By: Deb Cantrell
Photo from GoFrogs.com.
Three Big 12 schools are 3-0 right now. On Saturday, TCU faces one of them.
That’s No. 6 Oklahoma State, which so far has been dominating its schedule with a star quarterback and a dynamic offense. And while No. 16 TCU has been just as dominant in its first three games, some Frog fans are wary after a close first half against SMU last week, and many analysts have the Cowboys favored over the Frogs.
But, comparing the stats side by side, who would win the battle on paper? Let’s take a look.
One thing’s for sure, Oklahoma State’s quarterback is some sort of beast. Called the “Tom Brady of college football” by his head coach Mike Gundy, senior Mason Rudolph has entered early Heisman Trophy conversation after stellar performances against Tulsa, South Alabama and Pitt. In just three games, Rudolph has already thrown for 1,135 yards and 11 touchdowns. That’s compared to TCU quarterback Kenny Hill’s 737 yards and eight touchdowns.
Rudolph is also accurate — his interception against Pitt last week was the first he’d thrown since November (he had a streak going of 216 passes without a pick).
Hill, however, appears to be the more accurate passer, with a 75 percent completion percentage (63-of-84) compared to Rudolph’s 72.3 percent (68-of-94).
Then again, with a strong running crew, TCU is passing less often. Rudolph has a strong arm and some pretty solid numbers in his own right. In that case...
Winner: Oklahoma State
TCU’s receivers have recorded a total of 831 yards after three games. So far, KaVontae Turpin has been targeted the most times, but Desmon White and standout freshman Kenedy Snell (a running back) lead in scoring with two touchdowns apiece.
Oklahoma State has its own group of fairly solid pass catchers, led by receivers James Washington, Marcell Ateman, Jalen McCleskey and Dillon Stoner — who each had 100-yard games against Pitt last week. They along with the rest of the receiving crew have totaled 1,222 yards so far. Oklahoma State would have to take the crown here too.
Winner: Oklahoma State
However, where Oklahoma State is more likely to pass the ball, TCU is more likely to run it. So far this season, TCU has had 127 rushing attempts to 91 passing attempts, while Oklahoma State has had 109 rushing attempts to 104 passing attempts. TCU is averaging 230.3 rushing yards per game; Oklahoma State is averaging 199.7.
On the ground, TCU is the clear winner. And why not, when you have powerhouses like Snell, Kyle Hicks and Darius Anderson — plus a quarterback with wheels of his own.
TCU’s defense has remained consistently impressive — impressive enough to be the No. 15 defense in the country, holding opponents to an average 265 yards per game. Oklahoma State, on the flipside, is allowing an average 332.7 yards per game. TCU is also noticeably solid in the red zone (ranked No. 9 nationally).
On the turnover front, TCU and Oklahoma State have similar numbers. Both have three interceptions. And when it comes to fumbles, TCU has forced four; Oklahoma State has forced two.
All things considered, in this battle, I’d say TCU’s defense-minded head coach Gary Patterson has the upper hand here.
The Cowboys currently average just four yards per punt return, 21 yards per kick return. Meanwhile, the Frogs average 10.3 yards per punt return and 19.1 yards per kick return, many thanks to Mr. #TurpinTime (as in KaVontae Turpin, if you haven’t picked it up yet).
As far as kicking goes, Oklahoma State kicker Matt Amendola is 5-for-7, having missed from 33 yards against Tulsa, and from 42 yards against South Alabama. TCU kicker Jonathan Song hasn’t missed a field goal — that’s because he hasn’t kicked any. But he’ll have to show his chops at some point, and it might just be against Oklahoma State.
Kickoff is 2:30 p.m. in Stillwater.
By: Deb Cantrell