Oklahoma displays a Dominant Offense & New Defense Against TCU

October 22, 2018 6:56 AM
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In another stunning performance by Kyler Murray, No. 9 Oklahoma improves to 6-1 after defeating TCU, 52-27, on the road.

Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray recorded four touchdowns, finishing 19-24 with 213 yards. Throwing his 25th touchdown of the season, he became the first player since Sam Bradford (26) in 2008 to throw that many touchdowns through the first seven games of the season for Oklahoma.

Oklahoma’s typical offensive power was no surprise, as the Sooners have been averaging 48 points per game. However, Oklahoma’s post Stoops defense, a question mark coming in off a 48-point debacle against Texas, was up to the task.

The Sooners scored on their first four possessions, which made the game 28-7 in the middle of the second quarter. Despite holding TCU to only seven points at that time, the Horned Frogs stormed back, scoring an unanswered 17 points to tie the game at the half.

For a moment, it seemed things had yet to change for the Sooners under interim defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill.

Yet, after some halftime adjustments, the Sooners came out and were able to hold TCU to only a field goal the entire second half. McNeill looked at his players’ performance admirably.

“It’s what we expect,” he said. “The fight does not surprise me.”

The past two weeks have been a developing process for the Sooners as they adjusted to Stoops’ departure. However, McNeill seemed to have gained trust and faith from his team.

The night before the game, McNeill, his staff, and OU’s defense reviewed their play call sheet. Any play at the defense didn’t like was removed.

“If they didn’t like anything on the call sheet, they had permission to tell me, and we would erase it, because I wanted them to understand the call sheet.”

This method may prove to be effective for Oklahoma after Mike Stoops was criticized for a defensive scheme that may have been too complicated for it to be executed well. McNeill’s philosophy seems to be much more simple, while enhancing the communication between the staff and the defense.

Even on plays that Oklahoma’s defense gave up, the secondary regularly contested passes, something they were not consistently doing under Stoops. The wiggle room in McNeill’s scheme allows their defensive playmakers to perform as true athletes, rather than performing more slowly to adhere to the system.

“I was proud of how the players reacted to the transition. It was very physical, it was very different for them. But they handled it with grace, honor, pride,” McNeill said. “We talked about those expectations and situations in the game that may happen and we just called it F-I-D-O. ‘Forget it and drive on.’”

Oklahoma will drive on next week when they play Kansas State at home, hoping to improve on their AP Ranking as they hunt for a spot in the playoffs.

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