No. 4 Oklahoma will battle TCU on Saturday in Norman as it looks to remain as one of the the few unbeaten teams left in the country. The Sooners are riding pretty high, coming off one of the most exciting come-from-behind wins in the program's illustrious history. Freshman quarterback Caleb Williams led a 21-point comeback over Texas in Week 6, earning Oklahoma its second-biggest comeback in program history which catapulted them back into the top four.
TCU ended a two-game slide by crushing Texas Tech 52-31 on the road. Quarterback Max Duggan needed just 10 pass attempts to put the game away. Running backs Kendre Miller and Zach Evans combined for 328 yards and 5 touchdowns on just 29 combined carries. Meanwhile, losses against SMU and Texas both came by just a single score.
The Sooners have had TCU's number since Lincoln Riley arrived as offensive coordinator. Oklahoma has won seven straight matchups by an average of 13.9 points per game, including a win in the 2017 Big 12 Championship Game. OU holds a 16-5 historical advantage after beating TCU 33-14 in 2020 behind 132 yards and two touchdowns from receiver Marvin Mims.
Oklahoma vs. TCU: Need to know
Quarterback controversy: The chants by Sooner fans were finally answered. Starting QB Spencer Rattler was benched after his second turnover against Texas and Caleb Williams ran with the opportunity. Now, Riley is playing the competition close to the vest, declining to name a starter and acknowledging that he might not at any point before the game. Williams threw for 212 yards, rushed for 88 yards and posted 3 touchdowns in the win.
Defensive disappointment: TCU coach Gary Patterson is one of the great defensive minds of the modern era, but this defense ranks as by far the worst since the Horned Frogs joined the Big 12. The Frogs have four straight years of top-30 defenses, but this unit ranks No. 99 in total defense and gives up more than 6.5 yards per play. TCU is especially bad against the run, sitting at No. 116 nationally at more than 206 yards per game and 5.2 yards per carry. The Sooners posted 339 yards and 4 touchdowns against Texas, which does not bode well for the matchup.
Unleashing the run game: Oklahoma had been hesitant to lean on its running backs through five games with just two scholarship players on the depth chart. Third-string Marcus Major was ruled eligible before the Red River Showdown and the strategy changed dramatically. Riley handed the ball to top rusher Kennedy Brooks 25 times, and combined with Williams' injection into the lineup, had its best offensive showing of the season.
Track meet: Despite having an offensive coordinator with an air raid background, TCU has one of the most potent rushing attacks in America. The Horned Frogs average 5.74 yards per carry as a team. Miller and Evans rank No. 3 and No. 6 nationally in yards per carry, respectively, while Evans ranks No. 3 in the Big 12 at 117.2 rushing yards per game. Even Duggan has more than 1,200 yards rushing in his career. For TCU to compete, it has to control this game on the ground.
Playoff implications: The 2021 season has been one of the most chaotic in recent memory, but the Sooners have managed to avoid any blemishes. If Oklahoma can maintain its status quo, the Sooners still have a very manageable path to reach the College Football Playoff. What Oklahoma needs more than anything is a statement victory – all five of its FBS wins have come by one score or fewer.
How to watch Oklahoma vs. TCU live
Date: Saturday, Oct. 16 | Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium -- Norman, Oklahoma
TV: ABC | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Oklahoma vs. TCU prediction, picks
The Sooners have yet to beat an FBS opponent by double-figures, but the second half against Texas felt like a turning point. Regardless of whether Rattler or Williams start, Oklahoma's emerging rushing game is a significant development, especially against one of the worst run defenses in college football. If this game becomes a shootout, TCU can't keep up. Prediction: Oklahoma (-11.5)
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