The Sooners kicked off Big 12 play today, and they did it in (some sort of) style. After an emotional roller coaster, the Sooners left victoriously. Here’s how it happened.
Oklahoma's first drive of their first conference game didn't start well. Baker Mayfield, after a non-conference schedule that saw him criticized for mistakes when he tried to do too much, fumbled on an early sack. TCU took advantage immediately, scoring a touchdown on their next play. After a season of early heartbreak, it seemed that the Sooners could be in for more of the same.
Oklahoma failed to score on their next drive, too, and were forced to give TCU the ball back. Luckily, the OU defense did something it hadn't done all season: forced an interception. Steven Parker picked off Kenny Hill and took it back to inside TCU's twenty-yard-line.
The following drive, Oklahoma gained some of its spark back, with Mayfiled marching in for a touchdown that featured him roughing up the TCU defender (admittedly well after the play was over).
The next drive for the Horned Frogs saw the Sooner defense look like it's looked too often this season: out of position. TCU completed a long pass to take them into Oklahoma territory. Then, Oklahoma trait of some bad-memories-past reared its ugly head: absurdly soft cushions. Oklahoma's weak defense allowed TCU to get into good position, and a roll-out by Hill put Oklahoma down 14-7.
After another failed drive by the Sooners, TCU took the ball back again and exposed yet another historic flaw of the Oklahoma defense: bad tackling. Three Sooners whiffed on a screen pass, and Parker, a hero a few drives ago, seemed lost near the end zone and made no real attempt at a tackle. The result was a botched play and an easy touchdown for TCU. TCU 21-7.
Then, finally, Oklahoma started to show signs of what it can become. A seven play, 75-yard drive ended with another Mayfield run for a touchdown, taking the Sooners to within seven. Solid defense gave Oklahoma the ball right back, and Oklahoma took advantage. Samaje Perine took an eight-yard rush into the end zone to tie the game, 21-21.
The Sooner defense looked like it might break and allow TCU to regain the lead, but Oklahoma held on fourth down and forced a turnover on downs after Hill's pass was knocked down at the line. OU's offense backed up the defense two plays later, with a flea-flicker play from Mayfiled to Dede Westbrook going 67 yards for an easy Oklahoma touchdown. A much maligned Oklahoma defense turned around again the next drive and forced another third-and-out, and Mayfield hit Westbrook in stride once again, this time putting the biscuit in the basket.
Oklahoma now held a 14-point-lead, and after another third-and-out for TCU, it looked like the Sooners were going to break the dam and let the points flow. Mayfiled would fumble for the second time, though, and TCU was able to kick a field goal before the half ended. Still, a game that saw the Sooners down by as much as 14 now saw them lead 35-24.
Oklahoma scored to start the second half, taking the game to 42-24. After forcing a TCU third-and-out, Oklahoma cruised down to another touchdown, seemingly ending the game at 49-24. The dam that was cracking before Mayfield fumbled to end the first half was now full on destroyed. Oklahoma was dominant, imposing their will on a TCU team that seemed hopelessly outmatched.
Then the fourth quarter started.
With their first drive that seeped into the fourth quarter, Kenny Hill found Taj Williams for a 64-yard touchdown. Oklahoma punted five plays later, and TCU drove down the field with a ten-play drive for another touchdown. After a third-and-out for Oklahoma, Hill found Williams again, this time for 74 yards. Following the two-point-conversion, TCU brought the game to within three. 49-46.
The crowd in Fort Worth was back in the game. Oklahoma's backs were now up against the wall, even though they held a three point lead. They marched admirably down the field, until A.D. Miller dropped an easy third-down pass. Oklahoma settled for a field goal, taking the score to 52-46.
The next drive would determine everything. After a false start penalty, the Sooners forced a big Kenny Hill mistake--an intentional grounding call that set the Horned Frogs back to second-and-25. One one short completion and one sack, TCU faced a fourth down that would seal their fate. On fourth-and-20, Hill sailed a pass incomplete, and Oklahoma took a few knees to end an up-and-down victory.
They looked terrible at times, and almost perfect at times. Regardless of the fashion, Oklahoma went into Fort Worth and left with the win, taking the Sooners to 1-0 in conference.