Oklahoma’s defense was torched by TCU in an embarrassing 55-24 loss

If you assumed that hiring Brent Venables from Oklahoma would automatically lead to improved defensive play, you’d be wrong.

A week after getting burned by Adrian Martinez and Kansas State in a 41-34 home loss, the Sooners went to TCU and turned in an even worse defensive performance. In an embarrassing 55-24 loss, Oklahoma allowed TCU to gain 668 yards and average 8.9 yards per play.

Along the way, TCU scored touchdowns of 73, 67, 62 and 69 yards en route to a complete rout of Fort Worth. The 73- and 62-yard touchdowns were complete coverage breakdowns where TCU’s receiver was running completely free. The other two long touchdowns were runs that left TCU players untouched.

The Sooners simply had no answer for TCU’s offense. The Horned Frogs led 27-10 by the end of the first quarter and that lead grew to 41-17 at halftime. To that point, TCU had racked up a whopping 479 yards of offense and averaged 10.2 yards per play.

Oklahoma’s offense tried to keep pace early, but fumbles and turnovers on downs put the Sooners behind. Dylan Gabriel, the Oklahoma transfer quarterback from UCF, also brought down several receivers for potential big plays.

And to make matters worse for OU, Gabriel was knocked out of the game in the second quarter after taking a dirty, late slide hit from TCU linebacker Jamoy Hodge.

With Gabriel sidelined and the defense unable to get a stop, there was virtually no chance for the Sooners to come back.

TCU running back Kendre Miller (33) breaks free from Oklahoma quarterback Kanye Walker (26) for a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, in Fort Worth , Texas. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Oklahoma has work to do, TCU looks like a Big 12 contender

With the loss, Oklahoma falls to 3-2 on the year and is now 0-2 in Big 12 play to begin the Venables era in Norman. Venables was one of the best defensive coordinators in the country during his time at Clemson, but he clearly has a lot to fix before next week’s rivalry game against Texas.

The Sooners saw a significant departure of players from the program after Lincoln Riley left for USC and were subsequently forced to add many of their own players from the transfer portal. As a result, there are plenty of new and inexperienced players getting significant action for Oklahoma this year.

Still, many expected Oklahoma to be better defensively with a coach of Venables’ caliber now running the show. With Riley as coach, OU often had explosive offenses but struggled defensively. The Sooners won four Big 12 titles in Riley’s five seasons and made three trips to the College Football Playoff. All three of those trips resulted in losses in the semifinals.

OU fans seemed confident that Venables could be the man to lift the Sooners to the very top of the sport. If this can be accomplished, it obviously won’t happen quickly.

Through the three weeks, the new-look Sooners played well – on both sides of the ball. The Sooners had convincing wins over UTEP, Kent State and Nebraska, but things changed dramatically once the level of competition increased.

Last week, Kansas State rolled into Norman and put up 509 yards of offense, including 275 on the ground. This week’s outing was much worse as TCU torched the Sooners. The Horned Frogs finished Saturday’s game with 307 through the air and 361 on the ground.

The Sooners had no answer for anything TCU sent.

TCU is now off to a 4-0 start in its first season under Sonny Dykes. Dykes came over from SMU and brought his high-powered offense with him.

The Big 12 is wide open and the Horned Frogs look like a team with a chance to play a big role in this contest.

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