TCU’s untimely turnovers don’t tell the whole story. But they’re certainly not good

Five Facts: TCU vs. Oklahoma

On Saturday, the TCU Horned Frogs will take on the Oklahoma Sooners for the 18th time in football. Here's what you should know before the upcoming match-up.
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On Saturday, the TCU Horned Frogs will take on the Oklahoma Sooners for the 18th time in football. Here's what you should know before the upcoming match-up.

Count Lincoln Riley among those who doesn’t feel the numbers tell the whole story when it comes to TCU’s offense.

The Oklahoma coach downplayed the notion that TCU — averaging a league-low 15.7 points in Big 12 play with 10 turnovers in three games — is an opportunity for his defense to get going against on Saturday.

The Sooners are searching for answers with Ruffin McNeill taking over at defensive coordinator after Riley fired Mike Stoops on the heels of Texas scoring its most points (48) in Red River Showdown history.

“Everybody watched the Ohio State game [when TCU scored 28] and more than that, just knowing the personnel that those guys have,” Riley said on Monday during the Big 12 football coaches teleconference.

“They’re one of the most explosive skill units that we’ll face all year. Receivers are really good. They’ve got one of the most electric players in the country with [KaVontae] Turpin, both offensively and on special teams. So, no, I think they’re a very, very capable group.

Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione says new coach Lincoln Riley reminds him in many ways of predecessor Bob Stoops which makes him a good fit for the position. Video by Jimmy Burch

“It’s hard to play good offensive football. There’s a lot of things that have to go right and you can just be a fraction off and that makes a big difference. They’ve got really good coaches over there. They’ve got really good players. It’ll certainly be a big challenge for us.”

TCU’s offense has managed to move the ball effectively, for the most part. The Frogs have gained more yardage than their opponents in each conference game.

The problem has been the turnovers. There’s never a good time to give the ball away, but TCU seems to find the most inopportune times to do so.

Three of the four turnovers against Texas came with the Frogs either leading, or trailing by one. Two of the three turnovers against Iowa State came in Cyclones territory and the other happened at midfield. And, against Texas Tech, TCU gave the ball away three times, including twice in Tech territory.

TCU has the worst turnover margin in the Big 12, and one of the worst in the country at minus-9. Only North Carolina, UConn and Rutgers — all one-win teams — have a worse turnover margin than TCU.

“You’re not going to win a lot of football games [with that turnover margin] … we’ve got to do something to change that on both sides of the ball,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said. “We’ve got six games to be able to do that.

“If we do a better job than what we’re doing now then we’re going to have a chance to win more games than we lose and get bowl eligible and put ourselves back into doing what we’re used to being able to do and winning ballgames. Or we’re going to struggle with that.

“There’s only one group — nobody on Twitter, nobody in the newspaper, nobody else can answer that problem — we’ve got to decide as a group that we want to dig down and get ready to go. It’s going to be a challenge starting this week with Oklahoma.”

The TCU Horned Frogs head coach said his team was not in the wrong during the warm-up line incident at Oklahoma.

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