via The Sports Xchange
NORMAN, Okla. — Fifth-ranked Oklahoma has made a habit of playing close games this season.
On Saturday night against No. 6 TCU, the Sooners showed the flashy offense that it had displayed all season but this time displayed solid defense, especially early in their 38-20 victory.
Oklahoma won the game with several pieces that weren’t much of a factor early in the season.
Running back Rodney Anderson, who fell to fourth on the depth chart and out of the regular rotation early in the season, had a fourth consecutive monster game.
Anderson ran for 151 yards and two touchdowns, and caught five passes for 139 yards and a pair of scores.
“He was tremendous tonight,” Sooners coach Lincoln Riley said, before looking down at the stat sheet and mouthing, “Wow.”
Added Riley: “He was awesome. He’s got a unique skill set in that he can kind of do it all. He’s been awesome for us here for several weeks in a row.”
In his last four games, Anderson has 590 yards rushing after gaining 82 over the first six games for the Sooners (9-1, 6-1 Big 12).
“They were a great defense,” Anderson said. “But our offensive line did a great job. When they do good, I do good. That’s all.”
TCU (8-2, 5-2) entered the game allowing fewer than 70 rushing yards per game.
Oklahoma also used several newcomers on the defensive side, starting four true freshmen — three of whom were making their first career starts.
“It’s a very uncomfortable situation playing four true freshman,” Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. “I don’t know if it’s ever been done here at Oklahoma. But that’s the position we were in.”
The Sooners had their best defensive performance during conference play, holding the Horned Frogs to three touchdowns and 424 yards on 13 drives. TCU had 170 yards in the first quarter.
TCU quarterback Kenny Hill threw for 270 yards and a touchdown.
The Horned Frogs lost running back Darius Anderson to an injury in the second quarter.
“Big loss,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said. “Who’s the next guy? If you were complaining not enough carries, guess what? Now it’s your turn and you didn’t look that good. Somebody better step up.”
It might not be the last time the teams meet this season.
The Sooners are a game ahead of second-place Oklahoma State and TCU with two games to play. Oklahoma has beaten each of those teams this season. The Horned Frogs have the head-to-head win over the Cowboys.
The top two teams in the league meet in the Big 12 championship game on Dec. 2 in Arlington, Texas.
Baker Mayfield had another strong game, bolstering his Heisman Trophy case with 333 yards and three touchdowns. Mayfield threw for 299 yards in the first half as the Sooners built a 38-14 lead.
Mayfield is looking for more — from himself and Oklahoma’s offense as a whole.
“We haven’t even arrived yet,” Mayfield said. “We’ve still got a long way to go.”
Late in the second quarter and trailing by 17, TCU faced a fourth-and-3 from the Oklahoma 39.
Instead of going for it, Patterson elected to punt it after TCU took a delay-of-game penalty.
The decision gave the Sooners the ball back with 1:16 remaining in the half and 87 yards to go.
The Sooners promptly moved the ball down the field on a 51-yard pass from Mayfield to Marquis Brown and scored two plays later. TCU linebacker Travin Howard jumped on Anderson’s back just inside the 10, but the Sooners’ running back dragged Howard to the end zone to finish off the 33-yard touchdown catch for his fourth score of the first half.
“The touchdown that hurt the most was the one before the half with seven seconds left,” Patterson said. “That should have never happened.”