Posted on November 12, 2017, by Travis Pulver
Since getting upset by Iowa State earlier in the season, the Oklahoma Sooners have been looking for an opportunity to prove their championship mettle. They got it Saturday night against the No. 6 TCU Horned Frogs and their highly ranked defense. However, as feared as the No. 13 ranked TCU defense is, the unit had a fatal flaw against a team like the Sooners.
While they dominate their opponents run games (No. 2; 82.7 yards/game allowed), they are not that good against the pass (68th; 226.3 yards/game allowed).
With a quarterback like Baker Mayfield leading his offense, Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley probably didn’t care if TCU stopped Oklahoma’s run game. As it turns out, the TCU defense couldn’t stop either. Mayfield led the way by completing 18 of 27 passes for 333 yards and three touchdowns as the Sooners won easily 38-20. But Mayfield didn’t do it all alone.
He got a ton of help from sophomore running back Rodney Anderson who ran for 151 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Anderson was also Mayfield’s favorite target on the day with five receptions for 139 yards and two more touchdowns.
“He was tremendous tonight,” Riley said after the game (ESPN). “He was awesome. He’s got a unique skill set in that he can kind of do it all. He can bring the power, ran through a lot of tackles and made a couple tremendous catches. He’s been awesome for us here several weeks in a row.”
Oklahoma did all of its damage in the first half of the game and took a 38-14 lead into the break. At that point, Mayfield already had 299 yards passing and three touchdowns. Anderson had already run for 117 yards, had 86 yards receiving, and recorded all four touchdowns. TCU closed out the scoring with a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
All season long, TCU had been able to lean on its defense while Kenny Hill produced enough with the offense for the team to win. But with the defense playing so poorly, they needed Hill and the offense to step up their game. Instead, they struggled to maintain drives and probably wouldn’t have scored if not for a few big plays that gave the offense a short field.
While the loss likely knocks TCU out of the playoff chase, head coach Gary Patterson remains confident in his team.
“We need to win two ballgames,” Patterson said (ESPN). “We still control our own destiny, so it starts with Texas Tech. Here we go. That’s pretty much what I told them in the locker room.”
With Georgia and Notre Dame losing, a win over No. 6 TCU should move Oklahoma into the top four. But to remain, they will need to beat Kansas (next week) and West Virginia in their regular season finale. But to solidify a spot in the CFB Playoffs they will likely need to beat TCU in the Big 12 Championship Game.
For TCU to be in the title game, they need wins against Texas Tech (next week) and Baylor (on Thanksgiving) in their regular-season finale. The CFB Playoffs are off the table. But they can still get the satisfaction of knocking Oklahoma out with a win the Big 12 title game.