The Sooner the Better

It was a battle of defenses in Norman with the Sooners coming out on top. Photo Courtesy: Kent Gilley
It was a battle of defenses in Norman with the Sooners coming out on top. Photo Courtesy: Kent Gilley

By Will Martin

2013 has not begun in the manner that TCU Frogs coach Gary Patterson would have preferred. Falling behind in matches against LSU, Texas Tech, SE Louisiana and now Oklahoma.

Three teams with a combined 15-1 record. One thing TCU was not anticipating was being held to seven straight three and outs to start the game (ten straight if you include what the Sooners did with Notre Dame).

Not reaching the 50 yard line or getting a first down until 8:34 in the third quarter are not recipes for success if you are TCU.

“I don’t think that’s ever happened, anyone that I’ve been a part of,” Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said of his defense’s first-half outing. “They played sensational. The guys were really aggressive, fast, played the run, played the pass really well. Otherwise, the way we were struggling offensively, if we weren’t playing that strong defense, it would have been tough to win.”

Held to only 210 total yards offensively and only 44 rushing yards TCU was completely shutout in the first half before showing signs of life late in the second half after falling into a 13-0 hole.

“We have to find a way to win a game,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said. “Give Oklahoma a lot of credit first half. No first downs. Physically outmatched us in the first half. In the second half, we had to find a way to win and we put ourselves in position. All three losses that we’ve had, we’ve been in position to win ball games.”

In what truly proved to be a defensive battle Oklahoma-averaging 256 yards a game on offense for the season-was held to only 203 by the Fogs defense.

“We knew it would be tough,” Stoops said. “I thought their guys, particularly defensively, really did an excellent job.”

Oklahoma (5-0 2-0 Big 12) got on the board first with an 11 play 42 yard drive that ended with a Michael Hunnicut field goal in the first period. That lead would increase to 10-0 when Trey Millard would rush for an 8-yard touchdown capping an 13 play 84 yard drive. A 29-yard Hunnicutt field goal capped the scoring at the half 13-0 Oklahoma.

In the second half TCU forced a turnover that would produce a 25-yard field goal by Jaden Oberkrom. A drive that was 12 plays and used up over seven minutes of time on the clock.

Able to recover an onside kick TCU capitalized to make the game close at 13-10 with a 6 play, 35 yard drive with a Trevone Boykin 2-yard plunge for a score. The Horned Frogs did their job defensively in not allowing a Sooner first down in the second half until 10:54 left in the game.

After an exchange of punts Oklahoma would get the ball on their own 18 with 5:30 left. Senior Brennan Clay would bounce ahead for a gain of six before exploding for a 76-yard touchdown run and a 20-10 lead. Clay would finish with 9 rushes and 111 yards.

Trevone Boykin would find David Porter for a 45-yard completion that was instrumental in Boykin’s second touchdown from 8 yards to make for a 20-17 game. That would be your final as Bob Stoops reached the 5-0 mark for the 8th time in Norman, Blake Bell ran out the clock for the win, and Gary Patterson could once again ponder, ‘What If?’

“We missed four tackles,” Patterson said. “We even went back to last year. Their first third-and-1, they had not run their big set. We actually prepared for it on Thursday because I really felt just listening they were going to try something different. They came out and that’s what they ran. And we didn’t move our linebackers over like we were supposed to. At some point in time you have to be able to execute the game plan.”

Oklahoma in getting to 5-0 did a better job of rushing for 203 yards while TCU was held to 44. Neither Blake Bell (20-31 152) nor Trevone Boykin (16-26 166) would find the end zone or throw a pick. Both did just enough to keep their teams in the game.

Next week in Dallas about 11 am will be hotspots as Texas and OU will continue their Red River Rivalry and Kansas will make the trek to Ft. Worth for what should be an amazing matchup at Amon Carter Stadium. All that needs to be answered is whether or not TCU will get off to a good start. It hasn’t happened in five games so far.

Me thinks Texas and Kansas might be in for long afternoons…