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The day started with comedian Jeff Foxworthy comparing TCU’s defense to Larry the Cable Guy’s underwear. Plenty of holes in both, Foxworthy quipped on ESPN’s College GameDay.
Well, Foxworthy looked like a football savant by the end of the night. No. 4 OU found and exposed enough of those holes and pulled away for a 52-31 victory over TCU on Saturday night at Gaylord Family — Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.
Sooners freshman quarterback Caleb Williams played with the poise of a veteran in his first college start, completing his first 10 passes and going on to finish 18 of 23 for 295 yards with four touchdowns. Williams’ first incompletion was a dropped TD pass by Austin Stogner in the first half.
“I don’t have an evaluation, but obviously he’s a good player,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said. “It would help if we had a guy run to the middle third when he was supposed to be in the middle third and give the guy help, twice. We just do our jobs. That’s who I’m in charge of, I’m not in charge of Oklahoma. I’m in charge of us. But he’s a good football player and I knew that before he came here.”
Another good player on Oklahoma (7-0, 4-0 Big 12) is junior running back Kennedy Brooks. The Mansfield High product finished with 153 yards rushing and one TD. Williams added 66 yards rushing and one TD himself. As a team, OU rushed for 230 yards, the fourth straight opponent to gain at least 200 yards on the ground against TCU.
But Patterson liked the “fight” the Frogs (3-3, 1-2 Big 12) showed throughout the night.
It looked like OU would run away with the game early on, jumping out to a 14-0 lead. The Sooners marched 75 yards in seven plays on the opening drive, including a 32-yard run by Brooks and then a 2-yard TD run by Brooks.
After a three-and-out by TCU’s offense, OU turned to its passing game. Williams completed passes of 35 and 39 yards before a 17-yard TD strike to Jeremiah Hall.
The Frogs, though, came to life.
Running back Kendre Miller, who got the start with Zach Evans sidelined with an injury, took a screen pass from Max Duggan and side-stepped down the far sidelines for a 53-yard score.
TCU eventually had a chance to tie the game, or possibly take the lead, when it took over with just under three minutes left in the first half. Trailing 17-14, TCU went three-and-out and left enough time for Williams and the Sooners to march 76 yards for a TD and 24-14 halftime lead.
OU maintained a multiple-possession lead the rest of the way, although TCU had its moments in the second half.
Frogs wide receiver Quentin Johnston had two of his three TD receptions in the second half. He had a 75-yard TD to pull TCU to within 31-21 early in the third quarter, and then a 25-yard TD catch early in the fourth quarter to make it 45-31.
“As a team, you always want to win,” Johnston said. “But as myself, I just feel like I should’ve, as I did, go out there and do the best I can to help out not only myself but my team to kind of get some momentum going in those particular plays.”
TCU tried to keep the momentum going following the 75-yard TD with an onside kick. It didn’t work.
OU took over on its own 33 and, four plays later, Williams had a 7-yard TD pass to Jadon Haselwood. It was the third TD reception of the night by Haselwood. Williams also had a 41-yard TD run in the second half.
Asked about OU’s offense, TCU defensive end Ochaun Mathis said: “A lot of RPOs, a lot of the good trick plays type deal, kept Caleb Williams doing his thing. … We do need some work as a defense.”
As stated, Patterson liked the fight his team showed. He pointed to Duggan, who played through an injury and will likely have to do so the rest of the season. And the players made available in the postgame news conference feel better days are ahead.
“There’s nothing else to do but go back to the drawing board. Cook it up,” Johnston said. “You can’t go off last week’s performance, so win or loss, we just have to keep looking forward and fight like we are 6-0 even though we are not.
“We’ve just got to keep moving forward, leave the past in the past, and worry about the future.”
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