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Oklahoma Blown Away by TCU on the Road: More Week 5 Reactions, Analysis

The Sooners got a spanking from TCU, while the top-10 Kentucky Wildcats were downed by Ole Miss on the road.
Additional reporting by Pat Forde

Oklahoma’s had bad performances, despite its championship pedigree and Playoff-level performances over the last few years … but Saturday reminded us that, despite the fact that defensive savant Brent Venables has taken over the program, old problems still remain. The Sooners got absolutely shelled basically from the opening whistle by TCU in a 55–24 loss on the road, their second loss in a row in conference play. In total, the Sooners allowed explosive passing plays of 62 and 73 yards, as well as big rushing plays of 35, 36, 67 and 69 yards to a TCU team coached by pass-happy Sonny Dykes. The Frogs scored 41 first half points in a game that was quickly a laugher.

In addition to their defensive performance, what path the Sooners offense takes from here will be something to keep tabs on as quarterback Dillon Gabriel left the field with an apparent head injury after being hit high while sliding. Later in the game, Damond Harmon also went down for the Sooners with an apparent head and neck injury. The injury delayed the end of the game for several minutes. 

In the span of two weeks, the Sooners’ season seems close to unraveling in Venables’ maiden voyage.

Driving to try and win the game, Kentucky’s Will Levis fumbled the ball in the red zone with the game on the line. It was his second fourth quarter fumble of the game. 

The Cats got big contributions from returning running back Chris Rodriguez, but the story of the day was a feisty Ole Miss pass rush that hassled Levis for much of the game, also causing him to throw an intentional grounding in the end zone while being nearly sacked, resulting in a safety.

One top team that wasn't at risk of falling—Michigan.

Jim Harbaugh gave a brief postgame history lesson on the term “blue collar,” noting that it originated in the state of Iowa. The phrase connotes tough-minded, hard workers, and the Michigan coach liked the way his team embodied it in dominating Iowa, 27-14.

“I’ve always tried to have our team be about that, the blue-collar mentality,” Harbaugh said. “People that do manual labor. People that do work. We respect that. We try to be about that."

The Wolverines were all about that Saturday. This was a mindset game for the No. 4 team in the country.

It was their first road game after opening with four straight at home, and it was in a place where Michigan hadn’t won since 2005, and Kinnick Stadium has been a graveyard for top-five opponents since 2008. (Five of the last six visiting teams ranked that high left Iowa City with a loss, including a Harbaugh-coached Michigan squad in 2016.)

Harbaugh’s team responded by teasing the crowd before the game, then silencing it on the first drive. Some of the players broke out pink towels and waved them, a nod to Kinnick’s famous, pink-painted visiting locker room. Then the Wolverines took the opening kickoff 75 yards in 11 methodical plays for a touchdown, building a 20-0 lead and draining the energy from the stadium.

Whatever intimidation the Hawkeyes tried to throw at the Wolverines, it bounced off them.

“We wanted to embrace everything they threw at us,” Michigan defensive lineman Mike Morris said. “They have a pink locker room, thinking it’s going to be some kind of adversity. … We love the hate. We love everything about it. All we have to do is nut up and put on our big-boy pants. We did that.” — Pat Forde


  • Minnesota has been a statistical buzzsaw to date this season, but met a game Purdue team that finally gave them a challenge. The Gophers picked up their first loss of the season at home 20-10.
  • It can’t be held against you if you counted out Boston College after a woeful start to the season, but Phil Jurkovech reestablished his connection with Zay Flowers, and BC upset Louisville 34-33. The celebration of that win may have been a bit early, however: