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Oklahoma Sooners

Game Primer: OU at TCU

9 Oklahoma

Oklahomatcu

TCU

Saturday, Oct. 20 / 11 a.m. CT / Amon G. Carter Stadium

OPENING KICK

• In a rematch of last year’s Big 12 Championship Game, No. 9/10 Oklahoma (5-1, 2-1 Big 12) goes for its 18th consecutive true road victory when it plays at TCU (3-3, 1-2) on Saturday at 11 a.m. CT. The game will be televised nationally by ABC with Bob Wischusen, Brock Huard and Allison Williams announcing.

• Oklahoma holds a 13-5 all-time series lead against TCU and has dominated the Horned Frogs since they joined the Big 12 Conference in 2012. OU is 6-1 against TCU in the Big 12 era and has averaged 34.0 points in those contests. The Sooners are 6-1 all-time against the Horned Frogs in Fort Worth (2-1 Big 12 era).

• Five of the seven OU-TCU matchups since the Horned Frogs joined the Big 12 have been decided by seven or fewer points. The two contests that had a margin greater than a touchdown occurred last year when the Sooners won 38-20 in Norman and 41-17 three weeks later in the Big 12 Championship Game in Arlington, Texas.

• OU has won 27 of its last 29 games against Big 12 opponents dating back to the 2015 season. Its only two losses during that span came at the hands of Iowa State on Oct. 7 last year (38-31 in Norman) and Texas two Saturdays ago. Sixteen of those 27 victories have been by at least 15 points, and eight by at least 30 points.

• OU has been ranked in the AP’s top 10 in 28 of the last 30 polls. The only times it wasn’t during that stretch were last week (fell from No. 7 to No. 11) and following last year’s loss to Iowa State (dropped from No. 3 to No. 12).

• In their last game on Oct. 6, the Sooners scored 21 straight fourth-quarter points to tie Texas at 45 before the Longhorns kicked a 40-yard field goal with nine seconds to go for a 48-45 win. Kyler Murray was 19 for 26 passing for 304 yards and four touchdowns while also rushing 11 times for 92 yards, including a 67-yard score. Marquise Brown caught nine passes for 131 yards and two TDs.

• TCU is coming off a 17-14 home loss to Texas Tech on Thursday. The Horned Frogs outgained the Red Raiders 411 yards to 353, but committed three turnovers to Tech’s one in falling for the third time in the last four games. TCU’s Shawn Robinson completed 26 of 45 passes for 290 yards and two touchdowns, and ran seven times for a team-high 42 yards.

FIVE KEY STORYLINES

• OU has not lost back-to-back regular season games since Oct. 2 and 9, 1999, Bob Stoops’ first season as head coach. It has won 38 straight regular season games following a regular season loss.

• Saturday’s game will pit the Big 12’s top scoring offense in Oklahoma (48.0 ppg) versus the league’s top scoring defense in TCU (20.2 ppg). OU has scored at least 45 points in four of its six games while the Horned Frogs have limited four of their six opponents to 17 or fewer points.

• Oklahoma’s 17-game true road winning streak is the longest active streak in the country and second longest in school history (OU won 24 in a row from 1953 to 1958). Troy and UCF (seven) hold the second-longest current streak, while no other Power Five program has a current streak longer than five games. The Sooners’ last true road loss came more than four full years ago and occurred at TCU (37-33 on Oct. 4, 2014). OU has also won a record 15 straight Big 12 road games, breaking the previous league mark of 13 consecutive league road wins by Texas from 2003 to 2006. Since head coach Lincoln Riley joined the staff as offensive coordinator prior to the 2015 season, the Sooners are 15-0 in true road games (13-0 in true Big 12 road contests).

• Oklahoma ranks 129th out of 130 FBS teams with its 58.7 offensive plays per game, but it ranks ninth nationally with its 524.7 yards per contest. That’s because the Sooners lead the nation with a staggering 8.9 yards per play, a figure that would set an FBS single-season record. The OU single-season record of 8.3 yards per play was set last year, and the program’s second-best figure is 7.6 in 1971. Alabama ranks second this year with its 8.4 yards per play, and Memphis ranks third at 8.1. OU also leads the nation by gaining at least 10 yards on 31.5 percent of its plays (111 of 352). Alabama ranks second at 29.6 percent.

• Through six games this season, quarterback Kyler Murray has a better passing efficiency rating (227.8), more total touchdowns (26), more yards per pass attempt (13.1), more yards per completion (18.4) and more rushing yards per game (62.8) than Baker Mayfield, Sam Bradford and Jason White did through six games the years they won their Heisman Trophies while at OU.

SCOUTING TCU

• TCU enters Saturday’s game 3-3 overall and 1-2 in Big 12 play. The Horned Frogs have dropped three of their last four games, including a 17-14 home contest to Texas Tech last Thursday, which followed a 17-14 home win over Iowa State.

• The Horned Frogs lead the Big 12 in scoring defense (20.2 points per game) and outgain opponents 414.2 (238.2 passing, 176.0 rushing) to 311.8 (182.0 passing, 129.8 rushing) in total yards per game. The total defense and passing defense figures also lead the Big 12. TCU has turned the ball over 15 times (nine interceptions, six fumbles lost) while created just six turnovers (three interceptions, three fumbles). The minus-9 turnover margin is tied for 125th nationally and ranks last in the Big 12.

• Quarterback Shawn Robinson has thrown for 1,313 yards (218.8 per game) and nine touchdowns against eight interceptions, completing 62 percent of his passes. Jalen Reagor has collected 432 yards and three touchdowns on 37 receptions, averaging 72.0 receiving yards per game, while Kavontae Turpin has 348 receiving yards and two TDs on 24 catches. Turpin averages 119.5 all-purpose yards per game, adding averages of 18.8 yards in punt returns and 18.7 yards in kick returns per contest. Darius Anderson leads the Frogs with 59.2 rushing yards per game, and is followed by Sewo Olonilua (49.0) and Robinson (38.3). Robinson has run for three TDs.

• The TCU defense has tallied 40 tackles for loss and 17 sacks, which rank sixth and third in the Big 12, respectively. Linebacker Garret Wallow has a team-high 45 tackles while defensive end Ben Banogu, the Big 12 Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, has 4.5 sacks among his 19 tackles, along with six QB hurries and a forced fumble.

• Head coach Gary Patterson is in his 18th season leading the Horned Frogs. With a 163-60 record and .734 winning percentage, he is the program’s all-time winningest coach. He has led TCU to six conference championships, including the Big 12 title in 2014. He is 2-7 all-time against Oklahoma.

LAST YEAR VS. THE HORNED FROGS

• Oklahoma and TCU met twice last season, and the Sooners dominated both AP top-10 matchups. No. 5 OU cruised to a 38-20 home win over No. 8 TCU on Nov. 11, and then, as the nation’s No. 2 squad, downed the No. 10 Horned Frogs 41-17 in the Big 12 Championship Game on Dec. 2 in Arlington, Texas. It was OU’s third straight Big 12 title.

• The Sooners averaged 497.0 yards of offense in the victories while giving up 370.5, and averaged a 34:44-25:16 advantage in time of possession. They committed no turnovers on their 134 plays, while TCU committed two.

• In the first meeting, which was a matchup of first-place Big 12 teams, Baker Mayfield threw for 333 yards and tossed three TD passes while Rodney Anderson registered a career-high 290 all-purpose yards (11th-most in Oklahoma history) and scored four TDs. TCU entered the contest allowing just 13.9 points per game and had given up just 24 total points over its last four contests, but OU scored 17 points in the first quarter, and its 38 first-half points were the most allowed in a game by TCU since OU’s 52-46 win in 2016 (span of 17 contests). OU averaged 11.0 yards per play in the first half (the Horned Frogs were allowing 4.4 per play on the year).

• Anderson, who was named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week for his performance, finished with 151 rushing yards and a career-high 139 receiving yards to become the first FBS player since at least 1996 to register at least 139 rushing and 139 receiving yards in a game. He also became just third player in school history with at least 100 rushing yards and 100 receiving yards in a contest, joining Joe Mixon (2016 at Texas Tech) and Steve Sewell (1984 vs. Kansas State). The sophomore tied an Oklahoma record with four TDs in a half with two rushing and two receiving scores in the opening 30 minutes.

• In the rematch, OU’s 41 points were the most against TCU on the season, and the Horned Frogs’ 17 points were their second fewest of the year. Mayfield, the game’s most outstanding player, tied a Big 12 Championship Game record with four TD passes, finishing 15 for 23 for 243 yards. Mayfield also registered 65 rushing yards and became the only Sooner since at least 1996 to record at least one rush of 50-plus yards and at least one pass of 50-plus in a game (had a career-long 54-yard run and passes of 55 and 52).

