ESPN analyst Matt Millen credited the Sooners for keeping TCU out of the end zone on the Horned Frogs' final drive Saturday afternoon.
Stacy McGee's pass rush forced a crucial holding penalty, and then later on fourth down, Tony Jefferson's tight pass coverage kept Josh Boyce from making a catch in the end zone as the Sooners held on for the 24-17 victory.
“It was obvious,” Millen said of the holding call. “Stacy McGee beat him clean and (Blaize) Foltz just grabbed him.”
On the pass, he said, “Tony Jefferson finished the game the way he started, making plays. Jefferson played well all game long. … Josh Boyce had it – Gary Patterson knew it, he knew it – he didn't come down with it.”
All three state teams – OU, OSU and Tulsa – were playing on national TV at 11 a.m., which made for a lot of channel-flipping on the final week of the season.
Millen, a former Detroit Lions executive, raved about Patterson's coaching all game long, despite the fact the Horned Frogs went winless at home in the Big 12 and 4-5 in its debut season in the conference.
“This may be one of the best-coached teams in all of college football,” he said early in the game. “They don't beat themselves.”
He also gave the Sooners' offensive players plenty of credit. On Landry Jones' 24-yard pass to Jalen Saunders, he said, “An outstanding throw by Landry Jones. Why? Great protection. He has time, steps and throws and Saunders does exactly what's he supposed to do.”
Millen called Saunders “a nice-looking slot receiver. He has excellent quickness.”
On Damien Williams' 66-yard touchdown run to start the second half and give OU a 21-7 lead, he credited left tackle Lane Johnson for a crucial block. “He (Johnson) got the edge right away and he (Williams) was out the gate… And once he has that green, you don't catch him.”
Play-by-play announcer Joe Tessitore was surprised that his photo was used by TCU on its play calls. Sideline reporter Shannon Spake explained that it was used by the Horned Frogs to keep OU from seeing it play calls.
“No comment,” Tessitore said. “I was at the race track. I don't know why I was smiling. They usually hand me the tickets already ripped up.”