By Jamie Plunkett
Frogs Today staff writer
FORT WORTH — TCU blew the doors off the Sooner Schooner on Saturday morning, sending a message to the rest of the Big 12 Conference in the process. The Horned Frogs racked up over 600 yards of offense for the second time this season en route to a 55-24 victory.
It was only the second time that a Brent Venables defense has allowed 55 points to an opponent.
Max Duggan started the game despite Chandler Morris being a full participant in practice this week, and threw for 302 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 116 yards and two more touchdowns.
Kendre Miller had his second consecutive 130-plush yard rushing performance, with 136 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries.
The Frogs jumped on the Sooners right from the start, even though their defense was the first unit on the field.
Oklahoma won the coin toss and elected to receive, but it almost immediately backfired on them. On the Sooners’ second play of the drive, Dillon Gabriel threw a pass into the flat to Marvin Mims, who caught it and turned up field. Safety Abe Camara was right there to force a fumble, and Dee Winters fell on the ball to recover it.
TCU took advantage of the Sooners turnover. After a pass interference put the Frogs in the red zone, Duggan found Savion Williams on a 19-yard touchdown pass.
Oklahoma responded with a field goal, but that’s as close as they would be the rest of the day.
On TCU’s next possession, Duggan found Taye Barber on a 73-yard touchdown pass. Griffin Kell missed the extra point, giving the Frogs a 13-3 lead.
Oklahoma showed some aggressive play calling that has become more common in today’s game, going for it on fourth down on their next drive. The Frogs managed to induce an incomplete pass from Gabriel, forcing the turnover on downs. One play later Duggan ran it 67 yards to the house to put the Frogs up 20-3. It was Duggan’s first rushing touchdown of the season and the 20th of his career.
Oklahoma got one back moments later. A big pass from Gabriel to Brayden Willis set up an Eric Gray 1-yard touchdown run, cutting the Frogs’ lead to 20-10.
TCU refused to let the Sooners back in the game. They marched right down the field, capping the drive with a Miller 15-yard touchdown rush at the end of the first quarter.
The Frogs forced a punt early in the second quarter, thanks to good coverage from Tre Hodges-Tomlinson. Emari Demercado extended TCU’s lead on the ensuing drive. His 36-yard run to the Oklahoma 1 run set up an encore for Demercado, who punched it in to put the Frogs up 34-10.
A scary moment took place in the second quarter, when Gabriel scrambled on second down and slid just short of the line to gain. Jamoi Hodge lowered his helmet and hit Gabriel hard, drawing a targeting flag and an ejection.
Gabriel stayed down on the field for several minutes before walking off under his own power. Oklahoma’s medical staff examined him on the sideline before taking him back to the locker room. He did not return to the game.
Backup quarterback Davis Beville replaced Gabriel, but he served as a means to get Oklahoma’s running backs the ball. The Sooners didn’t attempt a pass for the rest of the drive, but Jovantae Barnes broke free for a 20-yard touchdown to pull the Sooners within 17, 34-17.
Meanwhile, TCU continued its onslaught on offense, getting yet another receiver involved on a deep touchdown. Duggan, showing patience in the pocket, found a completely uncovered Gunnar Henderson for a 62-yard touchdown to put the Frogs up 41-17, where the score would stay at halftime.
Both teams seemed intent to get the game over in the second half, with TCU running the ball to great effect and the Sooners not putting up much of a challenge offensively.
Touchdown runs from Miller and Duggan, each their second of the game, put the Frogs up 55-17 early in the fourth quarter. The Sooners managed one more touchdown the rest of the way, before the Frogs put the game on ice.
Another scary moment took place in the fourth quarter, when defensive back Damond Harmon went down for the Sooners. He stayed down on the field for more than 10 minutes, as trainers tended to his head and neck area. Harmon was carted off the field, but managed to give the crowd a thumbs up on his way out.
TCU now heads to Kansas next weekend for a matchup with the Jayhawks, with the goal of proving that this game wasn’t an anomaly but the new standard for Horned Frogs football.
Jamie Plunkett, firstname.lastname@example.org