OU’s 52-46 win over TCU had a little bit of everything.
At times, the Sooners looked clueless on defense. The D was locked in for stretches, too.
The offense made some brutal mistakes. There were also enough flashes of brilliance to remember why OU was so highly regarded before the season started.
However, the real story of this game for the Sooners started playing out near the end of the first quarter. The Horned Frogs went up 21-7 on a long catch-and-run play in which OU’s defenders appeared only mildly interested in bringing down TCU running back Kyle Hicks. The effort and body language of the team, particularly on D, just looked atrocious.
After that, something clicked. I have no idea what might account for the change, but it was dramatic. The Sooners grabbed a lead with 42-3 run and didn’t look back. They played nearly flawless ball on both sides for a stretch of two quarters.
Mike Stoops cut the defense loose. Lincoln Riley leaned more on Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine. Baker Mayfield completed some shots downfield.
Whatever it was, it might have saved OU’s season from going way off the rails.
The meltdown in the fourth quarter undoubtedly changed the final analysis of this game. The Sooners nearly gagged away what looked like a comfortable win with 15 minutes left in the game. If nothing else, the almost collapse adds to the questions about the team’s composure and leadership. And, of course, cornerback remains a yuuuge problem.
Yet, looking at the remaining eight games on OU’s schedule, the positives to be taken from the win outweighed the negatives.
*Take a look at everyone missing from the lineup on Saturday:
- Jonathan Alvarez
- Matt Dimon
- Tay Evans
- Parrish Cobb
- Will Johnson
- D.J. Ward
OU also lost starting left guard Cody Ford in the previous game against Ohio State.
Missing that many contributors and still coming away with a road win has to count for something, right?
*That right cornerback spot… Nightmare fuel for Mike Stoops. The fact that defensive backs coach Kerry Cooks can’t find someone to hold down the job means that just about every game left on OU’s schedule is a potential L.
It sounds as though he has missed a ton of practice time so far this year, but maybe they should find out if Jordan Parker is the answer?
*The shorthanded defensive line more than held up its end of the bargain Saturday. Charles Walker gave the blockers across from him the blues all game. Jordan Wade and Matt Romar stood their ground. Austin Roberts was active, notching six total tackles.
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo probably had the best game of any of the guys up front, though. He had some timely pressures on Kenny Hill, including two sacks, while coming from his JACK spot. He generally set the edge well against the run, too.
Bottom line: Obo is turning into a legitimate disruptor on D.
*All in all, Mayfield had a strong outing. His propensity to turn the ball over is turning into a serious issue, however. After coughing it up twice against the Horned Frogs, he now has five turnovers in four games.
*It seemed as though Riley made more of a concerted effort to get the ball in Dede Westbrook’s hands. It worked out well: seven receptions for 158 yards and two touchdowns.
The first three games of the season illustrated how much OU was missing a go-to receiver following the departure of Sterling Shepard. Westbrook isn’t in that class, but he’s growing into a dependable No. 1 wideout who can beat coverage vertically and keep the chains moving on short and intermediate routes.
*I think Gary Patterson had plenty of reason to be hacked off about the officiating in this game. I also can't blame him for feeling a little salty about the things Mayfield has said about him. Marrying the two in a postgame diatribe strikes me as pretty odd, though. Also kinda asshole-ish.