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The Friday newsletter: Player to watch, prediction and pick for Oklahoma State-TCU

November 23, 2018

Game No. 12. Already.

Player to watch

As Tylan Wallace has surged toward a potential Biletnikoff Award, the other Oklahoma State receivers have flown under the radar in the second half of the season.

But it’s worth watching Tyron Johnson on Saturday. The junior has quietly put together a terrific month of November.

He caught just 21 passes in the first two months of the season (eight games), culminating with a one-catch, 6-yard performance in the win over Texas. But as Taylor Cornelius has improved over the season’s final month, Johnson’s productivity has risen.

In three November games, Johnson has 23 receptions, 267 yards and two touchdowns.

Prediction

A defense that has struggled for much of the season comes up with a key touchdown.

Oklahoma State has shown the ability to make strong adjustments on defense in each of its last two games against Oklahoma and West Virginia. Both times, it limited a great quarterback (Kyler Murray and Will Grier) for two quarters.

TCU’s offense isn’t in the same universe as OU and West Virginia. If the level of coaching is at the same level for OSU, it should be able to make plays against the Horned Frogs’ offense.

This has been a dreadful season for OSU in terms of forcing turnovers. Its seven takeaways in eight games rank eighth in the league. And OSU has just one interception in the last five weeks.

But for the first time since Devin Harper returned a pick for a score against South Alabama, let’s say the defense gets in the end zone.

Prediction

This is a game Oklahoma State is supposed to win.

In the bizarre world of Oklahoma State’s 2018 season, that makes it a game it might lose. The Cowboys own wins over Texas and West Virginia and losses to Baylor and Kansas State.

But it’s hard to see how the Horned Frogs win this game unless OSU helps out. TCU has 40 points, total, in its last three games. Oklahoma State has 92 points in its last two.

Even a good TCU defense isn’t going to be able to carry its offense as long as Oklahoma State avoids turnovers and penalties.

Cowboys 35, Horned Frogs 21

The links

• Enjoyed working on a story this week on Ry Schneider, the walk-on center who made his first career start against West Virginia. My story on his path from a family farm and the small town of Minco to the spotlight last weekend.

• It’s still football season, but it’s hard not to pay closer attention to basketball right now. Oklahoma State looked superb in blowing past Memphis, 84-64, in the Advocare Invitational on Thursday.

• That win sets up OSU for a matchup with defending national champion Villanova Friday morning. My scouting report on the Wildcats and an OSU-Nova prediction.

• More news from Thanksgiving: Former OSU receiver Jalen McCleskey announced he will spend his final season at Tulane, where his dad is on the staff.

• Houston or Memphis? A look at the potential bowl destinations for Oklahoma State with a game to go.

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