First Oregon, then Alabama and now Oklahoma. The No. 4 Sooners became the third top-five team to fall this week after losing to the No. 25 TCU Horned Frogs 37-33 on the road in Amon G. Carter Stadium on Saturday evening.
Oklahoma had a chance to win the game in the fourth quarter inside Horned Frogs territory after a harried sequence of events saw the ball change hands in a little over a minute of game time.
TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin fumbled with less than seven minutes left to play, and Oklahoma recovered the ball. Two plays later, Horned Frogs safety Chris Hackett intercepted a Trevor Knight pass to give TCU another chance. But the home team handed it right back after running back B.J. Catalon fumbled on the next play from scrimmage.
Sports on Earth's Matt Brown believed things weren't looking good for TCU:
Oklahoma started with the ball on the Horned Frogs 46-yard line. The Sooners attempted to run the ball right at the TCU defense, and the strategy backfired. On a 4th-and-1, the Horned Frogs stopped OU running back Samaje Perine short with 3:08 to play.
With no timeouts left, Oklahoma couldn't stop the clock. The Sooners got the ball back with 51 seconds left. Needing to go 71 yards for the touchdown, they got close enough for Knight to attempt one last Hail Mary into the end zone. His pass floated out of bounds, and TCU picked up one of the biggest wins in school history.
The two fumbles aside, Boykin had an otherwise impressive game. TCU head coach Gary Patterson spoke before the game about the junior's progression over the past few weeks, per Carlos Mendez of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, via NCAA.com:
Andy Dalton went through it as a freshman, too. When you first step on a college stage and you're throwing for a lot of yards, you've got to understand that it doesn't matter that you did all that. There's still a lot of people that worked awfully hard that don't get the accolades. Andy really matured, and I think Trevone has stepped forward.
Boykin finished 20-of-38 for 318 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Knight never really found a groove for the Sooners. He was 14-of-35 with 309 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. What didn't help the OU quarterback was that TCU limited Perine on the ground. The freshman came into the game averaging 6.3 yards per carry, but he could only get 87 yards on 25 carries Saturday.
Almost any upset can be traced back to a hot start, and that's exactly what the Horned Frogs had.
TCU jumped out to an early 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Boykin attempted to run it in from one yard out but fumbled. Luckily for the Horned Frogs, tight end Cliff Murphy pounced on the ball in the end zone to put TCU up 7-0. On TCU's next drive, Catalon recorded a seven-yard touchdown run to make it a 14-0 game with 5:52 left in the first frame.
Pat Doney of NBC 5 in Dallas-Fort Worth felt the Sooners had no answer for the Horned Frogs' option game:
ESPN's Max Bretos wondered if Oklahoma was still reeling after Katy Perry picked it to win on College GameDay:
The Sooners responded quickly with back-to-back scoring drives of their own. Perine cut the deficit to seven points, 14-7, after a one-yard touchdown run. On the first play from scrimmage on Oklahoma's next drive, Knight connected with wideout Sterling Shepard for a 75-yard touchdown, tying the game with 33 seconds left in the quarter, via Fox College Football:
The two teams exchanged scores in the second quarter, with TCU jumping ahead twice before halftime. Oklahoma kicker Michael Hunnicutt tied the game at 24-24 with a 32-yard field goal as the second quarter ended.
Defense wasn't the overarching theme of the first half after the two teams combined for 48 points and nearly 600 yards. Eight of the 14 drives in the half went for scores.
Both Patterson and OU head coach Bob Stoops made adjustments at halftime, because once the third quarter began, yards and points both came at a premium.
Perine opened the second-half scoring with a seven-yard touchdown run, which was his third of the day, giving Oklahoma its first lead of the game, 31-24.
NFL.com's Bryan Fischer noted how Perine's success pushes the injured Keith Ford further into the shadows:
Josh McCuistion of SoonerScoop.com thought that the freshman's running style would play right into Oklahoma's hands as the Sooners looked to slowly sap the energy from the TCU defense:
The Horned Frogs wasted little time with their reply. Boykin tied the game at 31-31 with a 29-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Deante' Gray. ESPN.com's Jake Trotter felt that no matter the result of the game, Boykin's reputation only grew on Saturday:
TCU could have taken a 34-31 lead with a little more than two minutes left in the third quarter, but kicker Jaden Oberkrom missed a 32-yard field goal wide left.
Leaving points on the board didn't come back to haunt the Horned Frogs, as linebacker Paul Dawson intercepted Knight and ran 41 yards to the end zone for the pick-six. Dawson had quite the reversal of fortunes between last week and this week, per Mendez:
Oberkrom's point-after attempt was blocked and returned for two points by OU cornerback Zack Sanchez. With the difference between the two teams still at four points, TCU had a little breathing room. A field goal wouldn't have done anything for the Sooners.
The Horned Frogs almost threw it away late, but the defense stepped up in the fourth quarter to make key defensive stops.
The schedule doesn't get any easier for undefeated TCU. The Horned Frogs hit the road in their next game, playing the No. 7 Baylor Bears in Waco, Texas. After that, they get No. 21 Oklahoma State at home. The game against Baylor will determine who is the class of the Big 12 this year.
Oklahoma's chances of making the four-team playoff at the end of the year aren't completely gone, given Alabama and Oregon's losses. The Sooners will need to run the table the rest of the way in order to impress the selection committee, however.