Posted: Saturday September 3, 2005 6:11PM; Updated: Saturday September 3, 2005 6:14PM
Will this be the start of a sophomore slump for vaunted OU back Adrian Peterson?
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Apparently the 2005 Oklahoma Sooners didn't get the memo from their '03 and '04 predecessors: You're supposed to lay an egg the last week of the season, not the first.
We knew Bob Stoops had some rebuilding on his hands this season. We knew the departure of a Heisman-winning quarterback (Jason White), two All-America offensive linemen (Jammal Brown and Vince Carter) and three NFL-drafted receivers (Mark Clayton, Mark Bradley and Brandon Jones) would make for some growing pains on offense. We knew Oklahoma would be unlikely to produce a fourth straight 12-win season.
Never in a million years did we guess the Sooners would lose to TCU. While the college football world spent much of the past eight months questioning whether this would be the year Texas finally beat Oklahoma, no one bothered to wonder whether Texas Christian would get to the Sooners first.
Not that the Horned Frogs aren't an admirable adversary. They went 11-2 just two years ago, 10-2 the year before that. But Oklahoma's put up those kind of records for five years now, and the Sooners have done it playing in the Big 12, not Conference USA.
The Sooners have appeared in three of the past five national title games. They've lost a grand total of seven games the past five years, and had dropped just one home game in six seasons under Stoops.
They should not be losing to TCU.
It was apparent from the game's earliest moments that the Sooners might be in trouble. Reigning Heisman runner-up Adrian Peterson's first eight carries netted a combined five yards. Meanwhile, first-time starting QB Paul Thompson was busy underthrowing receivers and fumbling at the TCU 4. Peterson's struggles weren't entirely unexplainable; the Horned Frogs have consistently fielded one of the nation's top rushing defenses under head coach Gary Patterson. OU's passing troubles posed a slightly bigger concern, considering TCU fielded the nation's 117th-ranked pass defense -- dead last in Division I-A -- just last season.
Oklahoma, down 10-0 at halftime, finally put together a solid, 72-yard touchdown drive to start the third quarter, ending with an 11-yard Peterson run, but it would be the offense's lone highlight the entire afternoon. If not for a botched TCU punt on its own 16-yard line, the Sooners may never even have tied the score.