• Two of Mayfield’s TD throws went to eventual Mackey Award winner Mark Andrews. Andrews caught a team-high seven passes for 58 yards. Mayfield also connected with Mykel Jones on a 55-yard score (the first of Jones’ career) and with Marquise Brown on a 52-yard TD.

• OU’s defense also produced a score as Kenneth Murray forced a fumble on TCU’s first play from scrimmage that Caleb Kelly returned 18 yards for a TD and a 10-0 lead. Will Johnson, who registered a team-high-tying eight tackles, also picked off TCU quarterback Kenny Hill in the third quarter to set up an OU field goal that made the score 41-17. The Sooners held the Horned Frogs to 317 yards (TCU’s third fewest of the year) and to just 5.2 yards per play.

Caleb Kelly

TRUE ROAD WARRIORS

• By the time Saturday arrives, OU’s last true road loss will have occurred 1,477 days ago. The last time the Sooners lost a true road game was Oct. 4, 2014, when No. 4 OU dropped a 37-33 decision at No. 25 TCU. Eleven AP Top 25 teams lost that week, including four of the top six.

• Since 1980, OU’s 17-game true road winning streak is tied for the sixth longest nationally. A win Saturday would tie for the third longest streak, with only Miami (Fla.) (1984-88) and Ohio State (2012-16) holding longer streaks at 20 wins.

• During the 17-game streak, the Sooners have outscored opponents 821-463 (48-27 average) and have outgained them 9,786 yards to 7,058 (576-415 average). OU has scored at least 31 points in all 17 games and at least 41 points in 13 of them. Seven of the wins have come against top-25 teams.

• The Sooners have outgained their opponent in 16 of the 17 road wins. West Virginia in 2016 is the only home team to outgain OU during the stretch (579-485), but was still doubled up 56-28 on the scoreboard.

• Twelve of the 17 victories have been by double digits, six by at least 28 points and five by at least 35 points.

MURRAY ANOTHER OU HEISMAN HOPEFUL

• After a competitive quarterback battle during preseason camp between redshirt junior Kyler Murray and redshirt sophomore Austin Kendall, head coach Lincoln Riley announced Aug. 22 that Murray had won the job. Through six games, the decision has proved fruitful, with Murray ranking second nationally in yards per pass attempt (13.1), yards per completion (18.4), passing efficiency rating (227.8) and points responsible for per game (26.0), fourth in passing touchdowns per game (3.5) and total offense per game (356.8 yards; didn’t play in second half vs. Florida Atlantic, OU only ran 40 plays vs. Army) seventh in completion percentage (.711) and 11th in passing yards per game (294.0). He is the only player averaging at least 250.0 passing yards (294.0) and at least 50.0 rushing yards (62.8) per game.

• Murray has thrown at least two TD passes in every game this year, and at least three in each of the last five outings.

• In Big 12 play, Murray owns gigantic statistical leads in total offense with his 432.7 yards per game (next most is 306.5 by Baylor’s Charlie Brewer), passing yards with his 364.3 per contest (next most is 289.5 by West Virginia’s Will Grier) and passing efficiency rating with his 249.6 mark (next best is 166.0 by Grier).

• A 5-10, 195-pounder from Allen, Texas, Murray is looking to become OU’s fourth Heisman Trophy finalist in the last three years (Baker Mayfield in 2016 and ’17 and Dede Westbrook in 2016), and its second straight winner (Mayfield). He has accounted for 26 touchdowns (21 passing, five rushing) and just four turnovers. He leads the team with 377 rushing yards (6.6 per carry) and with five rushing TDs.

• Murray was the backup last season to Mayfield, who won OU’s sixth Heisman Trophy as the Sooners claimed their third straight Big 12 title and made the College Football Playoff for the second time in three years.

• No school has ever produced back-to-back Heisman Trophy winners who were quarterbacks.

• Only seven times since the start of the Big 12 Conference in 1996 has a Sooner thrown for at least 300 yards and rushed for at least 65 in a game, and Murray has done it on three occasions. He passed for 306 yards and ran for 69 against UCLA, threw for a then-career-high 348 and rushed for 77 at Iowa State, and went for 304 and 92 against Texas. For his effort against UCLA, Murray was named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week, Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week and the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback of the Week.

