No. 5 Sooners Blow Out No. 2 Texas Tech, 65-21
Nov. 23, 2008
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -Make way for a Sooners surge.
San Bradford and Oklahoma are on their way up in the national championship race, and Texas Tech sure came down with a mighty fall.
Bradford threw for 304 yards and four touchdowns, and DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown combined to run for five more scores as the fifth-ranked Sooners brought an unceremonious end to No. 2 Texas Tech's run toward perfection in a 65-21 blowout Saturday night.
The question now is this: Did the Sooners (10-1, 6-1 Big 12) do enough to make up for that loss to Texas?
The Longhorns have held a trump card since the annual Red River Rivalry game in October, having beaten Oklahoma 45-35 on a neutral field at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.
But the Sooners came up with as resounding a statement as they could by stifling Graham Harrell, who came into Norman as the Heisman Trophy favorite but might have relinquished that title to Bradford.
"It wasn't easy," Sooners coach Bob Stoops said. "They're a great team. They really are."
It sure looked easy.
The Red Raiders (10-1, 6-1) fell into a three-way tie atop the Big 12 South with Texas and Oklahoma, with only one week left in the regular season. If the three finished tied, the BCS standings would determine which team plays No. 12 Missouri in the Big 12 championship game in Kansas City, Mo., on Dec. 6.
So the Bowl Championship Series controversy could come early this season, a week before the pairings are even set.
It's not over yet, though. There's still the matter of the Bedlam rivalry, and this time it's Oklahoma's turn to go on the road to face No. 11 Oklahoma State. The Longhorns will face their in-state rival, too, and will need to break a two-game losing streak against Texas A&M on Thanksgiving Day.
Texas Tech finishes its regular season against Baylor, and could still sneak into the Big 12 title game with an Oklahoma State upset.
Oklahoma will have to deal with that next week. This week was all about dominance.
The suddenly stingy Sooners held Tech scoreless on five straight possessions for the first time this season, and got to Harrell - who'd been sacked only five times all season - on back-to-back plays in the first quarter while the nation's highest-scoring offense kept on clicking.
Juaquin Iglesias put Oklahoma up 28-0 when he zipped across the middle to catch a pass from Bradford and then stopped in his tracks at the 15-yard line to juke a pair of defenders and clear his way to the end zone for a 28-yard score.
Desperate to make something happen, Harrell made matters worse in the final minute before halftime. His pass across the middle was right at Travis Lewis, who intercepted it and ran it back to the doorstep. Murray punched it in with a 1-yard dive, and the Sooners' lead reached 42-7.
"It's just fundamental," Stoops said. "We didn't do anything fancy. Just our normal stuff."
That sent the noisy fans - who'd been challenged by coach Bob Stoops this week for not being raucous enough - into a frenzy. The Sooners joined the record-setting sellout crowd of 85,646 by hopping up and down on the sideline as House of Pain's "Jump Around" blared over the loudspeaker.
The song played again in the break after the third quarter and one last time after Texas Tech scored a meaningless touchdown with 21 seconds left.
Fans got one last chance to cheer as the Sooners made a rare victory lap around edge of the field, slapping high-fives with fans. A giddy Bradford hopped up and down as he made his way around.
He had plenty of reasons to be happy. His four TDs pushed him past the school record of 40 in a season, set by Jason White in his 2003 Heisman season. And maybe that kind of finish is in the cards for him, too.
Bradford's last two touchdowns came on a 66-yard post pattern to Manuel Johnson, who reached out to grab it with his injured left arm, and a 28-yard screen pass to Ryan Broyles, who dodged defenders at the line and raced into the clear.
Murray finished with 125 yards and two touchdowns, and Brown added 108 yards and three scores as the Sooners ran roughshod over a defense that had improved enough this year to turn the Red Raiders from just an outstanding offense to the complete package.
That was all torn apart on Owen Field, where the Sooners have won 24 straight games - the longest home winning streak in the country. It's also one win away from the school record of 25 in a row, set during the Sooners' NCAA-record 47-game win streak in the 1950s.