Sooners look to extend dominance over TCU
Oklahoma’s offense isn’t as efficient as it has been in recent years under Lincoln Riley.
TCU’s defense doesn’t quite have the teeth typical of the group during Gary Patterson’s tenure in Fort Worth.
And though neither team is ranked when the teams square off Saturday, Riley’s offense vs. Patterson’s defense remains strength against strength.
“He’s one of the more creative people in the business and I think that’s one of the things that gives people problems,” Patterson said of Riley’s offensive mind.
The admiration goes the other way also.
“We’ve had some great battles over the years,” Riley said. “There’s nobody in the country defensively that I have more respect for. I think he just does a tremendous job.”
The Sooners have won the last six meetings between the teams, with half of those being one-possession games.
That includes last year’s 28-24 game, when the Horned Frogs had the ball twice in the fourth quarter with a chance to take the lead and held the Sooners to just 145 yards passing. That’s the lowest passing total for the Sooners since Riley arrived as offensive coordinator in 2015.
“They’re really sharp in what they do,” Sooners center Creed Humphrey said. “You don’t see a lot of mental lapses with them.”
The Sooners and Horned Frogs are used to being among the top teams in the conference, but with both starting Big 12 play 1-2, they’re entering this matchup in a bit of an unfamiliar position.
The winner will at least stay afloat in the conference race while the loser will be in a difficult position.
Either way, the game figures to be close.
Neither team has had a conference game this season decided by more than one possession, with Oklahoma’s 53-45 quadruple overtime win over Texas two weeks ago the biggest margin of victory among those games.
The Sooners (2-2, 1-2) have let second-half leads slip away in each of their last three games and have been outscored 45-10 in the fourth quarter of those games.
“We’ve had some major errors in some of these fourth quarters that have kept us from winning ball games or being able to separate even further,” Riley said. “That’s obviously hurt us as a team and it’s been something that we’re trying to push forward. … We see moments of some really promising football on all sides and putting that together is the hardest thing in football. It just is.”
TCU has suffered through some offensive inconsistency of its own. The Horned Frogs (2-1, 2-1) haven’t thrown for a touchdown in the last two games.
But quarterback Max Duggan has continued to be an effective runner. Duggan has averaged 44 yards per game on the ground, including 61 per game in the two games he’s started after he came on in relief in the opener.
A year ago against Oklahoma, he ran for 92 yards and a touchdown.
“You can tell he’s getting better like a lot of guys are when they play early in their career,” Riley said. “There’s no question he’s improving.”
–Field Level Media