So any time a team accomplishes the feat, it’s worth a second, third and fourth look.
The last time someone knocked off the Sooners on their home field came last October, when Texas Tech shockingly defeated previously undefeated Oklahoma 41-38.
How did the Red Raiders do it? Allow coach Tommy Tuberville to explain:
“Defense is a priority when you are playing on somebody’s home turf. We didn’t play too many good defensive games last year, and we still gave up 38 points, but that was our best defensive game of the year. We were able to win on third-down conversations more than we had all year long and were able to get our offense back on the field.”
Texas Tech’s defense was a big reason why the Red Raiders won a year ago, but it wasn’t the only reason. Let’s go to the box score for a deeper look.
The Red Raiders also churned out tons off offense and jumped out to an early lead. Both were extremely important.
Texas Tech amassed 572 yards, out-gaining Oklahoma by 36 yards. It threw for 452 yards, but still managed to win the time-of-possession battle 34:59 to 25:01.
With quarterback Seth Doege throwing the ball so magnificently, the Red Raiders were able to score 31 points shortly after the third quarter began. But the game was over at that point, because of the way their defense played.
Oklahoma scored all but seven of its points in the second half, and gained most of its yardage after the game was out of reach. Sure, the final numbers look good. But take a look at its first nine drives.
They ended with a touchdown, a punt, a punt, a missed field goal, a fumble, and five straight punts. That allowed Texas Tech to take a 31-7 lead and hang on for victory.
Jones had a low completion rate that night, connecting on 30 of 55 passes. He misfired a lot in the first half, and his bad throws led to punts. Oklahoma was five for 17 on third-down conversions. Texas Tech pressured Jones that night, but didn’t sack him a single time. Its defense was more effective in coverage.
By comparison, let’s take a look at Oklahoma’s 58-17 win over K-State a week later. If losing at home to Texas Tech was one of the Sooners’ worst games of the year, winning at K-State was one of their best.
They seemed to correct everything they did wrong against the Red Raiders. They got off to a fast start, they scored touchdowns from start to finish and did a much, much better job defending the pass.
K-State won the time-of-possession battle 31:14 to 28:46, but lost everywhere else. Oklahoma gained 690 yards of offense and Jones threw for 505 yards and five touchdowns. He wasn’t pressured, and had open receivers to throw to.
Said former safety Tysyn Hartman: “When he doesn’t get pressure in his face, he’s a surgeon back there. He can really pick apart coverages. That’s what he’s good at. Unfortunately, that’s not something that happened today. We weren’t covering well enough to allow the pressure to get there.”
The Wildcats did OK running for 182 yards, but were terrible trying to throw the ball. Oklahoma held them to 58 passing yards.
In that game, Oklahoma’s first nine drives looked like this:
A touchdown, a touchdown, a punt, an interception, a touchdown, and interception and three straight touchdowns.
The two turnovers helped, and allowed K-State to fight back from an early 14-0 hole. But it didn’t have enough to hang with the Sooners in the second half. It couldn’t complete enough passes on offense or knock down enough passes on defense.
Oklahoma is a 14-point favorite heading into Saturday’s game. If K-State hopes to pull the upset, the final stats will have to look more like the ones Texas Tech produced last year than the ones it managed in Manhattan.