The TCU Horned Frogs and Oklahoma State Cowboys have a history of playing tight games. Their last three meetings have been decided by a score, with TCU stealing a 29-22 win a year ago.
Oddsmakers say the string of tight finishes ends this season. The Cowboys are riding high at 8-1 (5-1 Big 12) and enter the game as 12-point favorites. Despite TCU's 30-28 upset win over Baylor last week, the Frogs (4-5, 2-4) will have their work cut out for him in Stillwater on Saturday.
Here's what to watch when the Cowboys and Horned Frogs play this weekend.
TCU at No. 10 Oklahoma State
Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 13 at 8 p.m. ET
Spread: Oklahoma State -12
When TCU Has the Ball
Offense hasn't been an issue for the Horned Frogs this year, but they still got a spark last week from backup quarterback Chandler Morris. The Oklahoma transfer diced up the Baylor defense, completing 29of 41 pass attempts for 461 yards and two touchdowns. Morris also carried the ball 11 times for 70 yards and a score.
TCU will have to find a way to run the ball effectively without relying so heavily on Morris, who won't survive the season if he has double-digit carries in every game. If Zach Evans doesn't play, that means backup running backs Emari Demercado and Kendre Miller will shoulder the load.
The Cowboys will probably put up more of a fight on defense this week than what TCU saw from the Bears a week ago. The Pokes lead the Big 12 in scoring defense (16.3 ppg), yards per rush (2.6), and yards per pass (6.4). For the Horned Frogs' sake, better hope they didn't use all the bullets in their holster last week.
When Oklahoma State Has the Ball
OSU remains a run-oriented offense in 2021. The Cowboys have kept it on the ground for 60 percent of their plays this season. Not much reason to do anything different against the Horned Frogs, who are giving up 5.3 yards per rush this year.
Count on TCU's defense zeroing in on the running game, which should open up opportunities for the Cowboys down the field. Quarterback Spencer Sanders has settled down in the last three games, tossing seven TDs against just one interception.
OSU's Tay Martin and Brennan Presley have formed a reliable duo at receiver lately. They combined for 13 receptions for 116 yards and two scores in last week's 24-3 win at West Virginia. If TCU gets too preoccupied with stopping OSU on the ground, Martin and Presley stand to do major damage.
The unceremonious departure of legendary head coach Gary Patterson in the middle of the season seems to fire up TCU last week. Will that same emotional high carry over seven days later?
Anything less than an inspired effort against the Cowboys probably won't cut it. They're playing inspired ball of their own as they cruise to a possible spot in the Big 12 title game in December. Mike Gundy’s team looked every bit the part of a conference championship contender in Morgantown a week ago.
Unless Sanders suffers one of his periodic meltdowns, this looks like a comfortable victory for OSU.
Prediction: Oklahoma State 31, TCU 17
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— Written by Allen Kenney, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Kenney is the founder and editor of BlatantHomerism.com and host of the Blatant Homerism Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @BlatantHomerism.