Oklahoma did not drop 60 points on TCU’s top-10 defense Saturday night. But its defense didn’t surrender anywhere near 50, either, and the fifth-ranked Sooners took another step closer to a third straight Big 12 championship with a 38-20 win over No. 6 TCU Saturday night in Norman.
The combination of Baker Mayfield and running back Rodney Anderson was simply too much for TCU. Anderson posted a career-high four touchdowns, all in the first half. His 15-yard run at the 8:41 mark of the first quarter gave Oklahoma a 10-7 advantage, a lead the Sooners would not relinquish. After Mayfield hit Grant Calcaterra for a 13-yard strike to put OU up 17-7 at the close of the first quarter, Anderson effectively put the game out of reach with a 24-yard rush at the 11:45 mark of the second quarter.
TCU pulled within 24-14 on a 1-yard Kenny Hill rush on the next possession, but Oklahoma immediately answered with a 14-yard pass to Anderson with 5:29 left before halftime. The pair hooked up again with just seven seconds left before halftime for a 33-yard touchdown, giving Oklahoma 38 first-half points for the second consecutive game.
The Sooners did not score in the second half but still were not seriously threatened thanks to a defense that significantly improved from its 661-yard, 52-point effort in Stillwater a week ago. Oklahoma limited Hill to 13 completions on 28 attempts and just 155 rushing yards on 32 carries. The Frogs scored only once in the second half, and did not mount a serious comeback threat despite Oklahoma’s offense taking its foot off the gas.
Mayfield continued his runaway Heisman Trophy lead by completing 18-of-27 passes for 333 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions, and Anderson posted a career night of 23 carries for 151 yards and two touchdowns plus a game-high five grabs for 139 yards and two touchdowns.
Thanks to losses by No. 1 Georgia and No. 3 Notre Dame — and No. 13 Ohio State’s dominant win over No. 12 Michigan State doesn’t hurt, either — Oklahoma should move comfortably inside the CFP top four on Tuesday night. But in the immediate term, Oklahoma moved a step closer to reaching the revived Big 12 Championship against… TCU. No. 15 Oklahoma State’s defeat of No. 21 Iowa State cleared a path for TCU to earn a rematch against the Sooners, provided the Frogs defeat Texas Tech and Baylor to close the season. Oklahoma closes the regular season with a visit to Kansas and a home game against West Virginia, needing only one victory to reach the Big 12 title game.
But, of course, Oklahoma has much bigger goals on its mind than simply playing for another conference championship. More defensive performances like this one will help the Sooners get there.