But when five of the top eight teams lose in a week, well, all bets are off right now. OU could have made its life easier with a win in Fort Worth. Instead, it will be a long road back to try to earn one of those four spots in the college football playoff.
So what went wrong for the Sooners?
TCU 37, OU 33
Across the board on this one. With two weeks to prepare for this game, OU looked completely out of whack on several occasions. Missed assignments on defense leading to wide open receivers for TCU. Trevor Knight looking like he had never thrown to some of his receivers before in his life prior to the game. Coaches unsure of alignment as so many times OU had guys running on/off the field at last second. Changing plays with less than 10 seconds left on the clock. Sooners with no timeouts in the final four minutes in a four-point game. A comedy of errors that hadn’t been seen from OU all season.
Third down defense
Every week it’s a point of emphasis, but you knew especially in this one how crucial third down stops were going to be against Trevone Boykin. OU held its own in the second half, but Sooners defense had no answer for TCU in the first half. TCU was 6-of-7 on third down conversions in the first quarter. Four of those were at least third-and-six or longer. For the game, TCU ended up 10 of 18 on third down conversions. OU did eventually figure it out on defense but second game in a row where the first half was simply full of too many plays for the opposition.
Always a fine line when it comes to this. Without Keith Ford once again, OU decided to alternate between Samaje Perine and Alex Ross until about midway through the third quarter. Perine obviously needs his rest, but Ross just didn’t have it in this one. Ross finished with four yards on four carries. OU called 12 of 13 passing plays spanning the third and fourth quarter when it was clear it just wasn’t Knight’s night in Fort Worth. Bob Stoops said the loss had nothing to do with play calling but awfully tough to defend that passing line when Knight only finished 14 of 35 for the game.
Receivers didn’t step up
It’s something wide receivers coach Jay Norvell preaches every time he addresses the media about his receivers making the competitive plays. Knight struggled, for sure, but some of that was because OU receivers didn’t get open or win those one-on-one battles against a talented TCU secondary. Sterling Shepard had seven catches for 215 yards but had half of OU’s completions. One player cannot have half of a team’s completions and expect to be successful against a quality team like TCU. Durron Neal had four coaches, while nobody else had more than one.
Defense was tentative
Not bad, necessarily, but gun shy. The confidence OU showed against Tennessee a mere three weeks ago looked gone. OU wasn’t bringing the pressure but also didn’t really stop Boykin. He finished with 318 passing yards and 77 rushing yards, 395 total yards of offense. It wasn’t like a spy kept him from making huge plays. As good quarterbacks will do when given time, Boykin was able to find his receivers as OU’s secondary couldn’t contain the Frogs bevy of targets. Add in a lot of missed tackles and clear OU’s defense, though spectacular at times, still a long way from where Mike Stoops would like it.
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