FORT WORTH, Texas — Big 12 defenses are on notice after Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State ended in a 62-52 shootout. However, TCU defensive back Niko Small believes the conference’s defenses are underrated because of the offenses they play.
“That’s like saying you’re not a good boxer because you lost to Mike Tyson in his prime,” Small said. “It’s kind of hard to take that away from you. There’s a lot of tough offenses [in the Big 12] that play hard and have great players as well.”
Small isn’t kidding. The Big 12 has four of the top nine offenses in America. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State come in at No. 1 and No. 2, with West Virginia and Texas Tech coming close behind. TCU also played SMU, which ranks No. 10.
But despite playing so many elite offenses, TCU ranks No. 6 nationally in total defense and No. 1 in rush defense. The S&P+ efficiency metric ranks them No. 3 overall defensively, behind only Washington and Alabama.
“We’ve had a tough schedule,” Small said. “We’ve faced three top 10 offenses, and this will be our fourth on Saturday. We like the challenge.”
However, things only get tougher on Saturday. Oklahoma leads the nation in total offense with 608.2 yards per game. TCU holds teams to just 284.1 yards per game of offense. Something has to give.
“I feel like I trust in my brothers and I trust in my team,” Small said about anyone who doubts their Big 12 defense. “We’ll see how you look at the end of the game.”
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