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OU vs. Tech: The Answers
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An inside look at the Sooners' loss in Lubbock
In each week's issue of Sooner Spectator, George Schroeder (of The Oklahoman) examines the Sooners' game, inside and out. Here are The Answers from the OU-Tech game on Saturday, won by the Red Raiders, 23-21.
Q: What was the turning point in the final minutes?
A: There were plenty of events, on the field and in the replay booth, to choose from. But here are two you might not have picked.
First, consider the kickoff out of bounds. It was a squib kick, designed to cut under the wind and prevent a big return. But when Garrett Hartley's offering bounced out of bounds near the goal line, Texas Tech was set up at its 35.
Next, forget the fourth-and-3 conversion (or nonconversion, if you disagreed with the officials' spot). Two plays later, Cody Hodges found Danny Amendola free on a seam route. Eighteen yards later, the Red Raiders were in business at the OU 5.
Q: What did Tech do that hurt the most?
A: It wasn't the passing game. Mostly, the Sooners contained the Red Raiders.But Tech's ability to run the football was something new. Mike Leach wants to pass. He loves to pass. In the past, he's probably passed when he should have run. Against OU, though, Leach served notice from the very beginning he would run it when Taurean Henderson went 8 yards on a draw play.
By halftime, Tech had 123 rushing yards. The final numbers were 144 yards on 31 attemptsâ€”and that was 172 yards before subtracting losses on sacks.
This, from an offense that ranked 11th in the Big 12 in rushing, averaging 103.7 yards on 25.3 attempts.
Q: Where is OU going bowling?
A: The Cotton Bowl is out, which maybe doesn't matter so much to fans who would rather not have gone to Big D again. But a matchup with Alabama or some other SEC team would have been a great storyline, wouldn't it?
Now, OU has three bowl possibilities: Holiday, Alamo or Independence. The Sooners go to Shreveport if they lose to Oklahoma State. If they win, the other two bowls are in play; it's more likely, however, that they'll fall to the Alamo Bowl, where they'll face a Big Ten team. Now that's a rare occurrence for OU.
Q: OK, were there any positives?
A: Here are two. The offense didn't put together a complete gameâ€”perhaps it will not. But again, the Sooners were able to put together drives in clutch situations. The defense faded at the end, but for much of the day, was pretty good. All in all, despite plenty of problems, it was not a half-bad dayâ€”except for the final result. Another step in the evolution of a young team. Yeah, it was a step back, but it's part of the process.