That was absolutely the most fun I have ever had at Amon Carter Stadium, and the best game I have seen in person since the Rose Bowl. It was an alternately thrilling and horrifying game - with more ups and downs than my heart could take. I spent most of the fourth quarter sitting in the aisle, hardly able to watch. But in the end, the D that had looked somewhat overmatched in the first half (though it was hard to see - the ego of the OU fan in front of me was blocking my view for the first two quarters), stepped up in a huge way down the stretch, and put their stamp on the Frog's first signature win in the Big 12.
UP - Trevone Boykin - Deuce Boogie played like the BoyKinG, accounting for almost 400 yards of total offense - over 300 through the air and 77 on the ground. Cumbie and Meacham did an excellent job keeping OU guessing - mixing up the short passing game with deep strikes to the speed guys on the outside, and more often than not, Boykin executed perfectly. Trevone had 38 passing attempts and 22 rushes - though I am guessing only about half were designed runs - and he made the right read almost every single time. I will gladly admit it - I was wrong. In my Keys to the Game post on Friday, I said that if Boykin threw the ball 40 times or was the leading rusher, TCU was probably looking at a loss. Well, he threw it 38 and had double the attempts and double the yards to the Frog's second leading rusher on the day (B.J. Catalon), and TCU was better for it. Boykin put the O on his back, and stood tall doing it. You have my sincere apologies, Mr. Boykin, and never have I been happier to be dead wrong.
DOWN - Ball Security - Let's be honest here, there's no way a team wins a game when they are up by four points with time ticking down in the fourth quarter, and turn it over on consecutive touches inside their own territory. That doesn't happen. After Boykin fumbled it on a run to the outside, I thought we were done. Then, on OU's next touch, Chris Hackett pulls in a juggling, bobbling, incredible interception, and seems to have saved the day - only to see B.J. Catalon break off a long run, and get the ball stripped out at the end, giving it right back to OU. We got away with one, or technically two, due to an incredible stand by the D (we will get to that in a minute), but we can't play with fire like that again in Waco and expect the same result.
UP - That Nasty Frog D - That fourth quarter stand is one for the scrapbook for sure. But it was a second half shutdown of an explosive Sooner O that put Patterson's stamp on the game and kept TCU in the national convo for best defense in the country. After looking lost in the first half, giving up two long touchdown passes by Trevor Knight and allowing him to pick up big chunks of yardage on the ground, Patterson made the perfect halftime adjustments, adjusting coverages, even some looks he said the team hadn't worked on all week. And just about everything worked. It helped that Knight was either dinged up or cramping, but a lot of that had to do with the constant pressure he faced from guys like Terrell Lathan, Josh Carraway - and Davion Pierson, who had 2.5 tackles for loss, including a big sack, and two QB hits. Chuck Hunter was a force inside, and the attention paid to him had a lot to do with freeing up the ends and the linebackers to make big plays of their own. Patterson said in the post-game that they blitzed from everywhere in the second half, which will serve to make Baylor's film study a lot of fun this week I'm sure. The best blitz of the day was of course the one that wasn't, when linebacker (and I feel like you have to say it now - former high school wide receiver) Paul Dawson showed blitz, dropped back, and came from out of nowhere to reel in the biggest int of his career, running it back for six and the lead. Dawson and Mallett were also instrumental in "shutting down" Samaje Perine, who scored three TDs, but only averaged 3.5 per carry and was bottled up enough to make the coaches think they needed to go away from the run in the second half. Mallett's dive through the line on fourth and one a late Sooner's drive was an absolute momentum killer and probably saved the game for the Frogs.
DOWN - Jaden Oberkrom :( - Well, the #Jaden4Heisman campaign is all but dead. Oberkrom, who had been perfect in his career on extra points, had a big one blocked, turning what would have been a touchdown lead into a four point game after the ball was run back for a safety by the Sooners. Oberkrom also missed basically a chip shot field goal in the third. The normally reliable kicker has looked very human for the past two weeks - I don't know how much of those blocks are on him verses the protection, but I know TCU special teams needs to be a focus heading in to the rest of conference play. Jaden will have his shot again, and I still think he hits at least one game winner this season, but he needs to get himself back on track, and soon.
UP - A Balanced O - Sure, this all came down to #2, and his work on the ground and through the air. But regardless, how do you game plan for this TCU offense? Going in to the OU game, it was pretty obvious that TCU needed to shut down Sterling Shepard (whoops) and contain Samaje Perine. For OU, it seemed the plan was to shut down the run and make Boykin throw the ball, which didn't really work, thankfully. But there's not one guy you can take away as a receiver - eight different guys caught passes, and three had more than 50 yards in receptions. You can't really focus on one running back - if you try and take Catalon's speed away, TCU will throw the bruisers at you, or let Boykin go crazy. Try to spy Boykin in the run game and the calls become quick passes, screens, and misdirections. Heck, we even saw some old school option yesterday! When Boykin makes reads the way he did yesterday, there's no formula for stopping the Frog O, and while that might be true for just about any QB, it's hard to find too many other schools that can throw the mix of speed, power, and size at a D that TCU can - save the one down I-35 that we will see six days from now.
DOWN - Big 12 Scheduling - Patterson said it to the team after the game yesterday - there's no reason to be too happy for too long, because as sweet as this win was, there's no time to celebrate. A possibly even bigger challenge awaits Saturday, against what will surely be another top five team, and the new title favorites. This time, we don't get to take our student section with us (y'all were AWESOME by the way), but go into a hostile environment as underdogs once again. It's hard to put the biggest conference win in our Big 12 history to bed so quickly, but it has to be done. The Big 12 is a gauntlet, and this was just round one. One game at a time, one win at a time, and let's keep making magic!