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Football: TCU falls in season finale at Oklahoma

The Horned Frogs finish 5-7 after a 69-45 loss to the Sooners on Black Friday.

NCAA Football: Texas Christian at Oklahoma Bryan Terry-USA TODAY Sports

The TCU football team failed to earn bowl eligibility on Black Friday, conceding over 600 yards of total offense in a 69-45 loss against Oklahoma. Despite a valiant effort from redshirt freshman quarterback Josh Hoover, who was forced to throw 58 passes and finished with 344 yards and four touchdowns with one pick-six interception, the Horned Frogs will not compete in the postseason and will conclude the 2023 season with a 5-7 overall record and a 3-6 record in the Big 12 Conference. Dillon Gabriel torched the TCU defense all afternoon, throwing for 400 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. Gavin Sawchuk led the Oklahoma offense on the ground, running for 130 yards and three touchdowns.

The Horned Frogs received a season-best performance from wide receiver JoJo Earle. The former Alabama transfer caught four balls for 94 yards and one touchdown to lead the TCU offense, which saw senior tight end Jared Wiley catch eight passes for 39 yards and two touchdowns in his final collegiate game. Emani Bailey added a 12-yard touchdown catch-and-run while stampeding for 150 rushing yards and one touchdown on the ground. Bailey concluded his 2023 season with 1,209 rushing yards and nine total touchdowns.

Oklahoma held a 14-13 lead after the first quarter, where a missed PAT from TCU kicker Griffin Kell prevented the Horned Frogs from tying the score. The Sooners blew TCU out of the water during the second quarter, however, outscoring the Horned Frogs 28-3 with all four touchdowns coming on the offensive end. TCU had no answers for wide receiver Drake Stoops, the son of former Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops, who recorded 12 catches for 125 yards and one touchdown in the game. Wide receivers Nic Anderson and Jayden Gibson also provided big plays for the Sooners, who held a 42-16 advantage over TCU at halftime.

TCU made a brief comeback during the third quarter, where the Horned Frogs scored three touchdowns and outscored Oklahoma 22-10 to come within two possessions entering the fourth quarter. After a scoring drive early in the third quarter, TCU forced its first defensive turnover of the game, with safety Bud Clark intercepting Gabriel and giving the offense prime field position. It was one of two turnovers forced by the Horned Frogs, who saw linebacker Namdi Obiazor recover a muffed punt on special teams. Despite making the score 52-38 entering the fourth quarter, TCU continued to fold on the defensive end, with Oklahoma scoring two touchdowns to seal its 10-2 overall record during the regular season.

TCU will now enter the offseason with serious questions to answer on both sides of the ball. The Horned Frogs allowed an average of 408.3 yards per game and 5.7 yards per play on defense. While TCU showed flashes on offense throughout the season, an inability to run the football consistently and struggles in the red zone held the unit back as a whole. It was also a tough year for the special teams units, which saw fifth-year seniors Griffin Kell and Jordy Sandy struggle at times while the coverage units routinely allowed big plays.