The usual October showdown between the two highest-ranked teams in the Big 12 has finally arrived.
It’s just not the matchup most fans predicted.
Hardly anyone expected No. 8 Oklahoma State and No. 13 TCU both to be unbeaten going into their contest on Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas, but that is the case in what is the first top-15 showdown in the conference this year.
Oklahoma State’s success to this point is not the biggest surprise. The Cowboys (5-0, 2-0 Big 12) began the season ranked No. 12 after nearly making the College Football Playoff last year.
The Cowboys already have one road win over a ranked Texas school. They earned a 36-25 victory at then-No. 16 Baylor on Oct. 1.
As has traditionally been the case, offense has been the biggest reason for Oklahoma State’s success. The Cowboys are averaging 46.4 points and 469.4 yards per game thus far and are led by quarterback Spencer Sanders, who has completed 61.5 percent of his passes for 1,394 yards and 12 touchdowns with two interceptions.
Sanders is also second in rushing with 241 yards for Oklahoma State, which is coming off a 41-31 home win over Texas Tech.
Sanders’ counterpart in Saturday’s game is also off to a monster start this year.
TCU quarterback Max Duggan is the biggest reason why the Horned Frogs (5-0, 2-0) have been one of the nation’s most pleasant surprises.
Duggan is completing 73.2 percent of his passes for 1,305 yards, 14 touchdowns and just one interception for TCU, which also is averaging 46.4 points per game, tied for first with Oklahoma State atop the conference and tied for third nationally.
Duggan has also rushed for 204 yards this year, confirming his status as the player that who makes the Horned Frogs go.
“He’s throwing the deep ball really well and he can run,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. “I don’t know that we have maybe one or two guys on the field on defense that can catch him. I think he’s that fast. He’s playing good.
“We’ll have to have a really good game plan. Our guys will have to play well and be really competitive. They’re playing good football right now.”
In his first year as head coach of TCU after coming over from SMU, Sonny Dykes has worked wonders thus far with the Horned Frogs.
TCU earned a 38-31 win at previously unbeaten Kansas last week and will host a ranked-versus-ranked game for the first time since 2017.
“When we got to fall camp, we sat down and just said, ‘You know what, we’ve got some talented players. If we can figure this thing out, we’re going to have a chance to have a good football team. We’ll be able to string some wins together,'” Dykes said. “I didn’t know if it was going to be early, late or whatever, but we felt like we had enough good players to where we could field a very competitive football team. The buy-in was exceptional.”
–Field Level Media