The Oklahoma State Cowboys will face the TCU Horned Frogs in Fort Worth on Saturday. The Cowboys come into the game with a record of 8-2 (7-1 Big 12), compared to the Horned Frogs 5-4 (3-3 Big 12). This game has big implications for the Cowboys in the Big 12 title race. Yet, if the Horned Frogs win on Saturday then they’re bowl eligible. Now let’s take a look at Oklahoma State’s week 12 keys to victory against the Horned Frogs.
Oklahoma State’s Week 12 Keys to Victory
Strong Play on the Road
The Cowboys have been a vastly different team on the road than they have been at home this season. Most of the difference is due to quarterback Mason Rudolph. He has thrown 18 of his 24 touchdowns at home. Furthermore, three of Rudolph’s four interceptions on the season have come on the road. The Horned Frogs are also a much better team at home. Last season, the Cowboys beat the Horned Frogs 49-29 in Stillwater. Whereas the Horned Frogs beat the Cowboys 42-9, when they met in Fort Worth in 2014.
Both teams look vastly different heading into this week 12 meeting, but you can’t ignore the advantage that the home team always has in this series. Especially after the way the Horned Frogs beat the Baylor Bears, 62-22, in Waco in their last game. The Cowboys will need a hot start to ahead in this game.
Stopping the Run
Oklahoma State’s front seven will need to stop TCU’s vaunted rushing attack between quarterback Kenny Hill and running back Kyle Hicks. The last time the Cowboys were tasked with stopping a good running game was against the Kansas State Wildcats. They gave up 345 rushing yards to the Wildcats in that game. Cowboys defensive tackle Vincent Taylor is the team leader in tackles for loss with 9.5. Linebacker Devante Averette will also be a key to success, as he’s the teams leading tackler at the position.
The Horned Frogs passing game has been very inconsistent under Hill this season. Shutting down the TCU run game will force Hill to make plays through the air. The Cowboys are allowing an average of 198.4 rushing yards per game, while the Horned Frogs are averaging 196 rushing yards per game. Look for both teams running games to be one of the biggest deciding factors in this game.
Take Advantage of Turnovers
One huge advantage for the Cowboys in this game is that they have a quarterback that takes care of the ball. Rudolph has thrown only four interceptions compared to 10 for Hill. Considering Rudolph has thrown 24 touchdowns to 14 for Hill, the touchdown to interception ratio is definitely on Rudolph’s side. The Cowboys will also need running back Justice Hill to protect the ball. He has had fumbling problems at times this season.
The Cowboys defense has been the most successful when they have successfully implemented the bend but not break mentality. TCU will put up a lot of offensive yards, but turnovers can limit the effect that the Horned Frogs offense will have on the game.
The Horned Frogs opened as 4.5 point favorites against the Cowboys, according to Odds Shark. According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, the Horned Frogs have a 54.6 percent chance to win this game.
Both quarterbacks struggle with turnovers in this game. Hill throws three picks, while Rudolph throws one interception and fumbles the ball once as well. The Horned Frogs control the clock thanks to Hicks and wide receiver KaVontae Turpin. But the Cowboys receivers James Washington and Jalen McCleskey have a combined 200 receiving yards and three touchdowns. That powers the Cowboys to a nail biting victory.