It’ll be Lubbock, Texas. It’ll be night. It’ll be Halloween! What could possibly go wrong for the Sooners? Well if history has told us anything, it’s that lots of things could actually go wrong!
Of course Oklahoma has to focus on TCU this coming weekend and try to win a second-consecutive game for the first time this season, but on the other side of the trip to Ft. Worth is Lubbock.
Just going to West Texas alone is a chore. The Sooners have a margin of victory at Jones AT&T Stadium of 50-39 over the last decade. Compare that to an average margin of victory of 48-25 in games played in Norman during that same span of time and you can see the difference playing in Lubbock makes.
Of course Oklahoma’s last loss to Texas Tech came in Norman when the Red Raiders snuck out with a 41-38 victory in 2011. Even so, stranger things seem to take place more frequently on the road in this series as opposed to the comfy confines of Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.
We’ll never forget Oklahoma fullback JD Runnels trying to do a postgame interview while being heckled by a Red Raider fan following the 2005 game.
However, what does stand out is how the Sooners actually lost that game. Texas Tech running back Taurean Henderson seemed to have crossed the goal line for a walk-off touchdown to give the Red Raiders their first victory in the series since 1999. The official review of the score only infuriated OU fans even more because they’ll say Henderson was down before the ball crossed the goal line. That’s not how the Big 12 officials saw the play though. They deemed the score valid, after the review, and the game over.
Two years later Oklahoma dropped another game in Lubbock after quarterback Sam Bradford was forced to leave the game following OU’s second offensive possession. Bradford was concussed after trying to make a tackle on a play where running back Allen Patrick fumbled.
In relief of Bradford, Joey Halzle threw for 291 yards and two touchdowns but the Sooners came up seven points shy in a 34-27 loss.
Bradford was absent again in 2009 after suffering a season-ending shoulder injury early on. This time it would be Landry Jones guiding the offense as the Sooners suffered their worst loss in the history of the series by a final of 41-13.
The 2009 game marked three-consecutive losses for Oklahoma in Lubbock and while the streak was broken with a 41-20 Sooner victory in 2012 the stigma of crazy things happening when traveling to Lubbock was firmly in place.
OU hasn’t lost in Lubbock since that 2009 game but the most recent trips have been nail-biting finishes. Kyler Murray guided the Sooners to a 51-46 win in 2018 and the Baker Mayfield/Patrick Mahomes shootout of 2016 will remain as one of the all-time greats. The Sooners won that game 66-59 and lost in the quarterback hype was the performance of running back Joe Mixon who produced 377 all-purpose yards and 5 touchdowns.
When Monday’s announcement of an evening kickoff was delivered you could hear a collective groan coming from the Sooner Nation. They know what traveling to Lubbock means…particularly at night.
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