No. 15 Houston leads No. 3 Oklahoma 19-17 at the half in an up-and-down shootout at NRG Stadium in Houston, closing the half on a 16-7 run.
Oklahoma battered its way down the field on its first possession, mostly behind the tree trunk legs of running back Samaje Perine. The Sooners moved 79 yards in eight plays, capped by a 32-yard Joe Mixon dash.
Oklahoma seemed to have total control of the game on its next play, a 60-yard strike from Baker Mayfield to Mixon. But the Houston defense stiffened, an apparent 14-3 deficit was limited to 10-3. That stop, fueled by a stuffing of Mayfield on a third-down scramble, ignited the Cougars. After Ty Cummings‘ second field goal pulled the score to 10-6, Houston took its first lead when Greg Ward, Jr., found Duke Catalon wide open on a 15-yard wheel route score at the 10:12 mark of the second quarter.
Oklahoma answered, though, when Mayfield hit tight end Mark Andrews for the easiest 64-yard pitch-and-catch score possible. Mayfield hit halftime completing all nine of his passes for 162 yards and those two scores.
Houston added a third Cummings field goal, this time from 33 yards out, to pull within 17-16 with 4:33 to go before the break.
After forcing a punt, Houston converted a 3rd-and-10 with an acrobatic 16-yard sideline grab by Linell Johnson, keeping a drive alive that ended in Cummings’s fourth field goal of the half, a 47-yarder that snuck inside the left goal post as time expired.
Ward closed the half with 257 passing yards and a score on 15-of-28 passing. Houston has bombed downfield consistently on Oklahoma’s green and undersized secondary. Catalon carried the Coogs’ running game with 12 carries for 64 yards.
Nixon leads the Sooners with four carries for 36 yards, 30 of them coming on his touchdown run, plus a 60-yard reception. Perine closed the half with four carries for 33 yards; he spent most of the half nursing a left shoulder injury.
Overall, Houston holds a 19-8 edge in first downs and a 337-245 advantage in total yards. The Cougars have run 49 plays to OU’s 23.
Houston will receive to open the second half.