Oklahoma Preview: TCU football looks to stay undefeated in Big 12 Conference play opener



TCU wide receiver Derius Davis (11) runs past an SMU defender during the 2022 edition of the Battle for the Iron Skillet. (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)

By Dru Kennedy, Staff Writer

If TCU wants to remain undefeated, the Frogs are going to have to do something they haven’t done since 2014: beat the 18th-ranked Oklahoma Sooners.

The Sooners have won seven of the last eight Big 12 conference titles, but they are coming off a 41-34 loss to Kansas State.

A TCU win on Saturday will require the Frogs to handle Oklahoma’s sporadic defense and force the Oklahoma offense off the field on third downs.

Last week, the Frogs got the run game going early, which is a strategy they’ll need to repeat against the Sooners, who have a top-ranked defense.

Oklahoma’s defense looks a bit different this year under head coach Brett Venables.

“There’s a different scheme and they have a different philosophy defensively,” head coach Sonny Dykes said Tuesday. “They are doing so much defensively, mixing things up so much with so much movement they’re creating havoc.”

Running back Emani Demercado explained how the offense will prepare.

“They do a lot of things; they fly around, and I think that is the biggest thing we have to be ready for anything from them because they do so much,” Demercado said.

On the defensive end, the team is preparing to get the Oklahoma offense off the field frequently on third downs.

“We had a lot of chances to get off the field on third down last week, whether it was a pass interference call or a completed pass that extended the drive,” safety Mark Perry said. “I think that will help us stay fresher longer, three and out is much better than having to play a 12-play drive.”

A win for the Frogs would help them gain respect as they head into the rest of conference play.

“Going out there and playing a school like Oklahoma they are a historic program and have a lot of success in the past, but we will treat every game the same and focus on us,” Perry said. “It’s a big game and [a win] will give not only us confidence but it will also let all of the outsiders see who we are as a team.”

Sneak Peek at the Sooners

Oklahoma is coming off a loss, after falling to Kansas State 41-34 at home last week.

Since losing head coach Garrett Riley and quarterback Caleb Williams to USC last spring, Oklahoma has regrouped under new head Coach Brett Venables and UCF transfer quarterback Dillon Gabriel.

At UCF, Gabriel threw for over 8,000 yards and 70 touchdowns over two seasons and three games. This year Gabriel has already thrown for over 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns in four games, with his most frequent target being wide receiver Marvin Mims.

An All-Big 12 honorable mention, Mims leads the Sooners in receiving yards. He has scored three touchdowns on 18 receptions, averaging 21.4 yards catch.

On the other side of the ball, look out for defensive linebacker Reggie Grimes who shares the lead on sacks on the year in the Big 12.

Prior to last week’s loss, the Sooners were ranked sixth in AP NCAA College Football Rankings.

Kickoff for TCU vs. Oklahoma will be at 11 a.m. CST on Saturday and will be aired on ABC.