NORMAN — Oklahoma leads TCU 13-0 at halftime of Saturday’s game on Owen Field. Here’s some first-half thoughts, notes and statistics as we head into the third quarter.
WHAT STOOD OUT
* Defense, defense defense
Oklahoma’s defense has been positively dominant through two quarters, allowing TCU just 16 total yards of offense — minus-1 rushing yards — and not a single first down. The Sooners are putting good pressure on Trevon Boykin, limiting his ability to be dangerous with his feet, and not allowing the TCU wideouts anything.
Sophomore linebacker Eric Striker has applied much of the best pressure on Boykin from his outside linebacker/stand-up defensive end spot.
* Durron Neal
Entering this game, sophomore receiver Durron Neal had caught six passes for 91 yards this season. In one half against TCU, he’s got four catches and 42 yards, including three straight grabs on the Sooners’ lone touchdown drive so far. The second of those came on a fourth-and-3 play from the TCU 32-yard line that kept the scoring drive alive.
* No Jordan Phillips or Trey Metoyer
Sophomore defensive tackle Jordan Phillips has been outstanding through the Sooners’ first four games, but suffered a leg injury late in the Notre Dame win last weekend. A source close to the program told me before the game that Phillips was being held out of the action against TCU for “precautionary” reasons and that he’d be fine for the Red River Rivalry game next weekend. Redshirt freshman Jordan Wade and junior Torrea Peterson have seen the bulk of the action in Phillips’ place and played really well.
Sophomore receiver Trey Metoyer, on the other hand, is nowhere to be found. The former five-star prospect didn’t warm up with the team and isn’t on the sideline. For more on Metoyer, click here.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR IN THE SECOND HALF
* The Belldozer
Last week at Notre Dame, Oklahoma coaches tried to run Blake Bell in a few short-yardage situations to no avail. But the plays didn’t come out of the traditional Belldozer package, with two fullbacks joining Bell in the backfield. The Sooners have only called on Bell to run in one short-yardage situation so far against TCU. It came midway through the first quarter on a fourth-and-2 from the TCU 28-yard line, and Bell picked up four yards in a more recognizable Belldozer set, with fullbacks Trey Millard and Aaron Ripkowski in the backfield. It was the first actual Belldozer play of the season and worked so well, that I imagine we’ll see more of it.
* OU’s run game
The Sooners have picked up 81 yards on the ground so far, but they’ve come on 23 carries. Brennan Clay and Damien Williams have each picked up 21 yards on five and seven carries, respectively. The Sooners are going to need better production out of their running backs moving forward, but with the way OU’s defense is playing tonight, it may not matter against TCU.
* Third-down conversions
Oklahoma has picked up both of its fourth-down conversion attempts, but is only 2 for 8 on third-down attempts. That’s been a problem the past couple games and is going to have to improve. Entering Saturday’s game, OU had converted 29 of 64 third-down attempts (45 percent).
Offense: QB Blake Bell; HB Brennan Clay; WR Jaz Reynolds; WR Lacoltan Bester; WR Sterling Shepard; WR Jalen Saunders; OT Tyrus Thompson; OG Bronson Irwin; C Gabe Ikard; OG Adam Shead; OT Daryl Williams.
Defense: DE Chuka Ndulue; DT Jordan Wade; DE Charles Tapper; LB Eric Striker; LB Frank Shannon; LB Corey Nelson; CB Aaron Colvin; FS Gabe Lynn; SS Quentin Hayes; NB Julian Wilson; CB Zack Zanchez.
HALFTIME STATISTICAL LEADERS
Passing — OU: Blake Bell 16-20, 119 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT; TCU: Trevon Boykin 5-9, 17 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT.
Rushing — OU: Blake Bell 10-31; TCU: B.J. Catalon 2-6.
Receiving — OU: Durron Neal 4-42, Sterling Shepard 3-30; TCU: Ty Slanina 3-11, Cam White 1-5.
Tackles — OU: Corey Nelson 4, Frank Shannon 3, Chuka Ndulue 3; TCU: Jonathan Anderson 7, Chris Hackett 5, Kevin White 5, Jason Verrett 5.