By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
NORMAN, Okla. —
Oklahoma may be hard-pressed to duplicate its first-half defense in Saturday’s 20-17 victory over TCU.
The Horned Frogs went three-and-out on all six of their possessions and had only 16 yards in total offense — an average of only .888 yards per play. TCU’s longest play from scrimmage was five yards.
“I don’t think that’s happened to any team that I have been a part of,’’ said OU head coach Bob Stoops. “They played sensational. The way we were struggling on offense, if we didn’t play that strong defensively, it would have been tough to win.’’
Sooner defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said he couldn’t remember “seeing anything like that before.’’
“Our guys put a lot of pressure on them (four sacks, three in the first half),’’ he said. “The one thing that jumped out at me was that we had a lot of guys playing well.
“I don’t think you can pinpoint one guy — a lot of it is effort ... when you have a lot of effort it produces results. That’s been the key to our success. We have three or four impact players, but the rest of the guys are playing solid football. We don’t have any glaring weaknesses. It’s a good place to be.’’
TCU’s numbers picked up in the second half. Quarterback Trevone Boykin was 11 of 17 passing for 143 yards. He rushed for 29 yards on seven carries.
Boykin, with TCU down 20-10, eluded pressure for a 45-yard pass to David Porter for a first down at the OU 30. He hit B.J. Catalon for a 21-yard pass to the 10 before scoring a play later on an eight-yard run.
“We could have had him sacked on that play at the end (45-yard pass to Porter),’’ Bob Stoops said. “Give him credit for getting away, We had him on the run most of the day. I thought our guys did a great job executing the blitzes and stunts we had called.’’
“He’s a tough guy to pin down for the whole game,’’ Mike Stoops said. “He’s elusive and strong. I know there were at least four blitzes and stunts where we came in scot-free and sill couldn’t get him. That’s how good he is.’’
The key, Mike Stoops said, was keeping him contained.
“We made sure we could pressure him and make things uncomfortable for him,’’ he said.
Facing a running quarterback like Boykin is something “you can’t simulate in practice,’’ said OU defensive end Chuka Ndulue.
“We knew he would be tough to bring down,’’ he said. “There are some things that need to be corrected, but we had good pressure. It was pretty fun to move around and confuse the O-line. That’s a fun thing to do.’’
Momentum in the game may have changed after TCU recovered a squib kick after cutting the OU lead to 13-3 after a Jaden Oberkrom 25-yard field goal with 3:32 left in the third period. That capped a 12-play, 45-yard drive which took up 7:17.
TCU needed only six plays to score from 35 yards out to cut the lead to 13-10 with eight seconds left in the third quarter.
“That was big,’’ Bob Stoops said. “It put them in good field position. We had a few penalties to bring it a little closer. I was disappointed in our kickoff return team. We ought to be able to handle that. We have to work on it more. We can’t let those things happen.’’
Ndulue was frustrated TCU was able to score after the onside kick.
“You have to be ready to come back and play no matter what happens,’’ he said.
OU defensive end Charles Tapper said the Sooners tried to keep the same mindset in the second half.
Ndulue, who entered the game with one tackle, had six stops, including a tackle for a loss.
“The key for us was just doing our jobs and executing,’’ he said. “If all 11 players are doing what they are supposed to do, that’s what happens.’’
Bob Stoops didn’t see any hangover from a 35-21 win over Notre Dame the week before or looking ahead to Texas.
“You’re not giving TCU enough credit,’’ Stoops said. “On some plays, they whipped us and some plays we whipped them. We made enough plays to win the game.’’
TCU ran only 59 plays — that’s the fewest plays by a Sooner opponent since Oklahoma State’s 58 in a 27-0 loss to OU on Nov. 28, 2009.
“It’s a nice feeling to be part of something like that,’’ Ndulue said.
OU faces Texas at 11 a.m. Saturday in Dallas.