By: Hunter Cornejo
For the 4th straight week, the Oklahoma offense did not put any points on the board on their opening drive. Dillion Gabriel connected with Marvin Mims who could not secure the ball after the catch, leading to a fumble which led to TCU taking over with good field position. From this point on it was all downhill for the Sooners. TCU QB Max Duggan capitalized on the good field position by finding WR Savion Williams for the score, putting TCU up 7-0 early. Then the first injury of the day struck the Sooners when DB Billy Bowman was injured on the kick return. After back to back 3 and outs, Oklahoma started off their next drive with great field position, however they were not able to capitalize on it, forcing the Sooners to call on Zach Schmit to drill a 43 yard field goal. TCU responded by converting a 3rd & 8 when Max Duggan found a blown coverage, connecting with Taye Barber for a 73 yard touchdown. The Horned Frog’s defense forced another 3 and out, and Max Duggan wasted no time, breaking free for a 67 yard touchdown. Although Dillion Gabriel has still yet to turn the ball over, he once again was extremely inaccurate, having multiple costly overthrows once again. Oklahoma was able to get back within 10 when Dillion Gabriel connected with Brayden Willis for 78 yards, leading to Eric Gray capping off the drive with a 1 yard touchdown. TCU running back Kendre Miller killed any hope of a Sooners comeback, rushing 15 yards for another TCU touchdown. Emari Demercado joined in on the TCU dominant running game, breaking free for a gain of 36 yards, capping off the drive with a rushing touchdown. On the next Oklahoma drive, Sooners QB Dillion Gabriel took a cheap shot targeting, a hit that resulted in a severe concussion for Gabriel. Sooners freshman running back Jevonte Barnes capped off the drive with a 20 yard touchdown run, making the score 34-17 TCU. However, Max Duggan was not done making big plays, connecting with Gunnar Henderson for a 62 yard score. In the 3rd quarter, Kendre Miller continued his big day running through the heart of the Sooners’ defense for a 69 yard touchdown. The final TCU score of the day came on Max Duggan’s 2 yard rush. The Sooners scored one more time with Jevonte Barnes finding the end zone one again.
Nothing about this game went Oklahoma’s way. The injury riddled Sooners could not catch a break today with Dillion Gabriel’s concussion and Damond Harmon being taken out on a stretcher. The Sooners once again were dominated in every facet of the game. This game proved that Oklahoma will not be competing for a Big 12 championship this season after everything the program has gone through in the past 10 months. Jeff Lebby once again was not able to get anything going offensively for the Sooners, only putting up 24 points. Lebby’s play calling has to improve for the Sooners going forward, we can’t keep getting the same answers in his press conference with no change. Lebby has said all season that he has to be better calling plays, he has yet to do so. Oklahoma’s defense has fallen off the face of the earth in Big 12 play. The defense that looked well improved has given up 1,177 yards and 96 points in the 2 Big 12 matchups. This kind of play will not fly when the team plays in the Cotton Bowl next Saturday. It is very safe to say that both Offensive Coordinator Jeff Lebby and Defensive Coordinator Ted Roof are on the hot seat after the back to back losses. The one positive today for Oklahoma was punter Michael Turk who had 8 punts for 375 yards, averaging 46.9 yards per punt with 3 of them downed inside the 20. That is a great performance for Turk’s Ray Guy Award campaign. It is very likely that the Sooners will be without Dillion Gabriel for the Red River Rivalry, that means Davis Beville will be the starter. Going forward Oklahoma’s quarterback play has to be significantly better, like past years our defense has not been able to come up with stops consistently, so that means that our offense has to put up 50 points a game for Oklahoma to have a chance at winning. Both Gabriel and Beville have been extremely inaccurate, it is inexcusable for the Oklahoma quarterbacks to not be able to connect with their loaded receiver core on a reliable basis. Both Gabriel and Beville have left points off of the board from their bad throws, receivers like Marvin Mims and Drake Stoops are going to get open, it is time for the Sooners at the bare minimum to put the ball in a spot that these guys have a chance at making a play on it. I am by no means calling for Brent Venables to be gone after this lackluster start to Big 12 play, however it is time for Venables to go back to the days of the get-back coach on the sidelines. Venables is building a great culture at Oklahoma and he just needs to coach with the same intensity that he did when he was a defensive coordinator.
Prediction time. After 5 weeks I feel that it is time to be real about this Oklahoma team. It is time to get rid of the Sooner fan bias, and give my honest opinion. The realistic truth is that Oklahoma at most wins 7 games. Oklahoma no longer has an explosive offense to compensate for their below average defense to win games. My honest prediction is that Oklahoma only wins 6 games, not winning another home game. Oklahoma does not have a chance next week against Texas if they play like they have the past 2 weeks. I also do not see Oklahoma beating Kansas. Yes I said Kansas, and no I am not talking about basketball. Kansas is legit this year, starting off 5-0. I see them upsetting Oklahoma when they head to Norman. I think that Oklahoma adds one to the win column when they head to Ames, Iowa. Although Baylor just fell to Oklahoma State at home, I think Baylor extends their winning streak vs Oklahoma when they make the trip to Norman in November. I believe that Oklahoma will pick up their 5th win of the season when they head east to Morgantown, West Virginia. After seeing the Sooners through 5 weeks, I think they lose one of the last Bedlam matches when Oklahoma State heads 80 miles south to Norman, Oklahoma State as of right now is the highest ranked Big 12 team in the polls, picking up a huge road win against Baylor. I think Oklahoma picks up their 6th win of the season, earning bowl eligibility when they play at Texas Tech. This year is by far the worst Oklahoma team since 2014 when they went 8-5. The Big 12 is a much improved conference this year with every game being a flip of a coin this year. Kansas is no longer a guaranteed win for all conference members except for Texas, Kansas can legitimately play for a Big 12 championship this season. Since I know that my Sooners no longer have a chance of winning the Big 12 bearing a significant change in the Sooners’ play, all I can ask for is wins over Texas and Oklahoma State, however I believe I would be setting myself up for disappointment if I predict that we win those games. The one thing that would make up for the disappointment of Oklahoma not having a 10 win season, would be for Kansas to carry their momentum and win a Big 12 championship.
For only the 5th time in the historic history of the Red River Rivalry, both Oklahoma and Texas will head into the rivalry with 2 losses. The last few matchups have lived up to the hype, hopefully this one does too as both teams are now out of playoff contention. Oklahoma faces Texas in the Cotton Bowl on Saturday at 11:00 AM CT on ABC.