LUBBOCK, TEXAS – In a game that pretty much encapsulated an infuriating Sooner Football season in one cold night on the West Texas plains, the Sooners fell in overtime to Texas Tech Saturday night, 51-48. OU jumped out to a 24-6 lead late in the second quarter before squandering all but one point of that lead before the half, then spending the rest of the game in a dogfight. The Sooners close out the regular season 6-6 overall, 3-6 in conference play, their worst record since 1998.
Dillon Gabriel had a big night, going 28-40 for 449 yards, six TDs, and a pick. Marvin Mims led the Sooners with five catches for 162 yards and a pair of scores. Brayden Willis had seven snags for 74 yards and two scores, while Drake Stoops added six for 55. Jalil Farooq had four for 20 and a TD, while Theo Wease had three for 123 and a score.
Eric Gray had another stellar outing, picking up 161 yards on 28 carries. Gabriel had seven carries for 21 yards. Jovante Barnes added six carries and netted 14 yards.
The Sooners won the toss and deferred. They forced a fumble on Tech’s first play from scrimmage that Ethan Downs recovered. Four plays later, on fourth and two, Gabriel found a wide-open Mims behind the defense from 37 yards out for the opening score of the night. That made it 7-0 Sooners with only 1:41 having come off of the first quarter clock.
After a Tech punt, a penalty backed the Sooners up to their own seven. 11 plays and 93 yards later, it was 14-0 after Willis caught a nine-yard touchdown pass with 9:24 to play in the first quarter.
After another Tech punt, the Sooners moved the ball again, but stalled on the Red Raider 12. OU lined up for a field goal, but ran a fake. It was there, but Willis dropped Michael Turk’s pass, and the opportunity went wanting. Tech could do nothing with it, though, and the Sooners would add a field goal on the ensuing possession to make it 17-0 with 13:04 to play in the first half.
Tech would get on the board with a touchdown on the ensuing possession. A missed extra point left the score at 17-6. After the teams exchanged punts, Gabriel hit Mims for a 77-yard touchdown, and it was 24-6 with 6:25 to play in the first half. And that’s when the wheels started falling off. The Sooners would give up 17 points in the last 6:25 of the first half and led only 24-23 at the half.
OU took the opening kick of the second half and moved to the Tech 32. However, they failed on fourth and four from there. A five-play, 62-yard drive gave Tech their first lead of the night at 30-24 with 10:52 to play in the third quarter. The Sooners answered with a 61-yard TD pass to Wease that put the Sooners back up 31-30 with 10:09 to play in the third quarter.
After a Tech punt, the Sooners moved to the Tech 35 before getting stuffed on fourth and two from there. Tech scored a TD after the turnover on downs, and the two-point conversion gave them a 38-31 lead with 2:46 to go in the third quarter.
After an exchange of punts, the Sooners tied the game with a Willis TD catch with 10:37 to play. After both teams scored another td, CJ Coldon picked off a Tech pass and returned it to the Red Raiders’ 33. They could only pick up eight yards in three plays, and a Zach Schmit field goal made it 48-45 Sooners with 4:04 to play in the game. Tech would hold the ball for all but three of the remaining seconds of the game, and would tie it at 48 with a field goal at the end to send it to overtime.
In OT, Tech won the toss and chose defense. Gabriel almost had his head removed on a trick play, then the possession stalled at the Tech 12. Schmitt’s field goal attempt was called wide, although replays showed it appeared to have gone inside the upright. Tech hit their field goal try when their turn came, and that was the ball game.
As hard as it is to believe, this team was really close to being 9-3 or better this season. Four of the losses came by three points each, two on the final play of the game. But, really close doesn’t count, and we will all have to live with 6-6 for a while. See you at the bowl game.