OU football notebook: T.J. Pledger's big day, Gabe Brkic's bounce-back and a strange first-quarter call
FORT WORTH, Texas — T.J. Pledger had his second consecutive big day for OU on Saturday, running for 122 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries in the Sooners’ 33-14 win over TCU at Amon G. Carter Stadium.
Over the last two games, Pledger has 44 carries for 253 yards and three touchdowns.
Before the Texas game, Pledger had 64 carries for 332 yards and one score.
“Just being patient and being able to go through my reads quicker through reps and experience,” Pledger said. “Things are starting to move at a better pace and with the O-line blocking and opening up those big holes that they do, they make it easy on us backs.”
The Sooners’ run game struggled early in the season, but OU coach Lincoln Riley said his team showed progress in that department for the fourth consecutive game.
“(Pledger) just keeps getting better,” Riley said. “It’s not where we want it with him or any part of the run game but it’s getting close.”
The Sooners also got freshman Seth McGowan back after he missed the Texas game with an injury. McGowan had 11 carries for 41 yards and added a 43-yard catch.
That depth looks like it’ll continue to build with the return of Rhamondre Stevenson expected next week against Texas Tech.
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Stevenson ran for 515 yards and six touchdowns — averaging 8.0 yards per carry — last season before being suspended prior to the Peach Bowl for a positive NCAA drug test.
Stevenson isn’t the only player expected to be added to the Sooners’ offense before next week’s game. Receiver Trejan Bridges was also among the trio of suspended players and is also expected to return next week.
Brkic comes back strong
After missing a potential game-winning kick against Texas, Gabe Brkic bounced back in a big way, tying a school record with four field goals.
Brkic hit kicks of 40, 22, 32 and 30 yards, the final one coming in the final minute of the game.
It’s the 10th time a Sooners kicker has made four field goals in a game, and the second time by Brkic. He also hit four in last season’s loss at Kansas State.
Brkic could’ve broken the record if it wasn’t for a penalty late in the second quarter.
A false start call on guard Tyrese Robinson on third down helped give Brkic a 54-yard try in the final minute of the second.
Brkic’s kick came down right on the crossbar and bounced forward. It was Brkic’s third miss of the season. Only the 31-yarder against the Longhorns, though, was well within Brkic’s range.
He also missed a 54-yarder against Iowa State, though that one went wide.
It didn't wind up hurting the Sooners, but they caught a bit of a bad break at the end of the first when TCU's Derius Davis fumbled a punt return.
Davis was initially awarded a fair catch but looked like he was shielding his eyes from the sun, and that was confirmed when he took off running.
The Sooners recovered the fumble immediately but the whistle had blown the play dead earlier and the Horned Frogs kept possessions.
But TCU punted and a few plays later, Marvin Mims scored the first of his two touchdowns to put the Sooners ahead 17-0.