- Brandon Chatmon, ESPN Staff Writer
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We knew it wasn’t going to be easy for Oklahoma to knock off TCU in a classic sandwich game between Notre Dame and Texas, but the Sooners pulled it off with a 20-17 win over the Horned Frogs -- its second straight defensive battle during a home conference game.
Here are five stats that defined OU’s fifth straight win to open the season.
TCU’s 0.93 yards per play on third down. The Horned Frogs had 14 plays for 13 yards, 0.93 yards per play on third down. That’s complete domination on key plays throughout an entire 60 minutes. The Sooners defense was on a mission to prove they had the best defense on the field. There are no more doubts or questions -- the Sooners’ defense is vastly improved and good enough to help OU cruise to a Big 12 title if the offense cooperates.
Trevone Boykin's 1.5 yards per carry: The Horned Frogs’ quarterback could have created major problems for OU’s defense with his open-field running skills. Yet the Sooners handled him extremely well, allowing just 12 carries for 18 yards while making Boykin work for the two rushing touchdowns he scored on Saturday. The overall athleticism of OU’s defense was readily apparent as they chased Boykin all over the Oklahoma Memorial Stadium turf.
TCU’s three-and-out percentage. The Horned Frogs went three-and-out 58.3 percent of the time, going three-and-out in seven of their 12 possessions. The Sooners didn’t allow a first down until the third quarter in their best defensive performance of the season. It continues a trend for the Sooners’ defense this season as OU ranks No. 1 in the Big 12 and No. 3 nationally, forcing opponents to go three-and-out 52.3 percent of the time.
Blake Bell's 85.5 Total QBR in the second quarter. The Sooners’ junior signal-caller had a subpar game but was stellar in the second quarter, going 10 of 13 for 77 yards as the Sooners averaged 2.5 points per drive. OU struggled to move the ball, particularly through the air, for the remaining three quarters, but Bell’s strong second quarter play helped OU secure the lead and play with a cushion for the majority of the game.
OU’s 152 passing yards. It was a win but it’s not all good for the Sooners. OU’s stuttering passing game reared its ugly head again against the Horned Frogs’ stellar secondary, as Bell was 20 of 31 for 152 yards. The passing struggles were an eyesore in the second half, as Bell was 4 of 11 for 33 yards in the final 30 minutes. If OU wants to dream of putting itself into the BCS title conversation, it has to be a lot better in its passing game. Going against a stellar secondary is not a reason for poor play, it’s an excuse.
7dBrandon Chatmon and Jake Trotter