No. 11 Oklahoma holds off TCU
OCT 05, 2013 9:39p ET
As bad as the Oklahoma offense was in the second half, no one wanted to see Blake Bell have to get one more first down.
But Bell did get that first down. The defense did get that last stop.
Surprising? Not really. Not this season, anyway. Satisfying? Gotta be. Especially this season.
Because that's really how 2013 has gone so far for the Sooners. They've made every play when they've had to in every situation that's mattered.
Call what you've seen this year surprising, if you want – winning at Notre Dame, establishing a rushing game, playing improved and inspired defense, and the list goes on – but this Oklahoma team is now 5-0 heading into Texas and it's safe to say, should be 8-0 when it heads to Baylor on Nov. 7.
And Saturday was more of the same in the 20-17 victory against TCU. With an offense that managed all of 4 yards in the third quarter and a defense that just about let a 13-point lead slip away, OU got its defense off the field when it looked like the Frogs were going to score and got its offense back in the end zone.
OU punted it away with 7:27 to play and TCU got a first down from its 17-yard line with the Sooners leading 13-10. All the hard work the defense put in through the first half was slipping away.
Four plays later, TCU had to punt.
And just like a week ago when Notre Dame got within a touchdown and the Sooners had to get something done on offense, they did. On a second-and-four play from its own 24, Brennan Clay ran 76 yards for a touchdown.
"I love it," coach Bob Stoops said of the character building that's been happening the past two weeks. "It shows the guys are in shape and ready to finish. I'm proud of Blake (Bell), the way he ran. Brennan (Clay) with his big run. It does show character and we are still in a young season, but you like it when you win those games when it's tight and late in the fourth quarter."
Maybe it should have never gotten to that point. After all, TCU had 16 yards of offense in the first half, no first downs and an offense that had fewer dimensions than Pong. TCU went seven possessions without a first down and didn't crack 100 total yards until late in the third quarter. They had 135 total yards before scoring to make it 20-17 with 2:26 left, and just like the previous offensive possession and just like the week before when Blake Bell found Sterling Shepard on a gotta-have-it-third-down against Notre Dame, Bell was able to get enough yards and have enough success to run out the clock.
"It feels great," Bell said. "A 'W' is a 'W.'
It should feel great because OU hasn't been this complete of a team in more than two years, undone by poor defense the past two seasons and limited to a passing offense pretty much all of last year.
Now there's a dual-threat quarterback in Bell, who won a third start in a row and has yet to throw an interception or have a turnover. The defense has re-invented itself – holding three opponents to under 20 points already this season – and suddenly there are players and coaches talking character and toughness.
And celebrating wins, too.
That's the thing about this team as a whole," Bell said. "When one of us isn't doing well, you know we were struggling there, and the defense stepped it up and vice versa. We are really fitting together."
Follow Andrew Gilman on Twitter: @andrewgilmanOK
+ SHOW COMMENTS +