited about Saturday night’s 24-7 victory against Texas, but they’re already looking ahead in preparation for Saturday’s matchup against the Oklahoma Sooners.

You have to turn the page quick,” Hill said. “They’re a good team that can put up a lot of points. It’s just about trying to get your mind right for another week.” 

TCU’s defense will be faced with the daunting task of containing Baker Mayfield, a gunslinger who firmly placed himself as the single-game leader in pass yards in school history Saturday against Oklahoma State. Mayfield threw for 598 yards in 24 completions against the Cowboys, passing Landry Jones who set the record in 2012 with 554 yards.

Mayfield, the reigning Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week, has thrown for 401 yards on 64 percent passing for four touchdowns and zero interceptions and has rushed 22 times for 97 yards against TCU for two more touchdowns. Mayfield leads the nation in passing efficiency with 201.6 after setting the FBS single-season record with a 196.4 mark last season. He ranks first in the nation in pass completion percentage, yards per pass attempt and yards per completion.

This game will the third time TCU cornerback Niko Small will be matched up against Mayfield.

“He knows how to work within his own team’s scheme and offense better than anyone I’ve ever seen,” Small said. “He’s a great quarterback and a great playmaker. He’s very emotional as well, he can bring the crowd into a lot of games, which will definitely help them at home. I admire his talent.”

 

 

Small touched on last season’s agonizing defeat in Fort Worth to the Mayfield-lead Sooners, falling 52-46 in a thriller.

“Nothing beats experience,” Small said. “Each of these players grew over the offseason and knows how to play great football and knows how to play well, so we all band together. It’s all about the attitude and mindset and now we go into each game knowing that we will play a great game and that teams won’t be able to produce much against us.”

Another offensive threat sometimes overshadowed by the presence of Mayfield is wide receiver Marquise Brown. Brown has tallied 513 yards and three touchdowns over his last four games, averaging 146.7 yards per game over his last three games. He totaled 265 receiving yards on a career-high nine catches for two touchdowns against Oklahoma State.

“He could be on the one-yard line or the 50 yard line, he’s explosive and a touchdown could occur at any point in a drive,” Small said. “We are going to have to be ready and trust in our defense.”

The defensive line for the TCU was able to contain Texas’ mobile quarterback Shane Buechele Saturday night, forcing him to perpetually operate in pressure situations. Defensive end Ty Summers said he was proud of the effort.

“We just made sure we contained him,” Summers said. “We didn’t want to have too many people on one side to give him openings, and I feel like that’s something we were able to do very well later in the game. That’s something we will have to do with Baker because he’s a much bigger scrambler than Buechele is.” 

The Horned Frogs will have to figure a way to stay focused in the tough environment that the Sooners fans pose. Head coach Gary Patterson said he envisions a raucous environment.

We need to move forward into a stadium where you’re not going to be able to hear because they’re going to try to make their fans be unbelievable,” Patterson said. 

Summers knows that a win against a great team will boost the team’s College Football Playoff resumé.

“Oklahoma is a fun place to play, they love their football up there,” Summers said. “To be able to go up there and play in a primetime game, it gives you butterflies. This is what you look forward to as a football player.” 

Patterson said the potential distractions that Oklahoma fans bring to the table will be reminiscent of 2008.

I was there when it was really important in 2008,” Patterson said. “They played for a national championship with Sam Bradford and Jermaine Gresham. You couldn’t hear yourself talk or think. I expect the same noise. I think this group here will understand what they need to do to get the job done.”

Defensive end Mat Boesen said that the defense as a whole cherishes opportunities to play great offenses.

As a defense, we like coming into hostile environments like that and competing with them, giving our all and getting after it,” Boesen said. “We like that pressure of being the underdogs.” 

The Horned Frogs will travel up north to Norman for a primetime matchup against the Oklahoma Sooners Saturday night. The much-anticipated game against the top two teams in the Big 12, and the highest-ranked matchup ever between these two teams, will kickoff at 7 p.m.