Oklahoma State remained tied for the Big 12 lead thanks to some late heroics last weekend, but it has yet to face the most formidable opponents in the conference.
That will change Saturday when the 15th-ranked Cowboys visit No. 12 TCU, which will attempt to rebound from a monumental collapse.
Oklahoma State (5-1, 3-0) squandered a 13-point lead in the second half at Kansas last Saturday but came away with a 27-20 victory after Tyreek Hill returned a kick 99 yards for a score with 6:43 remaining. Josh Furman sealed the game with an interception in his team’s territory with 1:03 left.
“We came out with a victory. We’re undefeated in league play, and we’re 5-1. There’s definitely things to learn from the game, like there is from each game,” linebacker Seth Jacobs said. “We’re in a good position right now, and we just have to focus on the next game.”
The defense, which has seven first-time starters including five underclassmen, has helped the Cowboys get past the three winless squads in the Big 12 but will have a more daunting challenge in stopping the high-powered Horned Frogs (4-1, 1-1).
TCU ranks third in the FBS with 45.8 points per game and is in the top 15 with averages of 510.0 yards and 325.2 passing yards. Quarterback Trevone Boykin is second in the conference in total offense with 353.6 yards per contest.
“They are a very good football team, a very fast football team, well-coached and able to manufacture a lot of points on offense,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. ”We definitely have our work cut out for us.”
The Horned Frogs produced their most points in the last three seasons this past Saturday at then-No. 5 Baylor, but they blew a 21-point lead in the final 11 minutes in a 61-58 loss and missed out on their second straight upset of a top-5 opponent.
B.J. Catalon had a pair of rushing touchdowns, 71 yards receiving and returned a kick 94 yards for a score. Marcus Mallett returned an interception 49 yards for TCU’s final touchdown with 11:38 to go.
“I feel bad for my kids because they played well, especially offense,” coach Gary Patterson said. “Fifty-eight points should be enough to win.”
Patterson’s team has given up 94 points in its two conference games, beginning with a 37-33 victory over then-No. 4 Oklahoma on Oct. 4, after allowing 21 in its first three contests. The Horned Frogs have given up 1,243 yards in October – 819 through the air – after yielding a combined 656 to Samford, Minnesota and SMU.
“We just have to get better at what we do. I think our kids, being back at home, will play a lot better,” Patterson said. “In the fourth quarter at Baylor, they had the crowd give them energy. It could’ve gone either way. You can look at it all you want to, but the bottom line is Baylor won by a field goal and we need to move on to Oklahoma State.”
TCU gave up 415 yards – 320 to three quarterbacks – in a 24-10 loss at then-No. 21 Oklahoma State last Oct. 19 as Boykin matched a career high with three interceptions.
One of Patterson’s greatest concerns for this matchup is Hill, who is second in the Big 12 and ninth in the FBS with 162.8 all-purpose yards per game.
“They put him in a lot of places. You have to understand that he is a terrific athlete,” Patterson said. “Our guys upstairs have to do a tremendous job of telling me where he is. He’s awfully fast.”
Last season’s win over the Horned Frogs is part of the Cowboys’ eight-game streak against teams from Texas, and they will visit Fort Worth for the first time in Big 12 play.
Oklahoma State is 5-5-2 all-time at TCU and 13-9-2 in the series.