NORMAN — As Oklahoma’s offensive players trotted off the field after a quick, unsuccessful series early in the third quarter, line coach Bill Bedenbaugh met his captain on the sideline.
The ensuing, animated exchange with senior center Gabe Ikard wouldn’t be Bedenbaugh’s last tongue-lashing of the night, and Ikard knows to expect plenty more where that came from in practice next week.
“Basically, the only positive thing he said, ‘Congratulations on winning; it’s always good when you win,’” Ikard said. “And then the rest of it was — to paraphrase — ‘We’ve got a lot of work to do.’”
Oklahoma held on to beat TCU 20-17 Saturday night on Owen Field after nearly blowing its 13-point halftime lead in a rough third quarter.
Facing a tough, disciplined Horned Frogs defense, Oklahoma struggled to get much going offensively early in Saturday’s game, but the Sooners put together two impressive drives to end the second quarter and take a two-possession lead into the break.
TCU’s offense didn’t pick up a single first down before halftime, making the 13-point advantage seem secure.
The Sooners totaled only four yards on eight offensive plays in the third frame, though, and didn’t manage a second-half first down until 10:52 remained in the fourth quarter, allowing the Horned Frogs to work their way back into the game.
“We came out flat,” said quarterback Blake Bell. “We were in so many third-and-longs, so I think it just stems from that. We need to stay ahead of the chains like we did last week.”
The Sooners held a nine-minute advantage in first-half time of possession, but only had the ball for 2:12 in the third quarter as TCU rallied to within three points.
Oklahoma (5-0, 2-0 Big 12) finished with a season-low 355 yards of total offense Saturday, and that might’ve been much, much lower if not for senior running back Brennan Clay’s 76-yard, fourth-quarter touchdown.
“We did break the big run at the end of the game that changes the statistics, changes the yards-per-rush, all of that stuff, and if you didn’t see the game it looks like we ran the ball really well and we didn’t,” said OU coach Bob Stoops.
After Clay’s touchdown, TCU answered with its own impressive scoring drive to pull back within three points with just over two minutes left.
Bell picked up two first downs, though, on 13- and 17-yard rushes, allowing the Sooners to drain the game clock, escape with a narrow victory and remain unbeaten another day.
“They got the best of a couple guys on our line a few times,” Ikard said. “We need to protect Blake better. I just know coach Bedenbaugh’s gonna be after us so bad this week in practice.
“It wasn’t pretty, but we’re 5-0.”