ARLINGTON, TX – Oklahoma has never lost a rematch. Not in the Orange Bowl against Nebraska, not in the three rematches in the first incarnation of the Big 12 Championship Game, and for sure not Saturday against TCU in JerryWorld. Baker Mayfield and the Sooners put the lie to TCU’s nonsense about having “shut down” the Sooners in the second half of last month’s rout in Norman, pounding the Frogs 41-17. The win secured the Sooners’ second three-peat Big 12 Championship and a spot in the College Football Playoff. It says here that the Sooners will play Georgia in the Rose Bowl on 1/1/18 for a shot at the national championship.
Mayfield, who will get a nice bronze trophy in New York City next Saturday, went 15-23 for 243 yards and four TDs, as well as running for 65 yards, including a career-long 54-yard jaunt. Mark Andrews led the Sooner receivers with seven catches for 58 yards and a pair of TDs, while Marquise Brown had three catches for 87 yards and a TD. Mikel Jones added three catches for 67 yards and a TD. Rodney Anderson again led the Sooners in rushing with 24 carries for 93 yards. Trey Sermon had 10 carries for 63 yards, mostly in the fourth quarter, when the Sooners were running out the clock.
After TCU won the toss and deferred, the Sooners took the opening kickoff and started the game on their own 25. Anderson ran for four, and after an incomplete pass, Mayfield hit Jones for eight and a first down. Anderson ran for four, then Andrews caught one for nine. Three plays later, the Sooners faced fourth and two from the Frog 42. Mayfield appeared to fake a busted handoff, then pitched to Anderson for 12 yards and a first down at the TCU 30. The drive stalled from there, though, and Austin Seibert’s 41-yard field goal made it 3-0 with 10:30 to play in the first quarter.
On TCU’s first play of the ensuing possession, Kyle Hicks had the ball knocked out of his hands by Kenneth Murray. Caleb Kelly scooped and scored from the TCU 18, and the Sooners were up 10-0, just like that. TCU moved the ball into Sooner territory on their next possession, but stalled at the OU 46 and punted the Sooners down to their own 19.
After Anderson ran for two then lost four, the Sooners faced third and 12 from their own 17. Mayfield then hit Brown on a tunnel screen, and Brown spun and broke tackles for a 29-yard gain. Anderson ran for five, Mayfield connected with Andrews for four, then Mayfield kept for six and a first down. Mayfield then hit Dmitri Flowers for 18 yards, followed by a pass to Sermon for 13 more. The Sooners had a first and goal at the TCU eight-yard-line. Two plays later, Mayfield threw it to Andrews again for five yards and a TD. It was 17-0 with 2:29 to go in the first quarter.
TCU would answer on their next possession, using a 29-yard TD pass on third and 15 to close to within 17-7. On the first play of the ensuing possession, Mayfield rambled 54 yards up the middle to the TCU 30. Anderson carried for nine on the next play, then things went sideways. Mayfield was stripped of the ball on the next play, and although Dru Samia recovered, it was a loss of five. Andrews failed to make what would have been a very nice TD catch on the next play, and a Seibert field goal try from 43 yards was wide left.
TCU closed the gap again on the next possession. A 12-yard TD pass was
originally called incomplete, then reversed on replay. It says here that the ball moved when the receiver hit the ground, and it wasn’t a catch, but they don’t take our opinion into account. The score made it 17-14 with 7:44 to play in the first half.
Jeff Badet returned the ensuing kickoff to the OU 34, and a face mask flag moved it to the OU 49. Anderson ran for 10, then Andrews caught one for 13 more. Three plays later, the Sooners faced fourth and one from the TCU 19. After a Sooner time out, the Frogs jumped offside and gave OU a first down. Mayfield ran for seven yards, then the Sooners called the same play, which only gained one. Mayfield then hit Andrews between three defenders for a TD that made it 24-14 with 3:45 to play in the second quarter.
TCU moved to the Sooner nine-yard-line on the next possession, but ran out of time. They settled for a 26-yard field goal, and the teams went to the half with the score 24-17, and TCU getting the ball coming out of the locker room.
Things did not go the Frogs’ way in the second half. They went three and out, and a short punt gave the Sooners the ball at their own 45. On the first offensive play of the second half, Mayfield connected with a wide-open Jones down the left side for 55 yards and a TD that made it 31-17 only 31 seconds into the second half.
TCU would move the ball to the Sooner 41 on the ensuing possession. Facing fourth and one from there, they called a naked bootleg that Parnell Motley and Obo Okoronkwo stoned at the line of scrimmage for no gain. The Sooners took over on downs at their own 41.
After Anderson ran for seven yards, Mayfield hit a bomb to Brown down the right side for 52 yards and a TD. The score was 38-17 with 10:41 to play in the third quarter, and the game was effectively over.
After an exchange of punts, Will Johnson picked off Kenny Hill and returned it to the TCU 12. That led to another Seibert field goal with 2:14 to play in the third quarter that forged the final score of 41-17.
The game sort of fizzled out from there, as the Sooners ran clock and the Frogs couldn’t do much on offense. OU took over with eight minutes left in the game and ran out the clock with a 12-play drive, and the Sooners had their 11th Big 12 title, their third in a row, and a sure spot in the College Football Playoff for the second time in three years.
When the final CFP rankings come out in a few hours, Clemson will be #1, the Sooners will be #2, and Georgia will be #3. Although it wouldn’t surprise us if Georgia were #2, because the committee doesn’t seem to like us much. In the end, whether we are #2 or #3 only makes a difference as to what color jerseys we wear in Pasadena. As for #4, we are hoping it will be Ohio State, if only to piss Alabama fans off. It doesn’t really matter otherwise.
No matter who we play, we are almost assuredly going to the Rose Bowl. If you have the ability, you should be there. OU has only played in the Rose Bowl once, and it was the coolest setting for a game that we have ever experienced, which is saying something. Two more games between us and #8. See you in Southern California.