• Through six games, Murray has been considerably more efficient as a passer this season than Mayfield was the last two seasons when he twice set the FBS record in the category. Murray’s 227.8 rating is 29 points better than Mayfield’s existing record of 198.9 set last year, and 31 points better than Mayfield’s 2016 mark of 196.4.

HOORAY FOR “HOLLYWOOD”

• Marquise Brown, who hails from Hollywood, Fla., was one of the country’s most explosive receivers last year, and 2018 is no different. Brown ranks fourth nationally in receiving yards per game (112.5) this season, and among players averaging at least four receptions per game he leads the nation with his 22.7 yards per catch. He also ranks fourth nationally with his 1.17 receiving touchdowns per game (seven TDs in six games).

• Brown ranks first nationally this season with his seven catches of at least 40 yards, his five receptions of at least 50 yards, his three grabs of at least 60 yards and his two catches of at least 70 yards. His long receiving plays this season have gone for 77 yards (TD), 75 yards (TD), 65 yards (TD), 58 yards (TD), 50 yards (TD), 48 yards and 40 yards (TD).

• Since the start of the 2017 season, Brown leads the nation with his 12 catches of at least 50 yards. The next highest total among active players is eight. The 12 grabs for Brown have gone for 87, 84, 77, 77, 75, 66, 65, 58, 56, 52, 50 and 50 yards. Nine of those 12 receptions have resulted in a TD.

• Brown has started his OU career with 90 catches for 1,770 yards (19.7 average) and 16 TDs. His 1,770 receiving yards are 299 more than the Sooner with the second most yards in the first 19 games of a career (Dede Westbrook tallied 1,471 in 2015 and ’16 as a junior and senior). Brown’s 14 receiving TDs are tied for the most in school history through 19 games (Ryan Broyles also had 14).

SILENCE OF THE LAMB

• While Marquise Brown has turned heads with his home-run-play ability, sophomore CeeDee Lamb has quietly put together one of the best two-year starts to a career by an OU receiver. The 6-2, 189-pounder from Richmond, Texas, has started 18 of his 20 games and has amassed 71 receptions for 1,230 yards (17.8 average) and 13 touchdowns.

• A freshman All-American last season by ESPN last year when he caught 46 passes for 807 yards and seven touchdowns in 14 contests (13 starts), Lamb is on pace to demolish those numbers this season. Through six games, he has 25 catches for 423 yards and six TDs. He has four career 100-yard receiving games, including two this year. The highlight of this season was a seven-catch, 146-yard performance against UCLA in OU’s second game.

• Lamb ranks fourth in OU history with his 13 receiving touchdowns in the first 20 games of a career (three players are tied for the lead with 14).

OU’S 1-2 LINEBACKING PUNCH

• No duo in the country averages more tackles per game than Oklahoma redshirt senior Curtis Bolton and sophomore Kenneth Murray. Both linebackers, Bolton ranks third nationally (first in the Big 12) with his 12.5 tackles per outing, while Murray is tied for for fourth nationally (second in Big 12) with 12.3.

• Over the last three games, Murray has an astounding 55 tackles while Bolton has 53.

• Amazingly, Bolton’s 75 tackles are 59 more than he had in his career (16) entering the year. Playing primarily on special teams and battling injuries prior to this season, his six career starts have all come in 2018.

• Murray has 74 tackles on the year, which is just four shy of his total last season when he started all 14 games, earned freshman All-America honors from the Football Writers Association of America and USA Today, and was co-Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year. What makes Murray’s 2018 tackle total even more impressive is the fact that he registered zero stops in the season opener against Florida Atlantic. Over the last five games, he is averaging 14.8 tackles. Included was a 28-tackle effort against Army which, the most by an FBS player since at least 2000 (when the NCAA began tracking the record).

HERE’S THE KICKER

• Senior kicker/punter Austin Seibert ranks second in OU career scoring with 414 points and needs 36 points to tie kicker Michael Hunnicutt (2011-14) for the school record of 450. He is tied for fifth place in all-time Big 12 scoring and needs 19 points to tie Oklahoma State kicker Ben Grogan (2013-16) for fourth place. Seibert needs 37 points to tie the Big 12 career scoring record of 406, held by Baylor’s Aaron Jones (2010-13) and TCU’s Jaden Oberkrom (2012-15).

