Matchups: Game against OU to be closer than you might think

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    Quarterbacks

    TCU: Sophomore Andy Dalton continues to be successful running the Horned Frogs’ offense and protecting the ball, in both his passing and rushing. Dalton has accumulated just under 800 yards of total offense through four games this season, 606 yards passing and 184 rushing yards.

    OU: Fellow sophomore Sam Bradford is considered a Heisman trophy candidate and has played well enough this season so far to show he deserves the recognition, throwing for 882 yards and 12 touchdowns this season.

    Advantage: OU

    Runningbacks

    TCU: So far this season, the Horned Frogs have eight different rushers with more than 10 carries and three with more than 40, proving several different players can get the job done. The return of playmaker senior Aaron Brown is another weapon the Horned Frogs can use coming out of the backfield.

    OU: The Sooners have not used as many different backs as the Frogs have, with just three rushers with more than 10 carries, but sophomore DeMarco Murray has done well rushing the ball. Murray leads the Sooners in carries (46) and yards (312) and has scored three times.

    Advantage: TCU

    Wide Receivers

    TCU: So far, 13 different Frogs have caught passes this season, but sophomore Jimmy Young is the only one with more than eight grabs. Young has 237 yards receiving, which is 136 yards more than the next closest teammate, junior Shae Reagan with 101.

    OU: Bradford has spread the ball to his receivers more evenly than Dalton has – four different receivers have 10 or more grabs. Juaquin Iglesias had 907 yards receiving and five touchdowns last season and is on his way to matching those results this year with 205 yards and three scores through three games.

    Advantage: OU

    Offensive Line

    TCU: The offensive line for the Frogs has allowed just three sacks and has continued to allow the rest of the offense to move the ball down the field via the running game. Senior center Blake Schlueter is the lone member of the offensive line to have experience playing in the game against Oklahoma in 2005.

    OU: The Sooners returned all five starters on the offensive line from last season, including left tackle Phil Loadholt, who at 6 feet 8 inches is the tallest player in Oklahoma history. Left guard Duke Robinson was a consensus All-America last season.

    Advantage: OU

    Defensive Line

    TCU: The Horned Frogs have the second best turnover differential in the nation with a positive three. A big reason for that is the play of junior Jerry Hughes, who has intercepted two passes and recovered three fumbles through four games.

    OU: The No. 2 team in the nation has the second highest sacks per game average in the nation with four and 12 overall through three games. Junior Auston English was a first-team all-Big 12 selection after last season and has 2.5 sacks so far this season.

    Advantage: TCU

    Linebackers

    TCU: The combination of Daryl Washington, Jason Phillips and Robert Henson continue to be the anchors of the No. 1 total defense in the nation. Washington has 18 tackles on the season and is one of four Frogs to force a fumble on the season.

    OU: Junior Ryan Reynolds is the most seasoned veteran of the Sooner linebackers, but a freshman is having a bigger impact so far this season. Redshirt freshman Travis Lewis is leading his team in tackles with 24 and sacks with three.

    Advantage: TCU

    Defensive Backs

    TCU: The Horned Frog secondary has been causing chaos for opponents, having forced six of their opponent’s 14 turnovers so far. Senior safety Steven Coleman leads the team in interceptions with three, is second on the team with four pass break-ups and has recovered a fumble.

    OU: The Sooners rank 24th in the nation in pass defense, allowing 169.33 yards per game through the air. Senior defensive back Lendy Holmes is third on his team with 16 total tackles and has forced a fumble and recorded an interception.

    Advantage: TCU

    Special Teams

    TCU: Last week against SMU, the special teams had some costly errors that led to the Mustangs having great field position, including two kickoffs out of bounds. Sophomore Jeremy Kerley is 16th in the nation and first in the Mountain West Conference with 18.56 yards per punt return.

    OU: After losing its kicker to graduation last season, the Sooners have given kicking duties to redshirt freshman Jimmy Stevens, who has made his only field goal attempt and made 21 of 23 extra point attempts. Opponents have attempted four field goals against Oklahoma, but so far none have been successful.

    Advantage: OU

    Coaching

    TCU: Gary Patterson has his team leading the nation in total defense, time of possession and is second in turnover differential – three huge factors in a football game. Patterson is also the last coach to take a team into Norman, Okla., and leave with a win.

    OU: Bob Stoops has had trouble in recent years winning the big games, and every coach will say their next game is the most important. Stoops had a bye week last week to rest his players and devise a plan to keep from being upset this week.

    Advantage: OU

    Prediction

    As the old saying goes, defense wins championships while offense wins games. Oklahoma’s offense should do enough to defeat TCU, but the game should also be closer than people think. Oklahoma wins 20-13.