Saturday, November 22, 2008
Halftime: Oklahoma 42, Texas Tech 7
By David Ubben
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
NORMAN, Okla. -- DeMarco Murray's injury against Texas Tech gets overshadowed a little bit compared to that of his teammate, Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford.
But the sophomore tailback's season ended when he dislocated his kneecap against Texas Tech last season. And he's exacting his revenge so far in impressive fashion in Oklahoma's 42-7 halftime advantage over the Red Raiders.
A heavy dose of Murray and tight end Jermaine Gresham and an aggressive blitzing defense has enabled the Sooners to take a convincing lead in what was supposed to be an offensive shootout
Murray has already rushed for 110 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns and added 44 more receiving yards on two receptions as Oklahoma's primary offensive weapon. Chris Brown chipped in with 82 yards and two touchdowns as the Sooners have been gashing a Tech defense that has been reeling since the opening possession.
Bradford, who missed most of last season's game against Texas Tech after sustaining a concussion, is getting his revenge, too. He's passed for two touchdowns and helped the Sooners score on six of their seven possessions in a dominant 402-yard performance. That's more yardage than Texas Tech has given up in any of their last four games.
Oklahoma's line is asserting itself in the trenches on both sides of the ball. The Sooners have rolled up 226 yards rushing and are averaging 9.3 yards per snap in a dominating, one-sided performance.
Here are some other trends I've noticed so far ...
- Oklahoma's defense has been dominating from the opening snap. Defensive coordinator Brent Venables cooked up a blitz-heavy scheme heavy on bringing his cornerbacks and linebackers. After the barrage, Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell appears to be checking down in his calls on several occasions. He's looking more flummoxed than I've seen him since his first season as a starter.
- Oklahoma freshman linebacker Travis Lewis was a record-setting running back in high school in San Antonio. He showed some good open-field running ability on a 47-yard interception return late in the first half that set up the Sooners' last TD.
- How badly has the Sooners' blitzkrieg of offense discombulated Texas Tech? At one point late in the first half, Texas Tech coach Mike Leach frantically called for a timeout. One problem. He didn't have one to call. Even though it briefly stopped the Sooners, they still scored later in the drive.
- I wonder if Tech's lack of consistent field-goal kicking affected how Leach approached his call on his deepest penetration. On a fourth-and-3 from the Oklahoma 15, Leach went for it and failed when Harrell's shovel pass for Shannon Woods was incomplete. Having a consistent kicker might have made him at least think about going for three.
- The best receiver on the field has been Gresham, who has been open all night long on drag patterns down the middle. Gresham has snagged five receptions for 95 yards and already broken the school career receiving yardage mark set by Trent Smith.
- The only notable injury so far has been Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who went down with a left ankle injury early in the second quarter. McCoy limped off the field, but exhorted the crowd to make more noise as he left.