Max Duggan and Quentin Johnston had career days in the absence of Zach Evans, but ultimately it was Caleb Williams’ say, as the Sooners’ freshman QB shined in his first career start.
What did we learn? Let’s dive in.
For the Max Duggan haters…
… and those of us that have shown some concern, the Frogs much maligned junior quarterback was really good Saturday night in a very hostile environment. Duggan finished the night with a career-high 336 passing yards, throwing for four touchdowns (no interceptions) as he focused on his top target, Quentin Johnston (seven catches for 185 yards and three scores). For his part, the sophomore moved into the top ten in all time single game performances by a TCU WR, as he turned men into boys time after time with ridiculous receptions.
The running game never really got going.
And we kind of knew that would be the case. As Gary Patterson said earlier in the week, Oklahoma wasn’t going to let the Frogs run all over them, and without Zach Evans in the lineup, TCU never really tried. Duggan did a great job using his legs when he needed to — despite playing with a broken bone in his foot — but this was a day when the Frogs needed to air it out, and air it out they did.
Defense, we hardly knew ye.
The secondary has been a problem, and when the Frogs lost Trevius Hodges Tomlinson in the second quarter, well, the problem grew. But honestly, despite giving up some big plays, the defense kind of held their own.
Okay they did allow ** points, but early on, when the game was close, they made big plays on third down and kept Williams uncomfortable. Shoutout to Ochaun Mathis, who played ANGRY Saturday night, recording a pair of sacks in the first half, both of which came on third down and led to field goal attempts (one of which missed). The defense certainly gave the Frogs opportunities to take the lead in the first half, but a series of decisions and missed opportunities led to a washout in the second half.
Speaking of those decisions…
TCU smartly went for it on fourth and short early in the game, and didn’t get it. They wouldn’t go for it again, despite several prime opportunities in big spots.
Did GP and co tighten up after their first fourth down attempt failed? We might never know. But it seems part of a pattern that has frustrated Frog fans for years. Just because something doesn’t work doesn’t mean you should stop doing it — with the exception of the Wild Frog and any double reverses — and you’re not going to beat OU by punting from enemy territory. You’ve got to take chances when you’re a two touchdown underdog, and TCU seemed unwilling to do so down the stretch.
We saw a lot of guys that we haven’t seen a lot of.
Patrick Jenkins, Josh Foster, Keontae Jenkins, Colt Ellison… all played significant snaps. Jamoi Hodge got his first career start, and when he wasn’t asked to drop into coverage, was pretty good. TCU gave up big plays and didn’t force any turnovers, but the effort and attitude that has been sorely missing was back, at least, in Norman. That bodes well for when you’re playing teams that aren’t Oklahoma, assuming it sticks around.
At the end of the day, TCU allowed over 500 yards on offense, including over 200 on the ground they didn’t force any turnovers and didn’t get big “bonus” plays or points from their defense or special teams, and that’s what it was going to take to beat the Sooners in Norman. They didn’t cover either, but this doesn’t feel as ‘bad’ as it looked on the scoreboard.
But it’s still an L, and the Frogs have a lot of work to do between now and next Saturday.