By Michael Kinney
Norman – Jordan Thomas said they vowed it would never happen again. Ever since Texas Tech ripped apart the defense, Oklahoma defenders reminded themselves of that poor display almost every day and said it wouldn’t happen again.
But when the two teams faced off Saturday, it looked early on like an encore presentation was heading Oklahoma’s way.
But the Sooners settled down and prevailed 49-27 at Memorial Stadium.
“We were a little anxious about playing, but once we settled in and trusted our technique everything went well,” DJ Ward said. “There was emotion on the sideline, but nothing over the top. Guys just put a spark under us and we started playing.
The win sets up a matchup Saturday in Stillwater between No. 8 Oklahoma and No. 11 Oklahoma State.
“We’ve played in a lot of big games. We know the importance of this game to the conference, this game to the rivalry that it is,” said Lincoln Riley on Bedlam. “We know how good of a team Coach (Mike) Gundy has up there this year and they’ve had good teams there for a long time. It’s going to be a good game and it’s been for the last several years. It’s a great rivalry and we’re looking forward to it.”
Oklahoma and Texas Tech did everything possible to make their matchup a repeat of last year’s high scoring affair. In the first quarter alone, they combined for 34 points, 389 yards and zero points.
The way the defenses looked, both teams were on pace to hit the 80 point mark.
The Sooners looked particularly disorganized as they allowed the Red Raiders to get anything they wanted. They quickly scrapped the zone defense they had been playing in the first and went to a man to man concept.
“In the first quarter they were prepared for what we were doing,” Caleb Kelly said, “and then Coach (Mike Stoops) switched the defense and then they were not prepared for that so it just worked out for us.”
The offenses slowed down considerably in the second quarter and the Sooners held a 28-20 halftime advantage.
But once the third quarter came back around, the teams were on the move again. Baker Mayfield scored a one-yard run on the first possession of the quarter. The Red Raiders answered right back to close the gap to 35-27.
The Sooners went back up by 15 after Mayfield and Mark Andrews connected for a touchdown. Each time Texas Tech came up with a big drive, Oklahoma always seemed to have a response.
“That was the plan,” CeeDee Lamb said. “Texas Tech is a very high-powered offense and they’re very good at doing what they do. We just felt like we need to be good at what we do and execute offensively and put points on the board.”
The Oklahoma defense got the ball back from the Red Raiders. Mayfield tried to put the game away with a deep pass to Andrews along the Oklahoma sideline. However, the pass was overthrown and intercepted by the Red Raiders.
Yet, all that did was delay the inevitable. The defense once again forced Texas Tech to punt and the Sooners drove the ball down the field. This time Mayfield found Lamb in the endzone for his second score of the game. He was crushed by a Tech defender, but held onto the ball.
“He definitely did (grow up tonight),” Mayfield said of Lamb. “Going up when he knows he was going to get hit by a safety like that and securing the ball, holding on to it, and popping right back up to be fine, we haven’t had a guy like that here in a while. He’s a great playmaker, but also a physical presence.”
Lamb’s score put Oklahoma up 49-27 heading into the fourth quarter. Texas Tech got no closer.
Mayfield finished the night with 281 yards and five total touchdowns. Lamb had nine catches for 147 yards.
But it was the running of Rodney Anderson that set the tone for Oklahoma. He finished with 181 rushing yards and a touchdown.
“It feels pretty good just to get out there behind my offensive line again and run behind them,” Anderson said. “They’ve been doing a great job, the fullbacks too, opening up holes for me.”
Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Writer with Eyeamtruth.com