Oklahoma football: Lessons learned from statement win over TCU

NORMAN, OK - NOVEMBER 11: Tight end Grant Calcaterra
NORMAN, OK - NOVEMBER 11: Tight end Grant Calcaterra /
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NORMAN, OK – NOVEMBER 11: Running back Rodney Anderson
NORMAN, OK – NOVEMBER 11: Running back Rodney Anderson /

The best the Big 12 had to offer was on display Saturday night at the Oklahoma football Palace on the Plains.

Eight-five-thousand-plus fans were packed into Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium like sardines and their presence was widely heard and felt. Everything about this game was huge: co-leaders in the Big 12 standings, Oklahoma at No. 5 and TCU right behind at No. 6 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings and the consensus Heisman favorite Baker Mayfield leading the country’s No. 1 offense against one of the nation’s’ top-five defenses.

Oklahoma took command of the game early and kept its pedal to the metal the entire first half. The Sooners fell behind briefly when TCU, on its second possession covered 72 yards in two plays, the big chunk coming on a 62-yard pass play from quarterback Kenny Hill to Kyle Hicks, to go ahead 7-3.

That advantage lasted all of two minutes and 13 seconds, and would be the last lead TCU would hold in the game, as the Sooners countered with a six-play, 79-yard scoring drive of their own to regain the lead at 10-7. There was still 8:41 remaining in the first quarter, and already there had been three scoring drives in the game.

By now you know the rest. Oklahoma matched its 38-point first-half output of a week ago in the shootout at the O.K. State corral and held on in the second half for a 38-20 statement win over TCU that left the Sooners alone at the top of the Big 12 standings with two games to go in the regular season. It was OU’s fifth win over the Horned Frogs in six games as members of the Big 12.

Most  college football experts and handicappers around the country built up the game ahead of time as a classic matchup of Oklahoma’s great irresistible offense going up against TCU great immovable wall of a defense. The final analysis: The OU offense more than lived up to its greatness; TCU’s vaunted defensive prowess, not so much.

Some other observations and opinions about this game: