It's not as if you can point to a single thing or person as the sole reason why Oklahoma was upset at home by Texas Tech this past weekend. No, you don't just fall behind 31-7 by the early part of the third quarter. A swirl of mistakes and circumstances made for the Red Raiders' 41-38 stunner at Owen Field. “They handily beat us in every part of the game,” OU coach Bob Stoops said. “They came in here and totally beat us in all facets.”
1. Earth to Vegas: Tech's pretty good
Let's start by acknowledging the fact that, hey, Texas Tech is not a bad team. When Oklahoma opened as a 25-28-point favorite, it created an inflated sense of worth for OU – and a deflated sense of worth for Tech. Well, at least in the casual observer's mind. It likely infuriated the Red Raiders, who had played the previous two weeks with ranked teams before losing in the final minutes. Give Tech credit. It came and conquered where winning has literally been impossible for half a decade. They were impressive, executing a good plan on both sides of the ball.
2. Headstrong and underprepared
You'd think Oklahoma would have learned its lesson, what with numerous slow starts in the first six games due to overlooking opponents. Even lowly Kansas trailed by a touchdown in the final minute of the first half. The Sooners keep making the same mistake of preparing poorly, even after vowing – following the 38-28 win against Missouri – that it wouldn't happen again. It finally bit them Saturday. The difference from those other slow starts? Took to long to snap out of it. By the time OU did, it trailed by 24 in the third quarter. Too late. Being knocked from third to ninth in the BCS rankings should provide humility.
3. Injury bug 1, Sooners 0
You do have to consider the Sooners were without their starting running back, center, a defensive tackle, middle linebacker and cover corner. That's quite a bit to overcome, even if Tech still was not as talented as OU. The loss of Jamell Fleming at corner seemed most glaring. The senior never looked more important than when Tech's receivers regularly got behind the reserve corners. Dominique Whaley's bout with the flu seemed costly, too. His role in the offense is perhaps more integral than we might have realized.
4. Jumping the Sharks
Fleming or no, the Sooners' defense was exposed Saturday night. Even Demontre Hurst, who had been lauded in such high regard, was picked on by Seth Doege and Tech's receivers. Oklahoma had no awareness of when the ball was in the air – perhaps because no team had gone deep on the secondary that much. The Red Raiders seemed to see something on film to exploit, and they did so most of the night – enough to score 41 points without any direct help from turnovers.
5. Left more points on field
Oklahoma was twice inside the Tech 10, with goal to go. The second ended in a touchdown on first down, with a nice play-action throw to Trey Millard in the end zone. The first, though, was disaster. The Sooners had second-and-goal from the 1-yard line – 3 feet from the end zone – and Millard, playing tailback, was blown up in the backfield because of poor blocking up front. Jones recovered the fumble. He missed Trey Franks in the end zone on the next play, forcing a short Michael Hunnicutt kick. Four points left on the field, right there. OU now has 15 touchdowns in 24 goal-to-go situations.