The Sooner defense was sensational early and suspect late. The OU offense went dormant in the second half but revived enough to save the game. And the grades reflect such wide-ranging performance.
Pass rush: A. TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin is not an accomplished passer, but he can hurt defenses with his feet. But the Sooners corralled him well. Boykin was sacked four times, and he broke free for only one scramble that hurt, a 12-yard gain. Charles Tapper had two of the sacks; Aaron Colvin and Jordan Wade also had sacks.
Short-yardage offense: A. I know it doesn't seem like it, but the Sooners were perfect in short-yardage situations. They five times faced third or fourth down with less than four yards needed. And OU converted all five. One problem, though; Josh Heupel felt the need to throw on four of those situations. The only short-yardage run success came on a 4th-and-2 Belldozer run that gained seven yards.
National anthem: A. Six vintage planes, flown by the Warbird Pilots, staged a flyover during the Pride of Oklahoma's “Star-Spangled Banner.” Always cool to have a flyover; even cooler when all six pilots are Oklahoma civilians with either combat experience or active-duty status in the Vietnam War – Col. Paul Mackey from Creek County, Navy Cmdr. Steve Campbell of Tulsa, Maj. Fred Ruefer of Muskogee, Maj. Mike Hahn of Shawnee, Lt. Col. Charlie Sublett of Tulsa and Sgt. Ken Woodhead of Tulsa.
Pass blocking: B. The Sooners allowed three sacks — but don't blame the offensive line much. The Frogs have a good pass rush, plus much of the pressure on Blake Bell was prompted by sticky coverage of OU receivers. Bell held the ball too long a few times instead of just throwing it away, but he also scrambled for decent yardage.
First-down defense: B. The root of TCU's first-half malaise was first down. The Frogs had six first-down plays in the first half and threw three incompletions, plus Boykin was sacked. On the other two first-down plays, TCU gained three and four yards, respectively. That's how the Frogs came to never coming closer than six yards from a first down. But that changed in the second half. TCU had 16 first-down plays after intermission; five gained at least eight yards and another resulted in a 15-yard penalty against OU. But the Sooners in the second half did turn back the Frogs for five lost-yardage plays on first down, plus two incompletions.
Students: D. The student section was close to full at kickoff but thinned out in the second half of a tight ballgame. That usually deserves a C, but not a week after Notre Dame and the sight of the Fighting Irish student body filling up several sections, staying all game long and choreographing a variety of cool chants.
Kicking game: C. Michael Hunnicutt nailed his two field-goal attempts, from 39 and 37 yards, and the Sooners neither allowed nor produced a return of meaningful distance. But a deep onside kick bounced off tight end Brannon Green, giving TCU an extra possession that swung momentum and could have cost OU the game.
Blake Bell: B. The OU passing game wasn't working well — Bell finished 20 of 31 for just 152 yards, with three sacks and a long play of just 19 yards. But he gained 24 yards on three scrambles and finished with 61 yards on 14 carries, including two huge runs as OU tried to run out the clock — 13- and 17-yard runs off options.