(4) Oklahoma (4-0) at (25) TCU (3-0) (ET)
GAME NOTES: The fourth-ranked Oklahoma Sooners hit the road for the second straight time as they challenge the 25th-ranked TCU Horned Frogs at Amon G. Carter Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Both Big 12 Conference teams come in sporting unblemished record, with Oklahoma sitting at 4-0, and TCU 3-0.
The Sooners, who were idle last weekend, have taken care of Louisiana Tech (48-16), Tulsa (52-7), Tennessee (34-10) and West Virginia (45-33). The win over the Mountaineers on Sept. 20 was the team's conference opener and took place in Morgantown. Oklahoma won't play in Norman again until hosting Kansas State on Oct. 18, and the team will head to Arlington, Texas next Saturday for its annual clash with the rival Texas Longhorns.
TCU cracked the Top-25 this week for the first time this season after whipping SMU in Dallas last Saturday, 56-0. It was the most lopsided outcome in the 94- game history between the two fierce rivals. The Frogs enjoyed a bye the week prior (their second of the season already), and they've now allowed a grand total of 21 points in their first three games after blasting Samford (48-14) and Minnesota (30-7) to kick off the campaign.
Oklahoma slipped past visiting TCU last year, 20-17, to take a 9-4 lead in the all-time series.
Oklahoma's offense rivals TCU's in terms of scoring, with both checking in at just under 45 ppg. The Sooners are churning out 222.8 ypg on the ground and they have 15 rushing touchdowns, while the pass results in 272.2 ypg but only five scores. Trevor Knight hasn't gotten into a consistent rhythm just yet, as he is completing only 58.5 percent of his passes with four TDs and three INTs. Sterling Shepard is OU's top pass catcher, as he has 23 receptions for 436 yards and a pair of scores.
When the Sooners decide to control the clock, it's freshman Samaje Perine who gets the call most often as he has carried the ball 66 times for 419 yards and five TDs. Keith Ford, who is hobbled by a hairline fracture in his right fibula, also has five rushing TDs, while Alex Ross has three. All three players average at least 5.7 ypc.
Outside of the West Virginia game, the Sooners have enjoyed a tremendous amount of success on the defensive side of the ball, the unit yielding just 16.5 points 349.8 yards per contest. They have been especially stingy when it comes to allowing yards on the ground (99.2 ypg), and they've permitted only two rushing scores. Opponents have scored only seven points in the first quarter this season, and those same foes have reached the red zone only 10 times, coming away with points seven times.
Dominique Alexander leads the Sooners with 30 tackles, while Quentin Hayes has three of their 12 sacks, and Zack Sanchez four of their eight picks.
West Virginia stood toe-to-toe with the Sooners in their matchup a couple of weeks back, going into the locker room at halftime knotted at 24-24. In fact, the Mountaineers led by seven with a little more than a minute remaining in the second quarter before Ross returned a kick 100 yards for a touchdown. In all, the OU offense produced 510 yards, the majority of which came thanks to the rushing exploits of Perine, who rumbled his way to career-highs with 242 yards and four scores. Knight wound up 16-of-29 for 205 yards, but did not throw a TD pass. He did, however, catch one on a trick play in the second quarter. Shepard finished with six grabs for 101 yards.
The Sooners bent repeatedly against WVU, permitting 513 total yards, 376 of which the Mountaineers amassed via the pass. Oklahoma's defensive effort was aided by three takeaways and as many sacks, and the unit was led by Jordan Evans and his 11 tackles, nine of which were solo efforts.
Bob Stoops, who with the win at West Virginia became the first coach to record 100 regular season Big 12 victories, spoke about the effort put forth by his young running back.
"Samaje was just outstanding. You know about how powerful and strong he is, but he has great vision. He had a sensational night."
He continued to praise the rest of his team as they performed admirably in what was a harsh environment.
"I'm really proud of our players. They played through some adversity and persevered through it."
TCU is putting up 44.7 ppg, doing so behind 211.3 ypg rushing and 320.7 ypg passing. The 532.0 ypg ranks the team third in the Big 12. The primary reason the Frogs are as potent as they are has been the play of quarterback Trevone Boykin. The junior from Dallas has completed 64.2 percent of his passes for 858 yards, eight TDs and only one INT, while as the same time spearheading the team's rushing attack by turning 29 carries into 183 yards and three scores. B.J. Catalon is right there with 172 yards and three TDs of his own.
As for the receivers, five of them are all over 100 yards, and Josh Dotson leads the way with three TDs.
Far from a one-trick pony, TCU also possesses a dominant defense as evidenced by the mere 7.0 points the team is allowing -- No. 1 in the Big 12, No. 2 nationally. The Frogs yield only 91.7 ypg on the ground, and only once has the opposition crossed the goal line that way. As for their effort against the pass, coach Gary Patterson's club gives way for only 127.0 ypg (No. 1 in the Big 12, No. 4 nationally), with again, only one TD coming via that form of attack.
Paul Dawson heads the unit with 21.5 tackles, which includes 5.0 TFL, and he also has an INT and three fumble recoveries. Collectively, TCU has been credited with 13 sacks and 10 takeaways.
Boykin turned in a masterful performance in last week's whitewashing of SMU, throwing for 280 yards and four TD passes while also adding a pair of rushing scores, as the Horned Frogs rolled up 614 yards of total offense, compared to only 245 for the Mustangs. Catalon ran for a career-high 114 yards and a TD, while Deante' Gray paced the receivers with six grabs for 96 yards and a pair of scores.
TCU was once again on top of its game defensively, limiting the Ponies to a mere 89 rushing yards on 45 attempts (2.0 ypc). SMU managed only 156 passing yards as well, and the home team committed three turnovers while surrendering a whopping nine sacks. Kenny Iloka led the Horned Frogs' stand with 7.5 tackles, almost all of which were unassisted, and James McFarland dropped the quarterback three times, which happened to be the only three tackles he was credited with in the game. McFarland was also credited with a pair of forced fumbles.
TCU is as sound on both sides of the football as any team Oklahoma has faced to this point. The Sooners have the edge in terms of overall talent, but they're not going to find easy running or passing lanes, so minimizing their mistakes is key. As for the Horned Frogs, if they can hold the OU run game in check and force Knight to beat them, they have a shot.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: TCU 30, Oklahoma 27