Sunday, October 23, 2011
Oklahoma's biggest problems surface again
By David Ubben
The Sooners have struggled in the red zone all season, and have shuffled kickers in and out of the lineup for three seasons.
Both came into play and cost Oklahoma in a shocking 41-38 loss to Texas Tech, 28-point underdogs.
Michael Hunnicut clanged a 28-yard field goal off the upright late in the fourth quarter, and Oklahoma scored just one of its three second-half touchdowns from the red zone. It settled for one field goal, and also missed a 39-yard kick earlier in the game.
With that, Oklahoma's home-game winning streak and it's national championship hopes are over.
The warning signs were there in lackluster wins over Kansas and Missouri this year. The offense sputtered for most of the game against the worst defense in the nation last week at Kansas, and the defense gave up more than 500 yards to Missouri.
Saturday night, Texas Tech did what it wanted offensively for almost the entire 60 minutes and put up 600 yards and 41 points, all season highs, against the Sooners.
Just like Texas Tech did against Texas in 2008, the Sooners' national title hopes are dashed. Seth Doege to Alex Torres may not have the same ring to it as Graham Harrell to Michael Crabtree, but the duo was almost as potent Saturday against Oklahoma's defense, which was missing top cornerback Jamell Fleming.
Torres caught four passes for 94 yards and three touchdowns, tormenting Oklahoma's secondary with big plays.
Doege threw for 441 yards and four touchdowns on 33-of-52 passing.
Oklahoma didn't play well, but Texas Tech walked in and won this game, fully intending to do so all night. Tommy Tuberville faked a punt and went for it on fourth down twice inside the 5-yard line.
Only one of those attempts worked, but it said a lot about Texas Tech's intentions and mindset. Both paid off, and Tuberville has the biggest win of his two seasons in Lubbock.
Next week's showdown with Kansas State has lost a bit of its luster, but Oklahoma State and Kansas State are the last two remaining undefeated teams in the Big 12.
Who saw that one coming?