After looking dazed early in each of its first four games, TCU is aiming to get into a rhythm early this week against No. 11 University of Oklahoma.
“It has to be very important,” quarterback Trevone Boykin said. “Because, the way we started last week, if we play around like that in the first half, we might not be around to even try to come back in the game in the second half. So a fast start is very important.”
That is the goal for TCU (2-2, 0-1 Big 12) as the Frogs go on the road to take on Oklahoma (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) in Norman this Saturday at 6 p.m. on Fox. The Sooners have outscored their opponents 74-21in the first half this season, and they only give up an average of 12 points per game, so the Horned Frogs do not want to fall behind by a large margin early on in the game.
The team is hoping that the momentum from its second half rally against SMU on Saturday will carry over into this game. Despite trailing 10-7 at halftime in the Battle for the Iron Skillet, the Frogs got a spark after the break, outscoring the Mustangs 27-0 to start the half and posting 31 points in the fourth quarter.
“When we finally got a couple good things to happen to us, it was kind of like the monkey was off our back,” head coach Gary Patterson said. “[On] our sideline, it was kind of like they just breathed a sigh of relief, and they quit pressing.”
“We did relax a little bit,” defensive end Jon Koontz said. “And the confidence kind of came back quickly. The confidence that we should have been playing with all season, it kind of all came back when things started to fall our way, and we were able to roll with that.”
Relaxing and playing with confidence will be key for TCU, especially on offense. The Frogs have struggled to sustain drives this season, putting their defense in difficult positions. They will look to establish their running game with running backs B.J. Catalon and Waymon James Saturday to take the pressure off of Boykin and keep the ball away from Oklahoma’s offense.
That may be difficult to do, however, in front of 80,000 raucous fans in Norman, Oklahoma, where the Sooners have lost only six games in the last six seasons.
“It’s a great atmosphere. It’s very loud,” Patterson said. “We’ll do a lot of crowd noise [in practice]…to make sure that we get ourselves where we [can] communicate and get ready to go.”
TCU managed to pull off the upset on the road against Oklahoma in 2005, en route to a 12-1 record and a Mountain West conference title. The Sooners were ranked fifth in the country at the time.
Patterson said that win was the beginning of his program’s rise over the last eight years, which has included two BCS bowl appearances, a move to the Big 12 and a victory in the Rose Bowl.
“It was kind of the start of what we’ve done since then, since 2005…I think what people did is they did take notice,” Patterson said.
While the circumstances are very different this week, the Frogs hope that they can get people to take notice once again.