No. 7 Oklahoma travelled to Lubbock on Saturday night in what was essentially the two-year anniversary of their historic 2016 meeting. As college football aficionados would tell you, that contest between Baker Mayfield and Patrick Mahomes — who coincidentally play each other on Sunday in the NFL — was perhaps the epitome of Big 12 football in recent years and has only grown in legend thanks to the incredible box score and numerous NCAA records it produced.
Well, wouldn’t you know it, the Sooners and Red Raiders combined for yet another wild shootout late into the West Texas night that Lincoln Riley’s crew barely escaped from with a 51-46 win that kept the visitors in the thick of the Big 12 and College Football Playoff races.
It appeared that Oklahoma would be in for a fight right from the get-go as Kyler Murray tossed interceptions on the first two drives of the game (both to Vaughnte Dorsey). Tech turned both of those turnovers into touchdowns the other way and then things started ping-ponging back and forth as the two combined for scores on eight of the next nine drives.
Murray did eventually settle down and was his usual self after the early bad throws, winding up with 360 yards and three touchdowns — many on some absolute bombs down the field or off a scramble or two. Though he didn’t do enough to gain any ground on Tua Tagovailoa in the Heisman Trophy race, the first round MLB draft pick was still dazzling with the ball in his hands and added a further 100 yards rushing and one more score on the ground.
He was far from the only one to put up numbers however. Tailback Trey Sermon rushed for a career high 206 yard and three touchdowns, bullying just about every level of the Red Raiders defense. Lee Morris was a 101 yard receiver on just four catches (two of them TD’s) while five others managed at least 30 yards through the air. It was that kind of night as the offense hit 683 total yards and nearly averaged double-digits with each play they ran.
It was also a game filled with some utterly only-in-college-football-moments for Texas Tech.
Starting quarterback Alan Bowman was 21/27 in the first half for 227 yards and two touchdowns but remarkably was hit in the head by a football during halftime warmups (really) and failed to return to the game. That turned things over to backup Jett Duffey, who added another two touchdowns to go with 139 yards.
Wideout Antoine Wesley somehow didn’t find the end zone (four others did, obviously) but did haul in 12 catches for 199 yards. While it’s hard to fathom, the team only converted 3-of-13 third downs despite all that firepower.
Tech did have a chance to make things even more interesting late when they were going for two to tie things up at 42-all. In a trick play on the conversion try, former Oregon State WR (now a receiver in Lubbock) Seth Collins floated up an interception that Robert Barnes came down with, eventually weaving his way over 100 yards for two points the other way. That proved to be the deciding score even though both teams scored one more time before things were all said and done.
The victory by Oklahoma may do them no favors when it comes to the Playoff Selection Committee but Riley and company probably won’t complain about moving to 8-1 overall and remaining in first place in the Big 12. That’s not a bad spot to be in with Bedlam next week against rival Oklahoma State and a looming trip to West Virginia still out there at the end of the month.
If nothing else though, be sure to break out your calendar and circle every time the Sooners head to Lubbock to take on Texas Tech. At this point, it’s become appointment viewing for all fans.