I expect to hear about lots of thank you cards mailed by OU faithful to Aaron Judge, the New York Yankees, and ESPN for at least a brief reprieve from watching the Frogs frolick unabated up and down the field in their first win against the Sooners in nine attempts.
TCU seemed more like Cobra Kai than the underdog-personified Miyagi-Do on Saturday. The Horned Frogs struck first, struck fast, and showed no mercy. Maybe Oklahoma was confused and thought sweeping the leg might be a superior style of tackling as the hometown boys racked up an almost unfathomable 668 yards of offense.
The Saturday morning kickoff was out of hand before noon. Head coach Sonny Dykes’ offense exploded for 27 first-quarter points and then two touchdowns in the second and third quarters, respectively. A sobering situation regarding a potential head and neck injury to Oklahoma’s Damond Harmon (#17) ground the game to a half-hour delay midway through the fourth quarter. After Harmon was carted off the field, both coaches seemed content to run the football — and therefore the clock — and move on from a game that had been disastrous in multiple facets for the visiting Sooners. Harmon was cleared of potential catastrophic injury and released from the hospital to travel back to Norman.
The knock on the Frogs leading to this game — and rightfully so — was that no one knew their identity from playing admittedly meager competition with the exception of SMU. We know more now, but the Sooners seemed to have put in their scout-team defense on Saturday. Still, it’s hard to deny that behind senior QB Max Duggan (#15), the Frogs seem mature and focused, with playmakers to spare. The Sooner secondary, in addition to surrendering multiple touchdowns on completely blown coverages, struggled to cover purple receivers even when running stride for stride with them or slow Frog rushers in top gear. Quentin Johnston (#1) amassed only four catches but collected two pass interference calls when he was literally tackled by his defender. The referees grew fearful of Dykes near the end of the half after they missed a bang-bang pass interference that killed a potential scoring drive before stymying Frog punt returner Derius Davis (#11), who clearly didn’t make a fair catch call but was stopped via whistle as he started to blast off against an out-of-position crimson-and-cream coverage team. Running back Kendre Miller (#33) topped 100 yards for the second consecutive week, and Duggan joined him by rushing for more than a century himself. Six different Frogs appeared in Oklahoma’s endzone with the ball while OU dropped their second consecutive conference game for only the second time in almost 20 years.
The hype train has arrived, and it’s riff-ramming into Fort Worth much sooner than anticipated. Dykes could call a mulligan this year — he didn’t necessarily have to win yet. Every school, even higher-profile programs like Notre Dame or Texas, will tolerate a down year while transitioning staff. Dykes hasn’t needed administrative mercy, so far, and he’s received his first national ranking as TCU’s head coach at 17th in the AP.
Which brings us to something I never thought I’d see: College Gameday is going to Lawrence, Kansas, next week for TCU-KU, and it’s not an elaborate troll. Kansas, under second-year head coach Lance Leipold, is undefeated and ranked 19th in the land. The Jayhawks started their season with an overtime conference win against West Virginia before beating the Houston Cougars, but they’re fresh off a clunker of a game hosting Iowa State in which they escaped with an unscathed record thanks to three missed Cyclone field goals.
Classically, even good Frog squads have struggled against Kansas, but it seems we need to dismantle our old assumptions about what a purple-clad offensive unit can be. KU, with the exception of last week, has been scoring boatloads of points primarily on the dynamism of quarterback Jalon Daniels (#6), whom ignorant fans can think of as an under-the-radar Trevone Boykin thanks to his ability to evade pressure and punish defenses that break contain. Daniels also possesses a pop-gun arm and has had 300-plus-yard performances through the air. The Jayhawks will go as their leader does, so if Daniels is having an off day — like he did through the air against ISU — they’re supremely beatable.
Despite how wrong I was about TCU’s likelihood of running roughshod over the Sooners — no one really saw that coming; don’t lie, it’s unattractive — I’m secure in asserting that the Frogs are a much more complete team than Kansas. Daniels could very well be the best player on the field Saturday morning, or at least the most essential to his team’s success, but TCU have shown themselves capable of winning on multiple fronts and feature difference makers in all three phases of the game. Should one facet of Frog fury fall quiet, there are others whom Dykes and company can rely upon for production. The defense will want to keep Daniels in front of them the entire game, and the end result should be the prompt squashing of college football’s feel-good story of the year as Kansas falls at home to your Horned Frogs.