Did you fear the football Boogeyman on Saturday?
Halloween might be a week away, but fans of Sooner football have been spooked by the football Boogeyman one too many times this season.
The football Boogeyman doesn’t always look the same. It takes many shapes. An inexplicable fumble. A special teams lapse. A costly missed tackle. A late-game meltdown.
Amazingly, the football Boogeyman never came for Oklahoma. The Sooners looked poised from start to finish for the first time away from home Saturday in their 33-14 win over the TCU Horned Frogs.
First Takeaway: This Ain’t Your Slightly-Older Sibling’s TCU Team
When you’re facing the longest-tenured coach in the Big 12, you usually know what you’re getting with a Gary Patterson-coached team: A ball-control offense and a stifling defense.
The Horned Frogs finished in the conference’s top four in rushing offense in 2017 and 2019. TCU was the Big 12’s best in total defense during each of the last three seasons.
Neither were present on Saturday afternoon. TCU managed just 75 rushing yards on 25 carries.
Meanwhile, the OU offense established the run on its first touchdown drive of the game. Spencer Rattler connected with superfrosh Marvin Mims on a 50-yard and 61-yard touchdown plays.
Rattler finished with 332 passing yards and zero turnovers.
TCU was more regular frog than Horned Frog.
Second Takeaway: Digging Into Duggan
Two weeks after Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger ran roughshod over the Oklahoma defense, it would be imperative to keep TCU quarterback Max Duggan under control. In the two games leading up to Saturday, Duggan combined for 122 rushing yards and three touchdowns on the ground.
The Sooners held Duggan to nine carries on 18 yards and sacked him three times on Saturday.
Defensive coordinator Alex Grinch, who deserved all the heat for the defense’s early-season struggles, now deserves all the credit for getting his guys to band together for a strong performance on the road.
Third Takeaway: Finishing Strong
When the Sooners fell apart against Kansas State, Iowa State and during the fourth quarter against Texas, their defense shouldered much of the blame, but the offense did its part as well.
TCU outscored OU 7-6 in the fourth quarter, but it’s important to note how the Sooners scored those points.
Yes, they scored on separate drives that netted them two field goals. More importantly, those two scoring drives ate up seven minutes and 26 seconds of the fourth quarter clock. Eating up nearly half of the fourth quarter is huge, considering the Sooners built a 20-point lead heading into the final 15 minutes.
If you’re TCU and you need as much time as possible to pull off a miracle late-game comeback, those drives ending in field goals may as well have been touchdowns. It made the game that much more out of reach for the Horned Frogs.
OU still faces a massive 52-23 scoring deficit in the fourth quarter this season, but it’s steps like Saturday afternoon that can change the fortune of a young football team.