NORMAN – Same story, same result. Same as last year and so many years before. The Sooners and OSU locked in a tight battle that always comes out in our favor, ín defiance of the law of averages. The 48-47 win keeps the Sooners in the driver’s seat in the Big 12 heading into the final two games of the season.
Kyler Murray was once again criminally efficient, going 21 of 29 for 349 yards and a TD, and adding 66 yards rushing. Hollywood Brown looked back to form, recording eight catches for 142 yards and a score, while CeeDee Lamb had three catches for 52 yards. Carson Meier had two for 45, while Trey Sermon and Lee Morris each had two for 33 yards.
Brooks led all rushers with 165 yards and three TDs on 15 carries. Sermon had 124 and two scores on 16 carries.
The Sooners took the opening kickoff and scored within the first two minutes of the game. Sermon went around right end on the first play and rumbled 60 yards to the OSU 15. Three plays later, he busted in from the one, and OU led 7-0 with 13;16 to play in the first quarter.
OSU answered quickly, going to second down only once on a four-play, 75-yard drive. The big play was a 49-yard bomb from Tyler Cornelius to Tylan Wallace that took the ball to the Sooner one. Justice Hill took it in from there and it was 7-7 with 11:59 to play in the first quarter.
OU would return the favor, going 75 yards in seven plays on the ensuing possession. The big plays were a 31-yard pass to Meier and a 23-yard catch by Sermon that moved it to the OSU six. Two plays later, Brooks took it in from a yard out and it was 14-7 with 9:06 to play in the first quarter.
As has been the case much of the season, the OU defense was horrific on third and long all night. OSU would overcome a third and 13 and a third and 11 on the ensuing drive. The latter was converted on a 31-yard TD pass from Cornelius to Tyron Johnson, and it was 14-14 with 5:30 to play in the first quarter.
The Sooners would move 79 yards on their next drive, but stalled at the OSU four. An Austin Seibert field goal from 21 yards out made it 17-14 with 13:37 to play in the first half. OSU answered with a 49-yard TD pass from Cornelius to Wallace and OSU had its first lead of the afternoon at 21-17 with 13:04 to play in the half. On the ensuing possession a Murray run of 29 yards was followed by a 45-yard TD burst from Brooks that literally looked like he was running with nobody else on the field. The extra point made it 24-21 with 11:38 to play in the half.
The Sooners would finally get a stop on the next possession, forcing a punt. Lamb fielded the line drive punt at the six and cut it outside and up the left sideline, rambling for 65 yards before being run out of bounds at the OSU 29. The Sooners could get no closer than the 18, though, and another Seibert field goal, this one from 36 yards, made it 27-21 with 7:22 to play in the half.
OSU moved to the Sooner 24 on the ensuing possession, but a 41-yard field goal attempt was wide left, and the Sooners took over on their own 24. The teams exchanged three and outs, and the Sooners took over on their own 15. Sermon ran for 11, then Murray ran for 17. Murray then hit Lamb for 11 before taking the top off the OSU defense with a 51-yard TD bomb to Hollywood Brown that gave the Sooners their first and only double-digit lead of the game at 34-21 with 1:25 to play in the half. The two-score lead would last all of 54 seconds.
OSU went through the Sooner defense in the worst series since the 2014 Baylor game to score in less than a minute. They went to second down exactly once. It was awful. Chuba Hubbard’s 10-yard TD run with 31 seconds to play in the first half made it 34-28. The Sooners had plenty of time to get into field goal range, but some strange play calls and clock management resulted in the half ending as Murray slid down after a seven-yard run to the OSU 31 on a play that started with five seconds left.
The Sooners forced an OSU punt on the first possession of the second half. OU moved to the OSU 38 on the ensuing possession, but stalled there and failed on a fourth and 12 to turn the ball over on downs.
OSU then went 60 yards in nine plays to take the lead. The drive was capped by a two-yard Hubbard run that made it 35-34 OSU with 7:32 to play in the third quarter, The teams then exchanged punts and OU took over on their seven.
Brooks ran for 20, then three plays later Murray hit Hollywood Brown on a swing pass on third and 11. Brown looked hemmed in but made a couple of guys miss and jetted up the sideline for 25 yards and a first down. Two plays later, Murray scrambled and hit a wide-open Brown for 39 yards and a first down at the OSU nine. Brooks carried twice from there for the score on the final play of the third quarter, and OU was back in the lead, 41-35.
OSU would go 75 yards in 10 plays on the ensuing possession to tie the game. However, the extra point was missed, leaving it tied instead of the Sooners trailing by one. That would prove important later.
The Sooners took over on their own 14 and moved in three plays to the OSU 43 behind a Brooks run of 18 yards, a 14-yard completion to Meier, and an 11-yard Murray run. On the next play, Brooks was facemasked with no call, followed immediately by a phantom holding call that negated a 23-yard Brooks run to the OSU 13. Instead of first down from there, it was second and 13 from the OSU 46. Two lost yardage plays later, the Sooners were punting.
OSU took over with 8:38 to play in the game, and quickly moved to the OU 40. However, the Sooner defense, which had not recovered a fumble on a play from scrimmage through almost 10 full games, came through. Neville Gallimore popped Hubbard and knocked the ball out and Kenneth Murray recovered at the Sooner 36. Both Gallimore and Hubbard stayed down for a long time after the play, but both walked off, although Gallimore needed assistance.
The Sooners would take advantage of the turnover. Murray hit Hollywood Brown for 10 yards, then carried for three. Brooks ran for 10, then rumbled for 39 down to the OSU two. What looked like it was going to be another holding penalty ended up an illegal hands to the face on OSU, and it was first and goal at the one. Two plays later, Sermon took it in from there and it was 48-41, Sooners, with 3:29 to play in the game. As usual, we scored too quickly.
OSU moved quickly to a first down at the Sooner 22. A short run and two incomplete passes left OSU facing fourth and seven from the 19. A false start moved it back to the 24 and made it fourth and 12. However, Cornelius hit Wallace for the TD on yet another abject defensive failure with the offense in jail, and it was 48-47 with 1:03 to play in the game.
Everyone in the stadium knew Mike Gundy would go for two, and he did. It was the right decision, but the wrong play call. A sprint pass right didn’t even come close to success, and the Sooners’ lead remained at 48-47. The ensuing onside kick was easily fielded by Hollywood Brown, and the Sooners ran out the clock for the win.
Next week’s home finale against Kansas will kick off at 6:30. If Iowa State beats Texas Saturday afternoon, all the Sooners will need to do is beat Kansas to clinch a spot in the Big 12 title game. At that point, the only remaining questions about Arlington will be the color of the Sooners’ jersey and the opponent. Hopefully, that’s how it works out, although playing Texas again still seems awfully enticing. See you Saturday night.