Andrew Gilman

Season turns on punt return penalty

Season turns on punt return penalty

This was the day when we saw the beginning of Joe Mixon.

And likely the beginning of his last season, too. Mixon saved the day Saturday against TCU and maybe saved the year.

Oklahoma beat TCU 52-46, rallied from a two-touchdown deficit turning the game when Mixon was plowed over by TCU’s Paul Whitmill when Mixon called a fair catch on a punt in the first quarter.

“We’re a family-oriented team,” cornerback Jordan Thomas told The Oklahoma Daily. “We’re not going to let one of our players get beat up. Someone takes a shot at our teammates, we’re just going to beat you between the lines legally.”

Hey, whatever it takes at this point for the Sooners. After a sluggish 1-2 start to the season where Oklahoma was exposed as something close to not-elite, maybe OU needed something to get going.

And Mixon is that something. The Sooner running back was the best player on the field for OU against Ohio State and now it’s obvious he’s the present and possible future, if in fact he decides not to enter the NFL draft after this season.

OU featured Mixon early in its game against TCU and he finished with 16 carries for 105 yards and a touchdown. Mixon also had a 65-yard run and his pitch back to Baker Mayfield on a second-quarter flea-flicker led to an easy touchdown. Mixon also split out wide as a receiver on another first-half touchdown, commanding the attention of the TCU defense.

You’ll see Mixon’s talents featured the rest of the season. You’ll also see the offense focused around him, too. Just like it was against TCU. He also caught five passes for 70 yards, but it was the hit he absorbed on the punt return which seemed to change things.

“If anybody hurts your family you don’t take it lightly,” Mayfield told The Oklahoma Daily. “You don’t like to see that. I’m sure tat guy just made a mistake, but yeah.”

So, OU won its first Big 12 game. A 1-0 start doesn’t exactly wash away the losses to Houston and Ohio State, but a punt return penalty sure helped get things turned around.

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