OU nabbed a critical road win to open Big 12 play, and it’s hard to knock any kind of a win after the disappointing performances versus Houston and Ohio State.
At 2-2 on the season, OU will be facing must-win games pretty much every week from here on, but it’s hard to explain how critical a win over Texas is needed to stabilize OU’s image and recruiting momentum. Although the Sooners got burned by the Ohio State game, OU will likely provide tickets/unofficial invites to the Cotton Bowl for Dallas-area commitments and targets from the 2017 and 2018 classes.
OU’s running attack
The Sooners put up nearly 300 yards on Gary Patterson's defensive scheme, which is predicated on stopping the run. Samaje Perine looked closer to his previous form than what we had seen earlier this season, and Joe Mixon had another very good day running and catching the ball out of the backfield. Sprinkle in some timely run plays by Baker Mayfield in the red zone, and it was a very good rushing effort.
Forty carries for Perine/Mixon and 250 yards should be a baseline target for OU in every game from here on out.
Despite dealing with some injuries, OU's offensive line was able to push around TCU’s front to open the holes for those rushing yards. For the most part, the OL gave Baker the time needed in the passing game, too.
When OU was not running on TCU, Mayfield was passing to Westbrook for touchdowns against the TCU secondary. He’s no Sterling Shepard, but it was nice a No. 1 receiver-type effort.
His best game of the season with effective punts and a a clutch field goal in the fourth quarter to give OU a six-point lead.
For the most part, the Sooners' front had a positive game, stopping the run and putting pressure on Kenny Hill. Ogbonnia Okoronkwo got a pair of sacks, and the Sooner defensive ends knocked down a number of passes.
Charles Walker and Matt Romar appear to rounding into form. Jordan Wade is playing at a high level, and now with Romar back, he’s playing less, but more effectively. Even Austin Roberts and Neville Gallimore were making plays on Saturday.
The Mostly Good
Defense in second and third quarters
Best level of effort we have seen from the Sooner defense this year. Players were flying around and making tackles for loss. Passes were actually defended.
Sure, there were a number of breakdowns that TCU failed to exploit – sometimes from OU's pressure and other times just bad execution by TCU.
But for the first time this season, you saw a glimmer of defensive hope and, maybe, incremental improvement. OU’s defense even won the key final possession in the fourth quarter.
The Very Bad
Defense in first and fourth quarters
The effort in the first quarter and fourth quarter was just awful. Not getting lined up or not being interested in tackling seemed to be the first quarter's major issue. The fourth quarter breakdowns with a 49-24 lead were just baffling. How do you not have depth in coverage to stop the big play? Twice, OU allowed home run shots when all the Sooners needed to do was force TCU to burn some clock driving the field.
The Mostly Bad
OU had three attempts to put away TCU in the fourth quarter and was not able to sustain any momentum. OU wasn't able to run the ball when TCU over-committed to the run, and the offense was unable to piece together some passing plays to move the chains.
I’m not sure run-run-run was the answer, but the Sooners did seem to get very conservative after they had previously been moving the ball at will. Of course, the bombs being thrown by TCU’s offense certainly energized a previously beaten TCU defense.
Targeting hit on Joe Mixon
What a load of bush league crap.
That’s two years in a row where a TCU player has obviously targeted the head of OU’s best playmaker. TCU seems to be ready to take over for Baylor as the kings of person fouls/targeting.