There aren’t enough words to describe how bad Oklahoma’s football team looked in a 55-24 slam by TCU. I’ll go with one word: horrible.
If TCU head coach Sonny Dykes hadn’t pulled the first team offense early in the fourth quarter, the home team’s score in this game would have been in the ’70s. Not only were the Sooners badly beaten, they were also badly beaten.
quarterback Dillon Gabriel was knocked out of the game with a possible head injury after a targeting penalty on a TCU defensive player in the second quarter. Midway through the final quarter, sophomore defending defender Damond Harmon was removed from the field and taken to hospital after apparently sustaining a head or neck injury.
And those were just the most serious of the Sooner injuries in the game. Several other OU players left the field after being shuffled. Defending defender Billy Bowman was injured early in the first quarter kick-off and never returned to the game.
But injuries weren’t the reason for Oklahoma’s unfortunate performance against what was an excited, highly physical, and well-prepared TCU soccer team. The way the Horned Frogs executed on both sides of the ball made the Sooners look embarrassing. It was almost as if they had left the first-teamers at home and only brought the second and third-teamers.
Last week’s loss at home to Kansas State was partially written off by the fact that OU largely defeated itself. What we saw of the Sooners against the still undefeated TCU (4-0) was a total defeat in practically all phases of the game. This Oklahoma team has a myriad of problems right now. Dropping out of the top 25 this week, OU honestly didn’t deserve to be ranked as high as they were to start the season.
Here’s a four-down summary that tells the story of this game. Halloween came early this month for the Sooners.
There was a quick start to the attack, but not to Oklahoma
Offensive Coordinator Jeff Lebby had been stressing all week that the Sooners had to get off to a fast start. However, on their first possession Marvin Mims, after bringing in a pass from Dillon Gabriel close to midfield and good enough for a first down, the ball was dislodged by a defensive back from TCU and recovered by the Horned Frogs. No one knew at the time, but that was symptomatic of how this game was going to go. Four games later, TCU QB Max Duggan hit WR Savion Williams with a 19-yard touchdown catch to give the Horned Frogs a 7-0 lead. It wasn’t the Sooners that got off to a fast start, but rather TCU. The Frogs put 27 points on the scoreboard, along with 237 yards offense in the first 15 minutes.
Katy blocked the door, because that was just the beginning.
The OU Defense was sleepwalking throughout the game
While I’ve seen quite a few pathetic Oklahoma defensive performances in recent years, I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen one like this. Bob Stoops arrived in Normandy. The TCU’s offensive line was muscular and manipulated the OU’s defensive front, there were more missed tackles than I could even count, and pass coverage was virtually non-existent. And it seemed that practically every deep ball thrown by TCU QB Max Duggan that failed to connect to a wide-open receiver or be caught ended in a clear pass-interference call to a substandard Early safety or cornerback.
TCU had touchdown passes of 72 and 63 yards and touchdown runs of 69 and 67 yards, the latter by quarterback Duggan.
Forget what you heard after Oklahoma’s first three wins. This defense is not very good, and clearly no better than last seasons. If they perform like they did at TCU for the rest of the season, I’m not sure if the Sooners will win another game. A season with nine or ten wins is in serious jeopardy.
Dillon Gabriel continues to misfire his receiving targets
We were hopeful that Dillon Gabriel’s gaffes in the Kansas State game—high, wide, and at the feet of his receivers on several occasions—was a one-off anomaly that he would correct and find his groove again at TCU, but he was once again not on the same page with his receivers in the first half in the TCU game. Gabriel has overthrown Marvin Mims on a few deep balls and missed Drake Stoops and Theo Wease on steps that could have been caught if they hadn’t sailed on Gabriel. In retrospect, this turned out to be the least of OU’s problems on this nightmarish Fort Worth afternoon
TCU could do everything it wanted in the attack
Max Duggan led a TCU offensive charge that “ran through Oklahoma like a stimulus check,” in the words of ABC play-by-play announcer Mark Jones. And the match stats confirm him. The Horned Frogs rushed for 361 yards, averaging nearly nine yards per attempt. When TCU didn’t pick up yardage anywhere near the first or second down, Duggan shredded the Sooners and found open receivers all over the field, even wide open 50 and 60 yards downfield.
The Horned Frogs completed their highly effective running game with another 300 (actually 307) yards through the air. TCU rolled 668 yards from total offense on an Oklahoma defense that hadn’t given up that many yards since 693 in a 63-28 loss to Joe Burrow and LSU in the 2020 National Semifinals. Saturday’s game had a similar feel, just for a team that was nowhere near as good as that national champion LSU team.
So TCU, which had beaten Oklahoma just once in 11 tries since joining the Big 12, finally got their revenge against the Sooners. Saturday’s win ended an eight-game OU winning streak over the Horned Frogs. And the Frogs did it with an exclamation mark!
Here’s an even scarier thought if you’re a Sooner fan. OU heads to Dallas next weekend for the annual Texas showdown, and possibly without quarterback Dillon Gabriel being able to go.