• With his 414 points, Seibert ranks 16th in FBS history among kickers. He needs 19 points to move into the top 10. The record is 494 points by Arizona State’s Zane Gonzalez (2013-16).

• Seibert ranks first at OU and second in the Big 12 in career extra points made (261), and needs 13 to tie the conference record of 274 held by Baylor’s Jones.

• For the third straight season, Seibert is handling OU’s placekicking, punting and kickoff duties. He is one of just three players nationally this season to lead his team in each (San Jose State’s Bryce Crawford and Rice’s Jack Fox).

• Seibert also ranks second at OU in career field goals made (51) and PAT percentage (.985; 261-265), fourth in career field goal percentage (.761; 51-67) and fifth in career punting average (41.8).

ISN’T THAT SPECIAL

• Special teams have been a major positive for the Sooners through six games. Among teams with at least 2.0 kickoff returns per game this season, OU ranks fifth nationally with its 27.5 average. That’s thanks largely to sophomore cornerback Tre Brown, who ranks sixth in the country with his 29.8-yard average. He has compiled 269 yards on nine returns, including an 86-yarder in the first quarter vs. UCLA that set up the tying touchdown after OU fell behind 7-0.

• Among teams that average at least 1.5 punt returns per game, OU ranks 16th nationally with its 13.7 yards per return. Sophomore receiver CeeDee Lamb is averaging 11.9 yards on his eight returns, thanks largely to a 66-yard runback vs. UCLA. Redshirt junior receiver Lee Morris has one return for 28 yards.

• Last year, OU ranked 98th nationally in kick return average (19.3 yards) and 97th in punt return average (5.6).

• Opponents have only returned four punts this season and they have gone for a combined -2 yards (third fewest in nation). OU also registered its first blocked punt since 2013 in the opener against Florida Atlantic, and it resulted in its first blocked punt TD since 2002. Morris registered the block and Curtis Bolton fell on the ball in the end zone.

• Senior kicker/punter Austin Seibert is 38 for 38 on PATs this season after going 81 for 81 last year. His streak of 131 makes going back to 2016 is the third longest in the nation. Forty-three of his 45 kickoffs this season have resulted in touchbacks (his 95.6 percent rate is best in the nation), and he has a current streak of 31 touchbacks.

EXTRA POINTS

• The Sooners have won 18 of their last 19 games the week after playing Texas. The lone loss — to Kansas State in 2014 — was by one point (31-30).

• Oklahoma has scored at least 30 points in 28 of its last 30 games (29 and 28 in the other two). It has won 27 of those 30 contests. OU’s 27-3 record since Oct. 1, 2016, is the nation’s third best (Alabama is 29-2 and Clemson 28-3).

• OU opponents have run 478 plays this season to the Sooners’ 352. That’s an average of 21.0 more per game. Despite that, OU has outgained its foes by 621 yards on the year (8.9 yards per play to 5.3).

• In Big 12 play, the Sooners lead the league in rushing defense (113.7 yards per game) and rank second in yards per carry allowed (3.2). On the season, OU is tied for third in the league in yards per play allowed (5.3).

• Kyler Murray was named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week three times for games played in the month of September. He became the first player since Texas running back Ricky Williams in 1998 to earn three such honors in the first five weeks of a season.

• OU has scored at least 50 points 17 times since the start of the 2015 season, tied with Texas Tech for most nationally.

• Since the start of the 2017 season, Oklahoma is averaging 26.4 points in the first half. It has scored at least 20 first-half points in 17 of 20 games, and at least 28 points in 10 of those contests.

• OU committed just 13 turnovers last year (six interceptions and seven fumbles lost), or less than one per game. That marked the second-lowest total in school history (11 in 2008). It has six total turnovers in six games this season. OU’s 19 turnovers since the start of the 2017 campaign are tied for eighth fewest nationally.

• Junior Marquise Brown ranks fourth in the Big 12 in career receiving yards per catch (19.7). The record is 22.6 yards per reception by West Virginia’s Shelton Gibson (2014-16).

• Redshirt junior receiver Lee Morris has 10 career catches and six have gone for touchdowns. Four of his eight receptions this year have resulted in a score.

• The Sooners rank first nationally with their seven plays of at least 60 yards this season.

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