NORMAN — Bob Stoops wasn't about to let some shakiness at the end overshadow the night his defense had Saturday in the Sooners' 20-17 win over TCU.
For many years it's been the offense leading the way to most Sooner wins.
This year, in Mike Stoops' second season back as defensive coordinator, it's becoming common for the defense to bring OU home to victory.
That was the case against the Horned Frogs, with the defense playing near flawless in the first half while the Sooners offense wasn't exactly chugging along.
Through the first half, TCU had no first downs. They didn't even get particularly close, with a couple of third-and-sixes the nearest the Horned Frogs got to a first down in the first two quarters.
“I don't think that's happened with anyone that I've been a part of,” Bob Stoops said. “They played sensational. The guys were aggressive, fast, played the run, played the pass really well.”
The Sooners did it by bottling up speedy TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin, getting pressure on him from the outside and not allowing him to find extra time--or room to run--on the outside.
Boykin rushed for 18 yards on 12 carries and threw for just 166--45 on one play late
“He's a tough guy to pin down for a whole game,” Mike Stoops said. “We wanted to keep edge pressure to try to keep him contained.
“We wanted to make things uncomfortable if we could for him. For the most part we did. We got disorganized late in the third quarter.”
The Horned Frogs also went three-and-out on the first drive of the third, stretching the Sooners' streak of holding teams without a first down to 10 consecutive drives going back to the Notre Dame game.
“We were physically outmatched in the first half,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said.
But things weren't near perfect down the stretch.
Offense and special teams didn't help much, with a three-and-out giving the Horned Frogs good field position and then after TCU kicked a field goal, allowing an onside kick to be recovered leading to another long drive by TCU.
“Situations like that happen, so we've got to be ready for it,” linebacker Eric Striker said. “We practice those type of things so when something like that happens, with a quick exchange, we're ready.”
They also struggled with injuries. Jordan Phillips didn't play at all and linebacker Corey Nelson and defensive back Julian Wilson were both lost with injuries in the second half, Nelson with a shoulder injury and Wilson with a leg injury.
Bob Stoops said he wasn't sure of either player's status for next weeks' game against Texas, though he did say he didn't think either injury was major.
Striker, who has been a key piece all season rushing off the edge, played an even more noticeable role against the Horned Frogs.
The sophomore was in the backfield regularly early. Though he finished with just two sacks — one for a loss — he made things difficult on Boykin.
“I was in the backfield more than I've ever been,” Striker said.
Another sophomore, defensive end Charles Tapper, recorded a pair of sacks as the Sooners got to Boykin four times.
“We just have to continue to be physical,” Tapper said. “At halftime, we feel like we have to start all over again. We have to come and be physical against them all over again.”