TCU vs Oklahoma State; Frogs don’t talk about year’s debacle

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Taye Barber and his TCU teammates would just rather forget what happened the last time they played Oklahoma State. So much has changed in the 11 months since that debacle.

When they meet again Saturday, it is a matchup of the Big 12’s only remaining undefeated teams, and the league’s top quarterbacks.

“We were pretty shaken up back then, at the end of the season, so they didn’t really just get our full team,” Barber said. “We don’t want to talk about that. We all had a bad game.”

The 13th-ranked Horned Frogs (5-0, 2-0 Big 12) have won six of their seven games since that 63-17 loss last November in Stillwater. Their most lopsided loss since the end of the 1990 season came in the aftermath of coach Gary Patterson’s departure and with quarterback Max Duggan out because of a lingering foot injury.

No. 8 Oklahoma State (5-0, 2-0) has lost only one of its past 12 games, that being the Big 12 championship game last December.

TCU last week beat No. 19 Kansas in another undefeated matchup. The Horned Frogs lead the nation with 8.1 yards per play, are third with their 530 total yards per game for new coach Sonny Dykes, and were listed as a slight favorite by FanDuel Sportsbook.

Spencer Sanders’ 29 wins as Oklahoma State’s starting quarterback are three shy of matching Mason Rudolph’s school record, and he leads the Big 12 with 327 total yards per game, 278.8 yards passing per game, and 18 total touchdowns (12 passing, six rushing). He surpassed 10,000 career total yards last week, and with 65 more will rank second in school history.

“When you’re playing with confidence as a quarterback, the ball comes out faster, it’s a lot more precise,” Dykes said. “And so you can tell he’s played a lot of snaps. You can tell he’s had a lot of success.”

The same goes for Duggan, who after losing his starting job going into this season, is now having his best stretch of games in a career that includes 33 starts.

Duggan has completed 93 of 127 passes (career-best 73%) for 1,305 yards with a Big 12-best 14 touchdowns and one interception, and is second behind Sanders for total yards (301.8) and passing yards (261). When counting only his four starts since taking back over after Chandler Morris sprained a knee late in the third quarter of the opener at Colorado, Duggan has averaged 360 total yards and 319.5 yards passing with all 17 of his TDs (14 passing, three rushing).

“I think just trying not to do too much,” Cowboys defensive tackle Sione Asi said about facing the dual-threat Duggan. “Just keep it very simple because I give respect to him, he’s a good ballplayer and he does extend plays on his feet.”

BIG GAMES

The Cowboys are 5-1 in their last six games when both they and their opponents are ranked, so they are used to such big games.

“When you have a lot of hype, there is a feeling in pre-game warmups that is different than without that. I still feel that,” said 18th-year Cowboys coach Mike Gundy, who became the Big 12′s longest-tenured coach when Patterson was gone. “I always hear coaches say this is what I coach for, and some players say this is what I play for. I like the 28-point spread games, they’re much more enjoyable for me. When we’re in these games and get going, the crowd and the pageantry of college football is pretty special.”

UP FRONT

TCU’s offensive line has allowed only seven sacks while Oklahoma State has a Big 12-high 3.2 sacks per game, with three defensive ends having at least three each. The Cowboys are also the FBS leader with 10.2 tackles for loss per game.

EARLY EXITS

The opposing starting quarterbacks in TCU’s first two Big 12 games didn’t make it to halftime.

Oklahoma’s Dillon Gabriel was knocked out of the Sooners’ 55-24 loss two weeks ago after he was hit in the head in the second quarter by sliding linebacker Jamoi Hodge, who was ejected for targeting. Gabriel didn’t play last Saturday in the Red River rivalry against Texas.

Since he missed the second half against Oklahoma, Hodge didn’t have to sit out the first half against Kansas, which lost starter Jalon Daniels to a shoulder injury after Hodge sacked him late in the first half. There was no penalty on what appeared to be a clean play, but Daniels isn’t expected to play this week.

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