No. 16 Oklahoma Sooners at TCU Horned Frogs: Sooners Wire staff predictions

On the first full weekend of Big 12 action in 2022, the Oklahoma Sooners (3-1, 0-1 Big 12) travel to Fort Worth to take on the TCU Horned Frogs (3-0, 0-0) for an 11 a.m. kickoff on ABC.

Every game is important, but this one took on a whole new tenor after Oklahoma’s loss to Kansas State a week ago.

The Sooners can’t afford any other slips in Big 12 play if they hope to stay in the conference title and College Football Playoff race. They need to have a bounce-back performance against a TCU team that they’ve been great against since the Horned Frogs joined the Big 12.

Oklahoma is 17-5 all time against TCU and 10-1 in Big 12 play. The Sooners have won five of the last six matchups by 18 or more points, most recently a 52-31 win over the Frogs in Norman.

Can the Sooners get their first conference win of the Brent Venables’ era over TCU? Find out what the staff here at Sooners Wire has to say about the matchup in this week’s staff predictions.

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It’s time to see what team 128 is made of.

After losing to Kansas State, Oklahoma takes its show on the road for the first of back-to-back conference road trips to the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. TCU will not make the first trip to DFW easy on Oklahoma.

As highlighted in our three keys to the game, TCU doesn’t make many mistakes on offense. Quarterback Max Duggan hasn’t thrown an interception, and for Oklahoma to win on the road, it will need to force negative plays on defense while hoping the offense continues its rhythm and cuts down on the drive-killing penalties.

I see this game pretty closely contested until the fourth quarter when a sack or fourth down stop helps Oklahoma walk out with a win.

Dillon Gabriel tosses another 3 touchdowns because TCU’s passing defense is porous, and we get an interception by the secondary. Reggie Grimes chips in with a sack, and Danny Stutsman leads the team in tackles.

Oklahoma 38, TCU 27

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Sonny Dykes has quietly been one of the best coaching hires of the offseason. The Horned Frogs have roared out of the gate to a 3-0 start. However, their only Power Five opponent was Colorado in Week 1. And Colorado hasn’t been very good since.

So the Sooners are a bit of a test for the Frogs. Are they for real? Or is that 3-0 record fool’s gold?

TCU has a massive flaw: Its pass defense. The Frogs rank 116th in the nation in passing yards allowed per game. While we are big fans of Tanner Mordecai on this website, Dillon Gabriel is a step or two above him in arm talent.

Facing TCU after being gashed for nearly 300 rushing yards by Kansas State is not ideal for the Sooners. TCU ranks 10th in the nation in rushing yards per game. Kansas State is 11th. Was last week an aberration or the norm for the Sooners’ run defense?

These are not the Frogs of yesterday. Dykes runs an effective, efficient and balanced offense, and if the Sooners’ defense plays as poorly as it did last week, it’s going to be a long day.

Dillon Gabriel has been good. He needs to start being great. With how poor TCU is at defending the pass, Gabriel will need to have his offense ready to go from the get-go. A slow start simply cannot happen.

Expect a classic Big 12 matchup with plenty of scoring.

Oklahoma 45, TCU 28

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We’re back to prove it mode for the Oklahoma Sooners’ defense. After starting the season hot, allowing just 10 points per game, the Oklahoma Sooners’ defense was dominated a week ago against Kansas State.

Adrian Martinez and Deuce Vaughn revealed flaws Max Duggan and Kendre Miller could take advantage of for TCU. The Horned Frogs also feature the best wide receiver the Sooners have faced to this point, Quentin Johnston.

It’s a huge test for the defense. And while they play better this week, it wouldn’t surprise me to see TCU put up some points to keep pace with the Sooners. They’ll get more stops this week, and TCU will have to fight to keep this one a close game, but the defense does enough for Oklahoma to win the game.

Offensively, this will be a much cleaner game for Oklahoma as it corrects some of the mistakes that killed drives a week ago. Against an offense like TCU’s, Dillon Gabriel and the Sooners can’t give away possessions by making untimely mistakes.

Look for the Sooners offense to start faster this week, both on the ground and through the air. Dillon Gabriel will have an efficient passing day and Jalil Farooq continues to build on the last couple weeks, flirting with the first 100-yard game of his career.

Oklahoma 38, TCU 31

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By the Numbers: No. 16 Oklahoma Sooners at TCU Horned Frogs

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