I don’t believe in momentum in sports – that nebulous cliche sportscasters love to invoke when a team is mounting a comeback or teetering on the edge of blowing out an opponent. However, heading into halftime of the Big 12 title game, TCU clearly built up some confidence that it could take down Oklahoma.
After falling behind 17-0 almost immediately, the Horned Frogs clawed their way back to within a touchdown of the Sooners at the end of the second quarter. They also started the second half with the ball.
I can’t be the only member of Sooner Nation who feared that OU had again let up too early in what should have been a runaway. A nail-biter felt like a certainty.
Instead, Oklahoma immediately erased any thought that we were heading for a barn-burner.
TCU went three and out on its first possession of the third quarter. Baker Mayfield tossed a 55-yard TD to Mykel Jones on the next play.
The Sooners stoned TCU’s fourth-down conversion attempt on the ensuing drive. OU proceeded to find the end zone in two plays, ending with a 52-yard scoring strike from Mayfield to Hollywood Brown five minutes into the third quarter.
That left the defending conference champs essentially waiting out the remaining 25 minutes to claim yet another Big 12 crown.
With all the talk this week about the wisdom of reinstituting a championship game, the situation was begging the sports gods to teach the Big 12 brass a lesson at OU’s expense. Plenty of times in the last 20 years, the Sooners have crumbled in these spots. Not this team, though, and that says a lot about why it is gunning for OU’s eighth national championship.
Other thoughts from the Big 12 title game:
*This was not TCU offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie's best day. Kenny Hill actually played well, but that didn't stop him from committing the mortal sins of quarterbacking that we've come to expect from him. Cumbie put too much of the game on Hill's arm and not enough on the Horned Frogs' ground attack.
*Nice to see Parnell Motley back. He'd get my game ball.
*It felt as though Mayfield locked on to Mark Andrews a bit in the passing game, especially in the first half. Can't complain too much about the results, but he missed a few open receivers in the process. (I feel like I've written "he missed a few open receivers" about Mayfield every week – time to maybe treat that as a feature and not a bug.)
*If I told you that OU banged out more than five yards per carry yesterday, would you believe me? It certainly didn't seem as though the Sooners got the ground game rolling, but they still ended up with a productive day from the rushing attack.
*Considering that Kavontae Turpin went 52 yards with the only punt he got his hands on, Austin Seibert's ability to force touchbacks on kickoffs was invaluable.
*Ruffin McNeill giving Lincoln Riley a game ball is everything, man.
*I figured freshman running back Trey Sermon would offer OU a competent receiver out of the backfield. I've still been blown away by the catches he has made this year.
*OU's tackling in space – and in general – stays awful. Bag on Mike Stoops' schemes all you want; cleaning up the tackling would make a big difference in the performance of the defense.