The No. 21 TCU Horned Frogs looked like they were going to make a statement against the Oklahoma Sooners when they sacked Baker Mayfield for a fumble on the opening drive. They soon shot out to an early 21-7 lead, but Mayfield would cut it in half with a nine-yard keeper early in the second quarter.
That’s where everything began to go wrong for the Frogs in this one, as the Sooners erupted for a 42-3 run that dashed any playoff aspirations for TCU going forward. The Frogs would not go down without mounting a furious comeback attempt, trailing by just three points in the final two minutes of the game. But Kenny Hill couldn’t find his man on fourth and long in the final minute, and the Frogs exited Amon G. Carter with a 52-46 loss to Oklahoma to move to 3-2 on the season.
“It was 21-7. Then [Oklahoma] reeled off 49, while we got one field goal. It was 24-49 before we started to play again,” said TCU head coach Gary Patterson. “We learned some lessons tonight, and they’ll watch the film tomorrow. You’ve got to give Oklahoma a lot of credit. They came into our house and beat us.”
THE FROGS KEEP SHOOTING THEMELVES IN THE FOOT – While it never felt that close after the first quarter, TCU only lost by six points in this contest. Take away that Hill interception in the first quarter, and the Sooners don’t get those seven points that ended up making the difference. Take away Isaiah Graham’s dropped pass and the Frogs have seven more points. Eliminate the false start at the end of the game and you aren’t going to be pressing for that first down only trailing by six points. Heck, all the Frogs really needed to do to win this one in hindsight was not get shout out in the 2nd quarter, or score more than three points in a span of 30 minutes for that matter. Instead, Gary Patterson’s squad is left with a lot of “what if”s leaving this one.
THE DEFENSE STILL HAS A LONG WAYS TO GO, AND THAT IS ALARMING – Scoring 46 points is great. Getting a sack and strip on the opening drive is also great. Allowing 52 points at home is not so great. Nor is allowing eight third down conversions and 260 rushing yards. The Frogs concerning secondary continued to get shredded with those two wide open touchdown passes to Dede Westbrook, each at least 40 yards, and too many times Baker Mayfield was able to take advantage of missed tackles to advance the ball. Certainly OU had the edge on size, but the defense proved it could hold the Sooners as it did early on and late. It faltered in the middle though, and that ended up being costly. The Frogs certainly have their two biggest size mismatches out of the way now, but you have to be concerned as they go on to face other high flying offenses in the heart of their Big 12 schedule.
KYLE HICKS HARDLY TOUCHED THE BALL IN THE MOST DESPERATE TIMES - When the Frogs first went into halftime trailing against the Sooners, you would have thought that Kyle Hicks was going to see a lot of action. His spectacular 61-yard touchdown in the first quarter was something from out of this world, and for a player that has caught for more than 200 yards in his last two performances combined as running back, that makes him a pretty valuable asset. Instead, Hicks only touched the ball twice in the third quarter, and TCU faced a 25-point deficit entering the fourth quarter. He would record a running touchdown late that made it an 11-point game, but the Frogs only recorded 65 rushing yards on the night, we are now all left wondering what the score have been if Hill and company had utilized Hicks out of halftime.
GARY PATTERSON WAS NOT A FAN OF THE OFFICIATING - The Frogs fell victim to a controversial intentional grounding call on their final drive of the game, costing them a down and putting them deep in their own territory needing a touchdown to win. Patterson was none too pleased with calls made against his team.
“It’s amazing, we can’t say anything but they (officials) can say whatever they want,” Patterson said. “I don’t really care if the commissioner doesn’t like what I think about the officials. Bottom line, I wasn’t happy. Not one time did we get a holding call.”
In total, the Frogs took nine penalties for 64 yards while the Sooners took just five for 54 yards.
KENNY HILL IS GETTING MORE COMFORTABLE THROWING DOWN FIELD - Okay, lets shift to the good news. Certainly Hill faltered on that final drive when he threw deep to nobody on fourth down, but we saw more big plays from him in this one that we haven’t been accustomed to thus far in the season. All but one of Hill’s passing touchdowns were at least 60 yards, including a 74-yard pass to Taj Williams late in the that brought the Frogs within a field goal of tying the Sooners. And for yet another time this year, Hill eclipsed the 400-yard mark in a single game, throwing for 449 yards on the day. Certainly the pick will haunt him, as will the two sacks, but you can’t complain about the way he played, especially considering the startling amount of dropped passes this receiving corps has.
Offense – Taj Williams: With 210 receiving yards and two touchdowns on the night, Taj Williams was the brightest light on TCU’s offense. He shredded the OU defense, averaging 42 yards over five receptions. His two touchdown receptions were for 64 and 74 yards respectively, and tonight Williams finally gave Hill the chance that he needed to get comfortable making those long down-field passes. Unfortunately, Williams’ efforts were not enough in this one, but the kid certainly has a bright future from what we saw tonight.
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Defense – Ty Summers: The leader in Big 12 tackles had yet another stellar performance, recording seven individual tackles and 13 total in the game. For a team that has had trouble making tackles this season, Patterson has to hope that others on a defense will be challenged to match Summers’ impressive stats. Again, not enough alone in this one, but inspiration has to start somewhere, and Ty might be the guy.