The Oklahoma Sooners picked up their first convincing win of the season, and it came at the same time that they were making a quarterback change. Getting the first start of his young career at the University of Oklahoma, Caleb Williams dazzled with his arm and legs all night as the Oklahoma Sooners knocked off the TCU Horned Frogs 52-31.
Ignited by big plays in both the run and pass game, the Sooners jumped on top of the Horned Frogs early 14-0. Though TCU brought the game to within three in the first half, it was never that close again as Oklahoma continued to churn out points and get stops at pivotal moments in the game.
As we look at the Sooners’ big win over the Horned Frogs, here are 5 takeaways from the victory that pushed OU to 7-0 on the season and 4-0 in Big 12 play.
Caleb Williams is the Truth
Oct 16, 2021; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Caleb Williams (13) runs with the ball during the game against the TCU Horned Frogs at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
After a week full of speculation, the Oklahoma Sooners decided to start true freshman quarterback Caleb Williams against the TCU Horned Frogs. He didn’t disappoint.
The final numbers? 18 of 23 for 295 yards and four touchdowns through the air. He also added 66 yards rushing and a score on the ground. Last week, Williams won Big 12 Newcomer of the Week. This week, he could very well win the Big 12’s Offensive Player of the Week.
Beyond the stat line, Williams was decisive with the football, often attacking the TCU secondary on deep shots. If his receiver didn’t win their one-on-one battle, they drew a pass interference call. Williams’ arm strength and accuracy were on display on a night when he was nearly perfect. Of his five incompletions, at least two of them were drops, including Austin Stogner’s poorly timed drop in the end zone.
It was a fantastic performance after helping the Oklahoma Sooners erase an 18 point deficit in the second half of the Red River Showdown.
A game and a half into his time as the Sooners quarterback, everything is coming up aces for the true freshman.
Kennedy Brooks does it Again
Oct 16, 2021; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma Sooners running back Kennedy Brooks (26) runs with the ball as TCU Horned Frogs safety Nook Bradford (28) defends during the first quarter at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
After tallying more than 200 yards rushing in the Red River Showdown against the Texas Longhorns, Kennedy Brooks was at it again on Saturday night against the TCU Horned Frogs.
Though he didn’t have the same output, Brooks was again a dynamic weapon in Lincoln Riley’s arsenal. On the evening, the senior running back ran for 153 yards on 20 carries, averaging 7.7 yards per attempt. Brooks also scored a touchdown on the Oklahoma Sooners’ first red-zone trip of the day.
Jadon Haselwood Breaks Out in a Big Way
Oct 16, 2021; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Jadon Haselwood (11) catches a touchdown pass past TCU Horned Frogs cornerback Keontae Jenkins (23) during the second half at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
The Oklahoma Sooners have been looking for their red zone receiving threat, and they finally found it in Jadon Haselwood. Haselwood led the Oklahoma Sooners in receptions with six catches, and he added 56 yards and a career-high three touchdowns. The last time an Oklahoma Sooner caught three touchdowns in a game was CeeDee Lamb’s big game against the Texas Longhorns in the Red River Showdown.
All season long, the Oklahoma Sooners have struggled to connect on a back-shoulder fade. On their first opportunity of the game, Caleb Williams threw a perfectly placed ball, and Haselwood timed his route perfectly to turn back and find the ball right where he needed it to make a play.
The back-shoulder fade has been there for the Oklahoma Sooners at times this season, but the timing and chemistry on it have been off. If Oklahoma can find that throw consistently to Haselwood, it will go a long way to enhancing the Sooners red zone offense.
Everyone has a day
Oct 16, 2021; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma Sooners tight end Jeremiah Hall (27) celebrates with wide receiver Marvin Mims (17) after scoring a touchdown during the first quarter against the TCU Horned Frogs at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Speaking of the wide receiver position. Not only did Jadon Haselwood have a day, but several Oklahoma Sooners wideouts had big games as well.
Michael Woods ended with three receptions for a Sooners high 75 yards. He also drew a timely defensive pass interference call that helped extend a drive that led to an Oklahoma touchdown. Woods also had a big play erased by an illegal man downfield penalty when center Andrew Raym got too far from the line of scrimmage on the pass play.
Marvin Mims was excellent once again, even if the stats were less than what might have been expected. He had two receptions for 56 yards but also drew two crucial pass interference penalties that helped the Sooners keep drives going.
Trevon West had a catch and run for 35 yards. Jeremiah Hall continued doing what he does best with a touchdown catch on the Sooners’ second drive of the game. And Brayden Willis had a nice day with two catches for 22 yards, the second of which helped put the Sooners in a good position for a touchdown in the red zone.
Caleb Williams found nine different receivers and looks willing to spread the ball around to his talented playmakers.
The Defense Can’t Get Healthy Fast Enough
Oct 16, 2021; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; TCU Horned Frogs wide receiver Quentin Johnston (1) catches a touchdown pass over Oklahoma Sooners defensive back Billy Bowman (5) during the second quarter at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Before the game, it was revealed that Delarrin Turner-Yell wouldn’t be available due to a hamstring issue that he’s been dealing with the last few weeks. In addition to the senior safety being out, the Oklahoma Sooners defense was still missing Woodi Washington, Jalen Redmond, and Jeremiah Criddell. That’s a lot of guys who play a lot of snaps.
Though the Oklahoma Sooners made enough stops to win the game convincingly, they gave up 31 points and allowed Max Duggan and Quentin Johnston to hit big play after big play all evening. Johnston had 185 yards receiving and three touchdowns, and Duggan set a career-high with 346 yards passing and added another 45 yards on the ground.
Oklahoma would once again struggle with tackling. The Sooners couldn’t consistently bring the ball carrier down, whether it was a running back, a wide receiver, or Duggan himself.
The Oklahoma Sooners struggle to tackle. It’s been a problem for most of the first seven games of the season, and unless there’s a dramatic turnaround will probably be a glaring weakness throughout the season.