TCU’s struggles going into Saturday’s 52-46 loss to Oklahoma lay in how the Horned Frogs have started ballgames. That wasn’t the case against OU, though.
The Frogs did end up digging a hole, only after building a 21-7 lead late in the first quarter. From the 0:54 mark of the first quarter to the 7:01 mark in the third quarter, Oklahoma outscored TCU 42-3 to bury the 21st-ranked Horned Frogs deeper on the scoreboard than they had been all season.
They trailed 49-24 before scoring 22 consecutive points in the fourth quarter to draw within three.
The wild swings ended in frustration, as TCU gave up 534 yards of offense against OU, which was committed to balance on offense while TCU had to throw the ball to get back in the game.
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“It was just embarrassing,” defensive end Josh Carraway said of the second and third quarters. “That’s not how TCU defense is. That’s not what TCU is about. That’s just unacceptable.”
Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield threw for 274 yards on 23-of-30 passing and two touchdowns, while bruising running backs Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine finished with 105 and 98 yards rushing, respectively. Perine scored twice, and Mixon once.
TCU was facing first-and-15 after a false start penalty was called on the game’s final drive. Frogs quarterback Kenny Hill was hit by the Sooners’ pass rush and appeared to throw the ball away.
Referee Mike Defee at first said that no intentional grounding penalty would be called, explaining that Hill was outside the tackle box when he threw. Defee then reconvened with the officiating crew and called intentional grounding seconds later.
TCU coach Gary Patterson didn’t mince words about the officiating after the loss.
“In [the officials’] estimation, he didn’t have anybody to throw it to. Mine was, he got hit,” Patterson said of the play. If a defender is deemed the cause of an errant throw, intentional grounding is negated.
Asked if Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops lobbied for the call to be reversed, Patterson continued: “It’s amazing. We can’t say anything, but they can do whatever they want to. So I don’t really care right now, from the commissioner, if they don’t like what I think about what happened with the officials. The bottom line to it is, I wasn’t happy with the officiating.”
Westbrook on fire
During TCU’s dry stretch in the second and third quarters, Oklahoma receiver Dede Westbrook caught fire against a TCU secondary that has been searching all season for the right personnel mix.
Safety Nick Orr bit on a flea flicker in the second quarter that ended in a 67-yard touchdown for Westbrook and gave the Sooners a 28-21 lead. With 3:30 left before halftime, Westbrook got a step on safety Denzel Johnson for a 40-yard touchdown reception over the middle of the field to put OU up 35-21.
Westbrook ended the game with seven catches for 158 yards and two touchdowns. TCU has had problems through the early part of the season with bigger, stronger receiving targets, but Westbrook (6-foot, 175 pounds) used pure speed to burn the TCU defense.
Redshirt freshman cornerback Jeff Gladney was back in the starting lineup for TCU after missing last week’s game at SMU. He sustained a foot injury in the Horned Frogs’ 41-20 win over Iowa State.
Junior Ranthony Texada started at the opposite corner to Gladney, but Tony James stepped in to start the second half at the other corner. Patterson was hopeful earlier in the week that senior safety Kenny Iloka would be back from injury in time, but Iloka was not on TCU’s final participation log against OU.
Gladney recorded three tackles and one pass breakup against the Sooners. He started the first three games of the season after making a jump in TCU’s depth chart in the spring and before missing the SMU game.
Special teams linebacker Paul Whitmill was ejected from the game early in the second quarter after a targeting call against him on an OU punt return was upheld by video review with just under 13 minutes left before halftime. He hit Mixon up near the base of the helmet.
After the penalty, OU started a drive near midfield that ended in Perine’s 8-yard touchdown run and a 21-21 tie.