NORMAN – Saturday night, in the first home night game ever against Oklahoma State, Oklahoma did, well, what Oklahoma does. Whether by a little or a lot, Oklahoma beats Oklahoma State. This night, it was by a lot, as OU rolled to a 41-13 win in which Aggy did not score in the second half.
Spencer Rattler went 17-24 for 301 yards and four TDs, while not coming close to turning the ball over. He also had 14 yards rushing and a score on seven carries. Marvin Mims led all receivers with three catches for 65 yards, while Mikey Henderson had three for 61 and a score. Rhamondre Stevenson added three catches for 54, while Theo Wease had two for 40 and a pair of TDs.
Stevenson, after finding it tough going through most of three quarters, opened it up on the ground late in the game. He led all rushers with 149 yards on 26 carries. Henderson had three for 20, while T.J. Pledger contributed 18 on seven carries.
The Sooner defense, meanwhile, was dominant. They held OSU to only 246 yards on the night, and only 78 yards rushing. An interception in the first quarter led to a TD.
The Sooners took the opening kickoff and quickly established the tone of the game. On the second play from scrimmage, Rattler swung it out to Stevenson, who rumbled 45 yards to the OSU 30. Two plays later, Brayden Willis caught a 15-yard pass to the nine, then Rattler took it in from there on a keeper to make it 7-0 Sooners with 12:37 to play in the first quarter.
OSU went backwards on their first possession. Spencer Sanders was flagged for intentional grounding on their first offensive play of the game, pushing them back from the 21 to the 10. A false start made it second and 26. Two plays later, OSU punted, and the Sooners took over on their own 26.
Stevenson ran for five, then a holding penalty on OSU moved it to the OU 41. Henderson carried for eight, then Stevenson for four. After a run for no gain, Rattler hit Mims crossing the field for 27 yards and a first down at the OSU 20. Mims was well covered, but made a spectacular leaping catch over the OSU defender. On the next play, Rattler hit Henderson coming across, and he rounded the corner and took it up the right side for the touchdown and a 14-0 Sooner lead with 8:26 to play in the first quarter. As it would turn out, that was enough points to win the game.
Sanders was intercepted by David Ugwoegbu on the second play of the ensuing possession. Ugwoegbu leapt up and batted Sanders’ pass into the air, then dove to snag it just before it hit the ground. The Sooners took over on the OSU 20. A 12-yard pass to Drake Stoops made it first and goal from the nine, and two plays later, Rattler hit Wease at the front corner of the end zone for the score. The Sooners were rolling at 21-0 with 6:09 to play in the first quarter. Had Owen Field been full of fans, it might have been as loud as we have ever heard it at that point. It was plenty loud even at 25% capacity.
On the ensuing possession, OSU moved the ball to their own 49 before Sanders was sacked and slung to the ground violently by Ronnie Perkins. He looked to have hit his head on the ground, and was helped up and left the game. True freshman Shane Illingworth replaced him and moved OSU to the Sooner 29 before a third and four pass failed. OSU would have had to settle for a field goal try, but for Bookie Radley-Hiles being flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after the play. Instead of fourth and four from the 29, OSU had first and ten from the 15. Illingworth connected with Logan Carter for the 15-yard TD pass on the next play, and OU’s lead was cut to 21-7 with 2:03 to play in the first quarter.
The Sooners tallied Gabe Brkic field goals of 40 and 38 yards on the next two possessions, sandwiched around an OSU three-and-out. OSU then added field goals of 38 and 37 yards on their next two possessions, sandwiched around an OU three-and-out. The Sooners led 27-13 at the half.
After two OSU punts and one Sooner punt to start the second half, the Sooners moved to the OSU 26. However, Brkic missed from 43 yards after a failed third down wildcat play to T.J. Pledger.
After another OSU punt, the Sooners moved into Aggy territory on Stevenson’s back. He ran for eight, seven, eight, two, and 25 on consecutive plays to put the ball at the OSU 30. On the next play, Stevenson, lined up next to Rattler, took the direct snap and handed to Rattler rolling right. Rattler faked a reverse pitch the other way, then flipped the ball to Hall, who had been lined up in the slot. Hall had open field down the right side for the TD and a 34-13 lead with 14:15 to play in the game. The play is called “Godfather,” and the Sooners ran it unsuccessfully early in the Peach Bowl last season. That time, it was as wide open as it was last night, but Jalen Hurts’ pass was batted down at the line of scrimmage.
OSU moved into Sooner territory on the ensuing possession. Instead of going for it on fourth and eight from the OU 39, trailing by three scores in the fourth quarter, Mike Gundy decided to punt. It was an example of the timid decision-making Gundy always displays in this game. I think the many beatings he has endured at our hands over the years, as both a player and a coach, have instilled a mental block in him. After 30 cracks at the Sooners since the mid-80’s, Gundy is 5-24-1. The ball was downed on the OU one-yard line, but it wouldn’t matter.
Stevenson broke a 30-yard run on the Sooners’ first play of the possession. He ran for another five yards, then Rattler hit Henderson for 11 and a first down at the OU 47. Six plays later, the Sooners faced fourth and four from the OSU 31. Rattler then hit a wide-open Wease down the left side for the TD and a 41-13 lead with 6:28 to play in the game.
OSU would move to the Sooner two-yard line on their final possession of the game. However, the Sooner defense held them on four tries from there, breaking up two fade patterns, picking up a third-down sack, then watching a fourth-down pass fall incomplete. While it wasn’t quite the same as the epic late goal-line stand in the 2003 game, it was still quite satisfying. There is just something about a late goal line stand preventing a meaningless score in a rout of OSU that warms the heart.
With Iowa State’s rout of Kansas State Saturday, the Sooners are, for all intents and purposes, in control of their own destiny for the Big 12 Championship Game. Yes, there are some scenarios that would keep us out even if we win out, but barring a couple of major upsets, beating West Virginia and Baylor should send us back to Arlington, probably to face Iowa State.
OU kicks off against West Virginia next Saturday night at 6:30 pm on ABC. See you in Morgantown.