The Sooners were not only looking to get a win over a gutsy TCU team on Saturday, but also make a statement to the College Football Playoff committee that seems to be undervaluing them this season.
For about 20 minutes of game time it looked like that’s exactly what was unfolding, but then the final 40 minutes took place.
The Sooners were hosting the Horned Frogs on brisk Senior Night in Norman. But there was nothing brisk about the start to this game for Lincoln Riley’s offense, which jumped out to a 21-0 lead by early in the second quarter.
Jalen Hurts found the end zone on the opening drive with a seven-yard run to make it 7-0. On their next drive, Hurts found Brayden Willis for a 20-yard score and then the Sooners followed that drive up with 10 plays for 81 yards, capped off with a five-yard hook up between Hurts and CeeDee Lamb.
However, TCU almost pulled off against Oklahoma what Oklahoma did to Baylor the prior week in Waco. Come back from down more than 20 points in the first half.
It started off harmlessly enough when the Horned Frogs finally found the end zone on a three-play drive highlighted by Max Duggan’s 62-yard run and then Sewo Olonilua scored from one-yard out. On the next drive, OU wide receiver Jadon Haselwood fumbled and the Horned Frogs turned that into three points before halftime to trail 21-10 at the mid way point.
To start the second half, TCU forced a turnover on downs near midfield and then took the ball down the field with Duggan scoring on the ground from 11 yards out to pull TCU to within four points at 21-17. OU responded on the ground with Kennedy Brooks and Jalen Hurts splitting the carries on a six-play drive resulting in a touchdown after Hurts rushed from eight yards out to put OU back up by 11.
Two drives later, OU was looking to put this game away early in the fourth quarter, but Jalen Hurts was picked off by Vernon Scott, who took it 98 yards for a touchdown as the Horned Frogs cut it back to a four-point game, trailing 28-24.
On the very next drive, Jalen Hurts fumbled the ball inside the TCU 40-yard line and the Horned Frogs were able to recover after the strip by Nook Bradford.
With less than eight minutes to play, TCU couldn’t get anything going on that drive and had to punt it away. Then it was OU unable to convert a 4th and 1 from TCU’s 41-yard line and the Horned Frogs did had life down four with under three minutes left.
However it was the much-maligned former five-star prospect Brendan Radley-Hiles who intercepted Max Duggan on a 4th and 6 from the OU 40-yard line to nearly seal the win with under two minutes to play and TCU with still three time outs.
The Sooners were able to run out the clock after a controversial first-down was given to OU on a 4th and 1 to give Oklahoma the 28-24 victory.
Whether it was due to the chilly temperatures or a change in game plans for Lincoln Riley, while OU certainly has run the ball a ton this year, they went to the well even more on Saturday, with the Sooners running the ball 64 times for 366 yards, averaging 5.7 yards per carry.
Despite losing the turnover battle, the Sooners improved to 10-1 and are still alive for the College Football Playoff. OU will travel to Stillwater for Bedlam next week against Oklahoma State. Meantime TCU wraps up its season at home against West Virginia on Friday. With a win, TCU would become bowl eligible.
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