Oklahoma’s 2012 season couldn’t have ended much more appropriately than it did Saturday in Fort Worth.
The Sooners did their fair share to keep the TCU Horned Frogs in the game. OU alternated between playing brilliantly and cluelessly. Texas Christian nearly stole the game away in the fourth quarter with some late heroics. Yet, when the final gun went off, the Sooners had again held on for a 24-17 win.
After two consecutive close shaves versus Oklahoma State and West Virginia, the Sooners’ play was ragged throughout the contest. Senior quarterback Landry Jones, playing in his final regular season game for the Crimson and Cream, struggled to find his rhythm. He completed just 22 of his 40 pass attempts and threw his once-per-game horrendous interception, which set up a short touchdown run for TCU.
Instead of working the Horned Frogs through the air, OU’s running game had a greater impact on the game than any other this year. The Sooners netted 177 yards rushing on the day, the most TCU has allowed all season. Their average of 5.5 yards per rushing attempt was the most allowed by the Horned Frogs this year, too.
Nearly 115 of those yards belonged to dinged-up tailback Damien Williams, who added another 39 yards receiving and two touchdowns for good measure.
Defensively, facing TCU had to feel like a Swedish massage compared to the previous three weeks. The Horned Frogs played at a deliberate pace with heavy usage of zone read calls and jet sweeps in an effort to keep the D honest. Surprisingly, Oklahoma’s defensive line more than held its own, frequently disrupting TCU in the backfield and forcing the Horned Frogs into unmanageable 3rd-and-long situations.
When offensive coordinator Jarrett Anderson opened up the attack in the second half, Oklahoma’s defense loosened up a bit and gave quarterback Trevone Boykin opportunities move the ball through the air. That included an 80-yard touchdown strike to one-time Oklahoma verbal commitment Brandon Carter.
The theme down the stretch for OU this year has been the team’s intestinal fortitude, though, and while the Sooner D wasn’t exactly dominant Saturday afternoon, the players made enough plays late in the game to keep the Horned Frogs out of the end zone to preserve the victory. None was more timely than the pass broken up in the end zone by Julian Wilson and Tony Jefferson on TCU’s final play.
After the game, the Sooners celebrated winning a share of the Big 12 title. Conference rules dictate that OU and Kansas State split the crown. Given KSU’s head-to-head win over the Sooners, the Wildcats have a legitimate argument that they alone deserve to be called champions.
I doubt any of OU’s players give a damn, nor should they.
The highly touted Sooner team of 2011 faded down the stretch, and major questions surrounded the program in the offseason. When all was said and done, the 2012 team only lost regular-season games to the No. 1 and No. 6 teams in the country. In running up a 10-2 record, these Sooners showed a sense of resiliency missing from the OU program for too long.
If this season proved anything, it’s that Oklahoma still has a ways left to go before it can return to being a perennial national championship contender. However, it would be hard to argue that this particular team didn’t max out its potential. I’ll take that over a more talented squad that checks out on the season any day.