LUBBOCK, TEXAS – There have been several weird nights in Lubbock before, but Saturday night was not one of them. Neither their all-black uniforms nor their piped-in crowd noise could save Texas Tech from a crimson steamroller. The returns of suspended players Rhamondre Stevenson and Ronnie Perkins highlighted the night, as the Sooners ran out to a 48-14 halftime lead on their way to a 62-28 rout.
The Sooner defense was mostly outstanding on the night, creating a pair of interceptions and a fumble and harassing Tech QB Henry Columbi most of the evening.
Spencer Rattler was nails once again, going 21 of 30 (with two dropped TD passes) for 288 yards and a pair of scores in just over a half of work. Theo Wease led the Sooners in receiving with 105 yards on five catches. Austin Stogner had three for 77 and a score, while Marvin Mims had four for 60, but should have had a lot more. He flat dropped what would have been a cross-country TD pass from Rattler. Altogether, 11 Sooners caught passes on the night.
Stevenson looked very good in his first action since scoring the winning touchdown in overtime in last year’s Big 12 Championship Game. He led the team in rushing with 87 yards and three TDs on 13 carries. Seth McGowan added 58 yards and a score on 10 carries, while Rattler had 24 yards on three carries.
Things did not start off well, as Tech took the opening kickoff and shredded the Sooner defense for a seven play, 75-yard TD drive in which they only went to second down twice. It quickly brought back bad memories of other fall nights in Lubbock. Fears of such things would soon prove entirely unfounded.
The Sooners went three and out on their first possession. As successful as Tech’s first possession was, their second was the exact opposite. A sack, three penalties, and a tackle for loss left the Red Raiders facing a rather mind-boggling third down and 45 from their own nine-yard line. While they clearly had the Sooners right where they wanted them, they were nevertheless unable to convert and were forced to punt.
The Sooners’ first two plays of the ensuing possession netted only two yards. But on third and eight, Rattler found a wide-open Stogner for 41 yards to the Tech 13. Three plays later, a face mask penalty bailed the Sooners out of a third and long situation and gave them first and goal at the six. Stevenson took it in from there, and it was 7-7 with 5:31 to play in the first quarter.
On the first play of the ensuing possession, Tre Norwood picked off a tipped pass and returned it 14 yards to the Tech nine. A pass interference penalty moved it to the two, and T.J. Pledger took it in from there. It was 14-7 Sooners with 5:04 to play in the first quarter.
Tech moved out to their own 49 on their next possession, but the Sooners stopped them cold on a fourth and two running attempt and took over on downs at midfield. Stevenson ran for 10, then Rattler hit Mims on the delayed crossing route that has been wide open for TDs the last two games. This one did not go for a score but did go for 37 yards to the Tech three-yard line. Stevenson took it in from one yard out and it was 21-7 Sooners with 2:10 to play in the first quarter.
On Tech’s next possession, they fumbled on first down but recovered the ball. On the following play, Norwood again intercepted a tipped pass, this time returning it to the Tech 25. Five plays later, on the second play of the second quarter, Rattler hit Hall for four yards and a score. The officials initially called it a fumble recovered by Tech inside the one but replay clearly showed (and competent officials would have seen live) that the ball crossed the goal line before Hall lost it. It was 28-7 with 14:06 to play in the first half.
A Tech three and out was followed by a lightning Sooner TD drive, covering 62 yards in only three plays. Rattler hit Wease for 29 yards on the first play of the drive. After a six-yard Stevenson run, Rattler dropped an absolute dime to Stogner in the end zone from 27 yards out for the score, and the game was officially a blowout at 35-7 with 12:05 to play in the second quarter.
After another Tech punt came yet another Sooner TD drive. Stevenson ran for three, then Rattler ran for two. Rattler then connected with Wease again down the left sideline for 48 yards to the Tech 24. After a 15-yard run by Stevenson, Rattler carried it another eight to the one. Stephenson took it in from there, and it was 42-7 with 6:28 to play in the second quarter and all over but the shouting.
Tech would add a catch and run 75-yard TD pass on their next possession. The Sooners would add a pair of field goals to make it 48-14 at the half. Each team would add a pair of TDs with the reserves in the second half to forge the final score of 62-28.
With Oklahoma State and Kansas State losing Saturday, the Sooners’ path to another berth in the Big 12 Championship Game is much more manageable. They still need help, but not much more, to control their own destiny. Other than West Virginia on Thanksgiving weekend, the rest of the regular season will be played in Norman. The Sooners return to Owen Field next Saturday at 2:30 for the first time since September to face winless Kansas before an open date leading into the OSU game. See you Saturday for a rare afternoon kickoff.