The Oklahoma Sooners entered their homecoming game as the favorites to beat the Texas Tech Red Raiders by 6.5 but many fans wondered if they could really pull off the win. Texas Tech was explosive, with one of the best passing offenses in the nation and OU has looked shaky for the last three games. However, OU stepped up and proved they are better than many people might give them credit for by handing the Red Raiders their first loss of the season, 38-30.
The game really looked unlike anything that fans expected through the first half. The game plan seemed to be Oklahoma running the ball to slow down Texas Tech while hoping their defense could stop the high powered passing attack from rookie Davis Webb.
However, the first quarter ended with Texas Tech leading 7-0 and the Sooners entering the half up 14-7.
The reason for the low scoring first half was sloppy play and turnovers. The game was rain delayed over an hour and it showed. The first Texas Tech drive was a three-and-out, thanks in large part to a big sack by Eric Striker on third down. Oklahoma drove down the field and Bob Stoops elected to try a rare field goal attempt from over 50 yards, which was blocked.
Tech couldn’t capitalize when their next drive saw another big Eric Striker sack, followed by a big interception by a diving Aaron Colvin. The Sooners couldn’t capitalize when Brennan Clay fumbled on their next drive. It was like one mistake following another for both teams.
Texas Tech finally got on the board first after a nice 24 yard punt return by Jordan Davis gave them good field position and then Webb took over, leading the team down to the three. A trick play saw Kenny Williams take the handoff and then throw a touchdown pass to Eric Ward.
Things turned around in the second quarter as Blake Bell started to heat up.
The first drive of the second quarter saw Bell and the Sooners drive 97 yards, eating up 7:30 of the clock, and finished with a 15 yard touchdown pass to Jalen Saunders. The next Tech drive ended with a fumble recovery by Aaron Colvin. The very first play of the next drive saw Bell throw a 76 yard touchdown catch and run to Saunders to go up 14-7.
OU started the second half with a solid drive that ate up 5:23 of clock time and ended with a Damien Williams three-yard touchdown run. Williams ran for 72 yards on the drive.
Texas Tech responded with a quick four play drive that saw Webb complete a pass to Ward for 23 yards to put the game back in reach 21-14. The Sooners failed to move the ball on their next drive and Tech added a field goal to make the score 21-17. The Red Raiders then kicked an unsuspecting onside kick, recovered it, and then three plays later Webb threw his second touchdown of the game to put Tech up 24-21.
The game was finally turning into the shootout that Red Raiders fans had hoped.
Oklahoma finally stopped the bleeding by taking the next drive 75 yards in five plays for a Lacoltan Bester 35 yard touchdown run. The play looked like it was going to be a repeat of last week’s trick pass from Bester to Sterling Shepard, but Bester pulled the ball back down and ran the length of the field. With the score 28-24 in favor of OU, there was one quarter left and it was anyone’s game.
On the first Texas Tech drive of the fourth quarter, Gabe Lynn intercepted a Webb pass and then the Sooners used Roy Finch’s speed to drive down the field where Damien Williams finished it off with a three yard touchdown run to put OU up 35-24.
Texas Tech answered with a sustained drive that finished with a Kenny Williams one-yard touchdown run, and after missing the two-point conversion, the score was OU, 35-30.
On the Sooners next drive, Blake Bell took over on his own 28, and not only drove OU the length of the field, but took the clock down to 1:17. It ended with a Michael Hunnicutt field goal from 37 yards out, possibly a way to make up for the two missed field goals in the Sooners’ loss two years ago. That put the game at an eight point difference, meaning that the Red Raiders needed a touchdown and a two-point conversion to just tie it up.
They didn’t come close.
Chuka Ndulue recorded his first sack of 2013 on the first play for a 13-yard loss and then Webb had three straight incompletions to give OU the 38-30 win. The explosive freshman quarterback who started his career with back-to-back 400 yard games finished this one with 385 yards, but threw two interceptions to go with his two touchdowns.
Blake Bell had his best game in weeks, completing 63 percent of his passes for 249 yards and two touchdowns without throwing a pick. His biggest target was Saunders, who left the game injured but still finished with six receptions for 153 yards and two touchdowns. Sterling Shepard also added five receptions for 43 yards. He now has more receptions in his career than his father did.
The running game was once again a group effort. Damien Williams carried the ball 19 times for 97 yards and three touchdowns in the game. Roy Finch added 55 yards, Bell ran for 44 and Brennan Clay added 42 of his own, although he did have the fumble. As a team, OU ran for 277 yards and outgained Texas Tech, 526-460 in the game.
Next up for the Oklahoma Sooners is their second Top 10 opponent in a row when they visit the Baylor Bears next week.