Following a bye week, Oklahoma (2-2, 1-2 Big 12) resumes conference play with a road matchup against TCU (1-2 Big 12). With both teams yielding two conference losses, Sooners and Horned Frogs need a win on Saturday to keep their respective Big 12 title hopes alive.
The Daily spoke with TCU 360 sports editor Colin Post, who has covered the Horned Frogs for the last two seasons, about his predictions for Saturday’s game. Here's what he had to say:
The Daily: What makes this TCU football team different from previous teams coached by Gary Patterson?
TCU 360: “(For me), TCU football has always been Gary Patterson, and his identity is defense. TCU’s annually near the top of the (Big 12) in overall defense. But this year, with the sophomore status of quarterback Max Duggan, it feels like the first time since he had Kenny Hill in 2017 that Patterson has a guy he can rely on… It’s kind of like Patterson is trying to find a balance between all about defense as well working around a future star in Max Duggan. So, it's very interesting and it feels very different from the past few years. (But) unfortunately, it doesn’t feel like we’ve seen the full potential for this TCU team because of the way their offensive line has struggled. It’s given up the (third-most) sacks in the conference. … But overall, I’d say what makes this team different is that they have a guy in Max Dugan that not only the team, but the city really is riding with. Everyone is kind of looking for him to be the savior, and that’s not something Patterson’s had since I began covering the team.
Daily: What have you seen Duggan improve on so far this season?
360: “(As a recruit), he was the No. 2 dual threat quarterback in the entire nation. So, coming into TCU, we knew (speed) was a skill he had. We knew he could use his legs. That’s really the only reason they were able to get in that game (against OU in 2019), besides the 98-yard pick six from Vernon Scott late in the game. … I think Duggan has really figured out TCU needs to move this offense around the fact that he can run the ball. If you look at TCU’s stats, (Duggan is) the leading rusher with twice the amount of attempts as the next guys. He’s got 43 attempts for 132 yards on the year. (Against Iowa State), which Duggan did not start due to his heart condition that was revealed during the offseason, Patterson said he put Duggan in after halftime because (backup quarterback Matthew Downing) couldn’t run the ball. … On top of that, (where he’s most improved is), even though he is very good on his legs, he’s not somebody that’s taking off as soon as he sees a collapse in the pocket. … He had to learn, “I need to sit in the pocket a little longer… I need to get a little bit more efficient in the passing game.” … He’s making throws he didn’t make last year.”
Daily: With the loss of wide receiver Jalen Reagor to the NFL draft, who’s TCU looked at to replace him this season?
360: “Reagor, had he stayed longer, would have finished as one of, if not the best receivers to ever play at TCU. … What TCU has done, which I think is overall better for their offensive scheme, is it now has more of a trio of wide receivers. Freshman Quentin Johnston, who (decommitted) from Texas right before signing day, has been electric this year. He only has five catches, but he’s average 24 yards per those catches, so he’s really an electric threat. He’s big, he’s fast, he’s physical and he’s got big hands. I personally think Quentin Johnston’s a name you’re going to hear a lot at TCU in the coming years. … Along with him, Taye Barber — who’s got veteran status — and Blair Conwright, who actually leads the team in receiving yards, round out that trio."
Daily: What went right in TCU’s win over Texas (2-2, 1-2 Big 12) and what went wrong in its loss to Kansas State (3-1, 3-0 Big 12)
360: “As much as I love that win against Texas, I see it as an outlier for TCU. If you consider some big mistakes Texas made — some missed throws, a dropped pass in the flat by Jake Smith that probably would have gone for six (and) a record number of penalties from both teams in the first quarter — it’s (an outlier). … In their losses, TCU has struggled to score in the first half, putting up just seven points per half in those games. A big component in this has been the offense struggling to find rhythm because of a poor offensive line. The Frogs have given up 10 sacks already, and it would likely be more if Max Duggan wasn’t so effective with his legs. Both of these things put TCU in a hole they couldn’t dig out of against the Wildcats. The Frogs will need to protect the QB and get out to a fast start if they want to hang with the Sooners."
Daily: Any final score predictions for the game?
360: “Let’s go 27-24, TCU.”
Kickoff for Oklahoma’s bout with the Horned Frogs is set for 11 a.m. on Oct. 24 in Fort Worth.