No. 10 Oklahoma State tackles revived TCU, but Bedlam looms
Sometimes a past relationship with an opposing coach can prove advantageous in planning.
For Mike Gundy, however, the time he spent with Jerry Kill was brief. Oklahoma State’s coach did remember the TCU interim coach teaching high school biology in 1984 at Midwest City, Okla., where Kill served as a young defensive assistant.
Each man now dissects major-college football strategies and will match wits Saturday when the Horned Frogs (4-5, 2-4 Big 12) visit the No. 10 Cowboys (8-1, 5-1) at Stillwater, Okla.
“He’s an old-school tough guy that I’ve always had a lot of respect for and what he’s been able to accomplish,” Gundy said. “And so, it’s been fun to watch him bounce around in the things that he’s done.”
Kill, a former head coach at multiple levels, took over after TCU and Gary Patterson parted ways before last week’s game against Baylor. The Frogs then upset the Bears and now look to pull off a second straight surprise against a College Football Playoff contender.
“To beat Oklahoma State, we’re going to need everything we have,” Kill said. “We’ll see if (players) carry that focus in and practice the way we practiced last week, very fast with a lot of motion.”
Chandler Morris made his first college start last week in place of injured Max Duggan and sparked TCU’s 30-28 upset over Baylor. Morris, an Oklahoma transfer, passed for 461 yards and accounted for three touchdowns. His 531 yards of total offense ranked second in TCU history.
“Last year at OU, just sitting there and watching a really good quarterback in Spencer (Rattler), I just realized that I belong,” Morris told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I can compete with these dudes. These dudes who make those throws, I feel like I can make them.”
Quentin Johnson has posted 100 yards receiving in three of the last four games, though TCU could lean on inexperienced rushers with Zach Evans out and Kendre Miller questionable.
The Frogs also must face a mighty Oklahoma State defense, which held its last two opponents to a combined total of six points and lead the Big 12 in average yards (277.0) and points (16.3) allowed.
One of the Cowboys’ most stifling performances came last week when they allowed 17 yards rushing and two third-down conversions while recording eight sacks in a 24-3 win at West Virginia.
“We’ve been fortunate that we’re playing so many guys on defense that their reps have been cut by 40 percent,” Gundy said of Oklahoma State’s depth. “So, most of our guys that are playing in the front seven are 40 percent less (workload) than what they had been over the last six or eight years.”
Butkus Award candidate Malcolm Rodriguez leads the Big 12 with a 9.7 tackling average.
Offensively, Spencer Sanders and Tay Martin pose a threat as a pass-catch combination, while Jaylen Warren adds 103.1 yards rushing on average.
The Cowboys moved up one spot in the CFP standings after initially being slotted 11th. They sit second behind No. 8 Oklahoma in conference play and control their destiny for reaching the Big 12 championship game.
–Field Level Media