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OSU vs. TCU Preview: Winner Becomes Big 12 Favorite

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STILLWATER -

It's a battle of the unbeatens in Stillwater on Saturday. Oklahoma State (8-0, 5-0) hosts TCU (8-0, 5-0) in one of the most anticipated games in program history. The winner could have an inside track at the College Football Playoff. It's time to take a deeper look at the matchup.

Walking wounded

Every team has guys banged up this time of year, but OSU’s situation might be dire. Standout defensive end Jimmy Bean is highly questionable with a left knee problem. Bean has a career-high 5.5 sacks, which is second on the team behind Emmanuel Ogbah and fourth in the Big 12. Ogbah and Bean form one of the deadliest pass-rush combos in the country, and OSU could really use both against one of the nation’s top offenses.

Starting corners Kevin Peterson and Ashton Lampkin are also questionable. Imagine trying to stop TCU’s passing game without your starting DBs and one of the best pass rushers in the league.   

Is Trevone Boykin unstoppable?

He sure looks like it. Boykin is the fifth-leading passer in the FBS and pretty much runs at will, too. Boykin’s rushing total (524 yards) is 159 more than anyone on OSU and he has more rushing scores than OSU backs Rennie Childs and Chris Carson combined.

“He creates a lot of issues,” OSU defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer said. “It doesn't take long on film to see that he can throw, he can elude the rush, he's got an unbelievable release and he's a tremendous running back with the ball in his hand. He's got great vision. They do a great job of game planning for him and creating plays for him. Even when it's not there, he'll create something for himself.”

The Frogs haven’t failed to reach 40 points since their ho-hum season opener at Minnesota and are averaging better than 48 points per game in Big 12 contests. Boykin’s evolution is a big part of their explosiveness.

“I don't have the answer on how to slow him down yet,” Spencer said. “And who knows if we'll have it on Saturday? We're going to do some things to hopefully slow him down a little bit, but guys like him have great games and we just have to make timely stops throughout the night and affect him."

Don’t worry, Glenn, no one else knows, either.

Limiting turnovers

When you’re playing against the No. 2 total offense in the country, you can’t let ‘em have free possessions. Mason Rudolph has been a little pick-prone this season, throwing at least one interception in five of OSU’s eight games. Rudolph’s only three games without one were against Central Michigan, UTSA and Kansas – not exactly murderer’s row.

Backup quarterback J.W. Walsh, whose playing time has gradually increased, will be used heavily to give the TCU defense different looks. Walsh doesn’t have Rudolph’s physical gifts, but he has wheels and doesn’t make mistakes. Walsh is responsible for 16 touchdowns this season and zero turnovers.

Prediction

This has the potential to be an all-time classic. TCU is 24-1 when ranked in the top five of the AP Poll, but OSU coach Mike Gundy is 2-0 against the Frogs in Stillwater. The difference in this game could be the guy whom Ogbah calls “the best player in the country” in Boykin. After getting hosed by the playoff committee last season, and with OU losing already and Baylor losing quarterback Seth Russell, this kinda feels like TCU’s year.

Frogs win, 42-32

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