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College Sports: 5 things TCU fans need to know about Oklahoma: Kyler Murray still in Heisman hunt, but Sooners’ defense needs to step up

Here are five things TCU fans need to know about the Horned Frogs’ Week 8 opponent, Oklahoma:

Magic man

If Oklahoma would have closed out Texas a few weeks ago, Sooners quarterback Kyler Murray would be the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy.

And he’s still in the conversation. Very much so.

It’s rare to see a QB throw for over 300 yards and four scores in a losing effort. Murray can thank his defense (sarcasm), but more on that later.

Many expected this to be a special season for Murray and he’s already exceeding expectations with his athleticism. And Murray’s doing it all knowing he has cool millions of the Oakland Athletics’ money sitting in the bank.

He’s thrown for over 1,700 yards and rushed for another 377. He is the Sooners’ offense. And to make matters worse for TCU… he’s rested coming off a bye week.

While the Frogs put in another outstanding defensive performance last week in a losing effort to Texas Tech, TCU’s response to the mobility of QB Jett Duffey may have been their biggest defensive shortcoming. So, how the Frogs perform against the best dual-threat QB in college football is the million dollar question of the week.

“As a general rule, [Murray] can just take off on you and most guys can’t catch him,” TCU head coach Gary Patterson said earlier this week. “That’s a problem, and one of those things that we’ve had to look into going into preparation.”

Stoop kid

In other Oklahoma news, head coach Lincoln Riley fired defensive coordinator Mike Stoops after the Sooners allowed 48 points to the Longhorns in Dallas. Defensive tackles coach Ruffin McNeill will take over.

It’s hard to lose games with an offense as good as Oklahoma’s. The defense has been pretty bad, but wasn’t truly exposed until the Red River Showdown. The Sooners allow 421.2 yards per game (96th in the FBS) and rank 96th in third-down defense and 124th in red-zone defense.

This all sounds like great news for a TCU offense that has seemingly played with anemia since facing UT in Austin.

That being said, Oklahoma has been challenged to be better. And the Sooners have had almost two weeks to figure it out. Not enough time for new schemes to be installed, but certainly enough to re-motivate, get healthy and commit to being more aggressive. That’s dangerous.

Oklahoma has forced only five takeaways all season. TCU has one of the worst turnover margins in college football. If the Sooners play for turnovers, just one could be enough to put the Frogs on ice.

Those other guys

Everybody wants to talk about Murray, but that’s not a slight to the other offensive weapons in Norman.

After star running back Rodney Anderson went down with a season-ending knee injury against UCLA, the backfield trio of Trey Sermon, Kennedy Brooks and Marcelias Sutton has really come on strong. They’ve each rushed for over 100 yards this season. For some perspective, Murray has out-rushed them all individually.

TCU must also contend with WR Marquise Brown, one of the fastest receivers in college football and the cousin of Pittsburgh Steelers wide-out Antonio Brown. He and receiver CeeDee Lamb have already caught passes for 13 scores and over 1,000 yards.

Another close one?

Oklahoma’s offense is great. TCU’s defense is great. There’s always an opportunity for a competitive game. The Big 12’s top scoring offense and defense will clash.

Five of TCU and Oklahoma’s last seven meetings were decided by 12 points or fewer. The two exceptions occurred last season, when the Sooners defeated the Frogs by margins of 18 (in Norman) and 24 (in Arlington, Big 12 title game).

Ahead of pace

Another interesting fact about Murray:

Through six games, Murray has more total touchdowns (26), yards per pass attempt (13.1), yards per completion (18.4), rushing yards per game (62.8) and a better passing efficiency rating (227.8) than former OU quarterbacks Baker Mayfield, Sam Bradford and Jason White in their Heisman-winning seasons.

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