1. How will TCU respond to last week’s loss?
TCU head coach Gary Patterson said the team came out strong in its Sunday practice this week. He said that is something his team didn’t do after its convincing win over Baylor two weeks ago. The 49-21 win over the Bears came after a loss to Iowa State at Amon Carter Stadium on Oct. 6. This week, TCU is presented the chance to respond to a triple-overtime loss to Texas Tech. Patterson said the Frogs are “urged by embarrassment.” A three-point loss in triple-overtime may not be seen by some as “embarrassment,” but Patterson’s quote is certainly food for thought. The Frogs head to Stillwater with another chance to become bowl-eligible.
2. How will Oklahoma State’s quarterback change affect their offense?
Whether it’s Wes Lunt or Clint Chelf under center for Oklahoma State, the quarterback will have significantly less experience than J.W. Walsh had this season. Lunt, a true freshman, has 75 pass attempts on the season, and Chelf has only eight. One of those quarterbacks will step in for an offense that ranks seventh in the country with 351 passing yards per game. One thing that can immediately take pressure off the quarterback is the eighth-ranked rushing offense in the nation. Oklahoma State running back Joseph Randle averages six yards per carry and has put the ball in the endzone eight times in 2012. Randle is arguably the best running back the Frogs will have faced thus far this season. The Cowboys lost their second leading rusher in Walsh. Behind Randle, the Cowboys will now rely on Desmond Roland and Jeremy Smith, who each have four touchdowns on the season. TCU shut down a three-headed monster in the backfield for Texas Tech last week, holding the Red Raiders to 71 yards on the ground, but face a team that gains an average of 254 rushing yards per game this season.
3. What will the final turnover margin be?
The Frogs are 2-2 in their last four games. In the games they’ve won, they have also come out on top in the turnover category, garnering a combined 12 takeaways. In the two losses, the Frogs have forced only one turnover and have conceded possession a combined eight times. Needless to say, turnovers have been an important statistic for the Frogs of late. Oklahoma State has committed 11 turnovers in 2012. TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin threw two interceptions against Texas Tech after a clean sheet in the Baylor game.
4. How will TCU’s secondary handle Oklahoma State’s height at receiver?
TCU got burned last week by the jump ball. Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege completed lob passes to receivers at all parts of the field, but hurt the TCU secondary the most in the endzone. While Oklahoma State’s leading receiver, Josh Stewart, stands at 5-foot-10, the Cowboys have three wide receivers and a tight end that are at least 6-foot-2. The Horned Frog defensive backs have been exposed by the deep ball this season, and can’t afford to get in one-on-one jump ball situations against a strong Oklahoma State passing attack.
5. Will TCU’s travel schedule take a toll on the team come game time?
Stillwater is a unique destination for an away game. Patterson said visiting teams don’t often stay in Stillwater. The Frogs will play in their third 2:30 p.m. kickoff in Big 12 play Saturday, and Patterson said the team is getting a better idea of how to prepare for a kickoff at that time. However, the team has not had an itinerary like this weekend’s. The Horned Frogs will fly in to Stillwater on Friday, but will stay in Tulsa Friday night. Patterson said his team “came out fast” in a 2:30 p.m. kickoff against Texas Tech, but the possibility of a slow start presents itself with a 70-mile drive before the game.