It wasn't always pretty, but behind a long forgotten run game Oklahoma emerges from Fort Worth victorious.
It may not have been the "hair on fire" type of offense we've seen in recent weeks, but the reemergence of the run game in this Oklahoma offense was a very welcome sign. In a hard fought game, against a very good TCU defense, Damien Williams was the difference maker.
It wasn't just on his 66-yard touchdown run either. Without all of those shorter runs, like the ones for multiple first downs when the Sooners were looking to burn some clock, who knows if Oklahoma wins this game. As a facet of the offense that has struggled all season and a player still fighting his way through an ankle injury, Williams' performance Saturday in Fort Worth could not have come at a better time.
Brennan Clay was effective on the ground as well, even in only receiving a modest six carries. However, he tallied 47 yards on those six carries for a near eight yard average.
Landry Jones was not as good as he's been in the last three games, but to be fair that was a ridiculous standard he set to begin with. Finishing 22-for-40 with 244 yards, two touchdowns, and one really bad interception, Jones was more good than great. However, he made a number of throws in big spots, most notably that 3rd & 23 touchdown throw to Jalen Saunders, that should not be overlooked (but probably will). It was the final regular season game of the fifth year senior's career and while there was never a chance he'd appease all his critics, he came out victorious and I'd venture to guess that is all he cares about.
Surprsingly, a pretty pedestrian performance for an Oklahoma wide receiver unit that had been playing as well, if not better, than any in the entire country. Most notably was Kenny Stills finishing with just two catches for 16 yards. He and Jones really never looked in sync with Jones missing him on multiple occasions and Stills dropping at least one likely touchdown pass.
Saunders was the only to crack the 100 yard mark and frankly the only one to even come close. No other receiver finished with more than 30 yards in this game. Part of that was a TCU defense that did what everyone has done against Oklahoma this year, in that they play their safeties deep and force Jones to take the underneath routes. The difference being in this game TCU missed very few tackles, so the yards to be gained after reception were few and far between.
The frustration with this offense, at least for this writer, continues to be the herky-jerkiness of it, if that's an actual phrase. At times, like today, when the run game is actually working, Josh Heupel would then inexplicably call for passes on three or four consecutive downs. There seems to be very little feel with respect to his play calling and keeping this offense in rhythm. Which probably sounds ridiculous coming off what the OU offense did against Baylor, West Virginia, and Oklahoma State but are any of those a team with a legitimate defense? Not saying Heupel only gets the blame and none of the credit, but this is also about more than just one game.
Regardless, that is obviously not changing this year (or maybe ever, cue the uncontrollable sobbing) so no use in crying over spilt milk as they say. As it is, Oklahoma went on the road and gutted out a win against a pretty good TCU team.
And now we can only wait to determine our BCS bowl future.