Oklahoma’s much anticipated bye week is now approaching and the Sooners will hit their break with a 9-0 record. The latest win was possibly the most well-rounded performance of the season for the Sooners as Caleb Williams led the Sooner offense with six passing touchdowns. Meanwhile the OU defense got some players back from injury and returned to the form that we saw earlier in the season by forcing three turnovers and holding the Texas Tech offense to just 21 points, 7 of which came in garbage time.
The Game Defining Moment
Texas Tech had every intention of following the blue print established by the teams before them. By choosing to receive the opening kickoff the Red Raiders were hoping to establish the type of long drive like the one we saw to open the game against Kansas last week. The thing is, this wasn’t the defense that OU took to Lawrence a week ago. With Delarrin Turner-Yell and D.J. Graham back in the secondary the Sooners had the leadership and extra spark they had desperately been missing.
Oklahoma forced Texas Tech to put on its first two offensive possessions and established a 7-0 lead thanks to a 7-play/95-yard scoring drive on the second offensive possession. This changed the game plan for the Red Raiders because they were now the one’s playing from behind, and the Sooners would be receiving the kickoff to start the second half, so there wasn’t time to “grind it out” against Oklahoma’s defense anymore.
Typically we reserve this section for an incredible play made by the Sooners but we’re making an exception this week to pay homage to the terrible mismanaged way Texas Tech ended the first half. Quite possibly this is one of the worst field goal attempts ever produced by an opponent on Owen Field.
If you were needing an example of why firing a coach mid-season is a bad idea then perhaps look no further than this series of events.
A healthy Delarrin Turner-Yell allowed Alex Grinch to move Key Lawrence to corner in place of the injured Woodi Washington. The sophomore had filled in nicely for Turner-Yell at strong safety and earned the right to be on the field. The problem was finding where he’d fit in and it looks like corner might just be the answer. Grinch had struggled to find an adequate replacement for Washington but, at least for now, that problem looks to have been solved.
Caleb Williams became the first true freshman in Oklahoma football history to throw six touchdowns in a single game. He was the first Sooner quarterback to do so since Kyler Murray and just the third OU quarterback to have six touchdowns in a game with no interceptions. He joins the elite company of Kyler Murray in 2018 vs Baylor and Baker Mayfield in 2016 vs Texas Tech.
Winning On Third Down
A big part of Oklahoma’s defensive success was winning on third down. The Sooners held the Red Raiders to just a 4-of-13 conversion rate on third down.
Losing On Fourth Down
Conversely the Red Raiders converted on three of their four fourth down attempts.
The Problem Child
Erik Ezukanma isn’t just an all-conference caliber receiver he’s also a future NFL talent. He showed every bit of that potential on Saturday by hauling in eight passes for 123 yards and a score.
Oklahoma knew it could pass all day on the Texas Tech defense and didn’t even try to hide the fact that they weren’t going to run the ball. Receivers Marvin Mims and Mario Williams were the primary beneficiaries of this game plan, combining for 235 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Caleb Williams connected with Mario Williams for the first score of the game. The true freshman ended the day with 100 yards on five receptions. Mims hit pay dirt twice on the afternoon and ended with 125 yards on just four receptions.
Like Key Lawrence with Delarrin Turner-Yell, Isaiah Thomas beneficiated from the return of Jalen Redmond. Thomas was able to move back to the outside on the defensive line and absolutely dominant. Finishing with just three tackles on the day, Thomas also made his presence known with two deflected passes (one leading to an interception), a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.
After nine consecutive weeks of games the Sooners are finally set for a bye next Saturday.
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