Turning Back the Clock: TCU

Each game week, Justin Wright turns back the clock to a previous matchup between Oklahoma and the upcoming opponent, reliving Sooner Magic from years past.

Week 11: Texas Christian University

The Setting

November 21, 2015 — Norman, OK. While the sun set in the western sky over The Palace on the Prairie, the Sooner faithful flooded inside, with that old familiar feeling brewing. The Sooners were back, and it was palpable. Since a stumble in Dallas against the enemies from Austin, Oklahoma had rattled off 5 in a row, and found themselves ranked 7th in the College Football Playoff rankings. Led by the usual suspects, Baker Mayfield, Sterling Shepard, Semaje Perine, and Joe Mixon, Oklahoma looked to put their nearly unblemished record, and a possible CFP berth, on the line as the No. 18 TCU Horned Frogs came to town.

The Game

The game started off slowly for the Sooners as the offense struggled to put together consistent offensive success, and TCU took a 7-0 lead less than 6 minutes into the game. Mike Stoops’s “bend, don’t break” defense had been consistently challenged throughout the season, but had stepped up to make the plays necessary to give the offense a chance to take the game over. A Zack Sanchez interception did just that, and the Sooners tied the game at 7 on a Shepard 21 yard reception from Mayfield.

The defense would force two more turnovers in the first half, and a 16-0 2nd quarter would push Oklahoma’s lead to 23-7 at the break. Mayfield, however, sustained a concussion from a questionable hit on Oklahoma’s final drive of the half, and would not return to the game. He watched the second half from the sideline as Trevor Knight took over at center. The offense subsequently bogged down significantly. Oklahoma was able to put a 92 yard touchdown drive together, capped off by a Semaje Perine 72 yard end zone scamper. Outside of that, however, the Sooners offense managed a meager 94 yards, leading to 6 punts, an interception, a missed field goal, and a turnover on downs.

Meanwhile, TCU tried to systematically chip away at the Oklahoma defense. They capitalized on the Oklahoma turnover on downs and scored on the first play of the half, but remained scoreless the rest of the quarter. As the Sooner offense struggled, though, the defense spent more and more time on the field. Finally, in the 4th quarter, TCU mounted a full comeback with a touchdown and a field goal to get within 7. With 4:17 left in the game, TCU drove down the field, and Emmanuel Porter caught a pass from Bram Kohlhausen. TCU had trimmed the lead to just 1 with 51 seconds left. TCU’s offense took the field, looking for the upset in Norman.

Then Steven Parker happened.

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Sooner Magic Moment

Despite Oklahoma’s inability to move the ball with Trevor Knight under center, Gary Patterson didn’t want to gamble with overtime. The Horned Frogs had failed on a 2-point conversion on the first touchdown of the half, but Patterson was out for blood. He sent his offense back out on the field to try and convert for 2. Kohlhausen was flushed out of the pocket to his right, and kept his eyes upfield. Steven Parker was covering Shaun Nixon, but broke coverage as Kohlhausen neared the sideline, leaving Nixon wide open. As Kohlhausen released the ball Parker skied upward, batting the ball down. Parker effectively ended TCU’s upset bid while preserving the Sooners’ chances at their first CFP berth.

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