NORMAN – The complete performance that had eluded Oklahoma since a September trip to Columbus, Ohio, finally arrived. The Sooners walloped No. 6 TCU, 38-20, Saturday night in a game that was not nearly as close as the score indicated. Against the top defense in the conference, and the top rushing defense in the country, the Sooners scored 38 in the first half. That’s 11 more than the Frogs had given up in their last four games combined. And, while Kenny Hill is not Mason Rudolph, the Sooners’ insertion of three true freshmen into the starting secondary paid immediate dividends, as the defense looked like an actual defense for once. While we did not make a count, we would venture to say that there may have been as many passes broken up by defensive backs in this game as in any all season, maybe in any two games all season.
Baker Mayfield made the Heisman a foregone conclusion, as it really probably already was, throwing for 333 yards and 3 TDs on 18-27 passing. He threw for 299 in the first half alone, and the Sooners took the air out of the ball in the second half, running clock and only throwing the ball six times after the break. Mayfield also added 50 yards rushing. Rodney Anderson shredded the Frogs both on the ground and through the air, accounting for 151 yards rushing and 2 TDs one 23 carries and leading the Sooners in receiving with five catches for 139 yards and another pair of TDs.
The Sooners held TCU three-and-out on the first series of the game, helped by a stupid personal foul penalty. For once, it was the other guys that had a case of the dumbs Saturday night. After a TCU punt, the Sooners took over on the Frog 44 after a nice return by CeeDee Lamb. Three plays later, Mayfield snuck for three on fourth and one for a first down at the TCU 35. OU couldn’t move it from there, though, and Austin Seibert, who is quietly having an outstanding year, hit a career-long 49-yard field goal to make it 3-0.
TCU would quickly answer. Hill hit Kyle Hicks for 62 yards on the next play to the Sooner 13. The Frogs took it in from there on the next play, and just like that, it was 7-3 Frogs, still with 10:54 to play in the first quarter. It was the last lead they would hold on the evening.
OU took over on their 21 after the kickoff. The big play of the ensuing drive was a 46-yard connection from Mayfield to Lamb on third and three that gave the Sooners a first down at the TCU 26. Two plays later, Mayfield hit Mark Andrews for 11 yards to the 15. Anderson took it in untouched on the next play to make it 10-7 Sooners with 8:41 to play in the first quarter.
TCU would move to the OU eight-yard line on their next possession. However, a 30-yard field goal attempt by their backup kicker was wide, and the Sooner lead remained at 10-7.
Mayfield would hit Anderson for 46 yards to the Frog 31, then connected with Mykel Jones for 18 more. Two plays later, Mayfield hit Grant Calcaterra with a precision pass over two defenders in the back of the end zone for the TD. OU led 17-7 with 3:54 to play in the first quarter.
TCU would pick up one first down on their next possession before punting. OU took over on their own 23. They would not pick up a first down. After an exchange of punts, the Sooners had it on their own 31. A personal foul for kicking got a TCU defender ejected and gave the Sooners a first down at their 46.. Anderson then carried for 30 yards and 24 yards on consecutive plays, and it was 24-7 with 11:45 to play in the first half.
TCU would use a 56-yard kickoff return for a short, 44-yard TD drive to cut the Sooner lead to 24-14. On the ensuing drive, Mayfield hit Anderson for 24 yards and Andrews for 21 to take it to the Frog 19. Two plays later, Mayfield dumped it to Anderson, who pinballed in from 14 yards out to make it 31-14 with 5:29 to play in the first half.
TCU moved to the Sooner 38 on their next possession, but were forced to punt. OU took over on their own 13 with only 1:16 to play in the first half. It looked like they would just run out the clock when they ran into the line for five yards and let 30 seconds run off the clock before running the next play. Lincoln Riley was sandbagging, however, as Mayfield hit Marquise Brown with a 50-yard bomb to the TCU 32. Two plays later, Mayfield hit Anderson down the seam for a 33-yard TD with only seven seconds left in the first half. It was 38-14 at halftime, and was all over but the shouting.
The second half was one of the most boring in recent memory, and we loved every bit of it. The Sooners imposed their will on TCU throughout, and took the air out of the ball to shorten the game. TCU would add a single TD in the fourth quarter, but were never able to challenge the Sooners.
Now, a win in Lawrence clinches the Big 12 title game, most likely against TCU again. When the CFP rankings are announced on Tuesday, the Sooners will be solidly in the top four, after Georgia and Notre Dame got routed on Saturday. It says here that the Sooners will be second behind Alabama, but it could be third. It really doesn’t matter. OU has the best set of wins in the country this season – three wins over current top 15 CFP teams, two of them on the road. Win out, and we’re in the Playoff.
If you have the means, get thee to Lawrence on Saturday at 2:30. The locals will not be there, of that you can be assured, and tickets will be cheap and plentiful. Let’s turn Lawrence red. See you there.