Nation's Longest Home Streak Comes to a Halt
OU linebacker Corey Nelson
OU linebacker Corey Nelson
SoonersIllustrated.com Publisher
Posted Oct 23, 2011
Joey Helmer


NORMAN, Okla. — In a place where the Sooners have been nearly immortal, they were perfectly mortal Saturday night.

Victors of a nation-high 39 straight games at home, the Sooners came out flat and their comeback effort fell short in a narrow 41-38 defeat in front of 85,204 at a soggy, rain-soaked Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.

"I don't know that it has to be all that surprising at the end of the day," said head coach Bob Stoops. "Teams we play can come in here and beat us. Maybe sometimes too much is said about it, like it can't happen. That's what I told the players. Anyone who we will play the rest of the year will whoop us if we don't play better than we did today."

Stats more than back that up.

The Red Raiders out-gained the Sooners 572-536 and it was way more lopsided than that until the final minutes.

They had 27 first downs to OU's 24.

They had a pair of takeaways to zero for OU.

And they just dominated the time of possession battle 34:59 to 25:01, very indicative of the tempo the game was played at.

"Offensively, we were really poor executing the pass game and run game," Stoops said. "Outside of Roy's [Finch] run early, I thought what we tried to do the rest of the day wasn't very effective. I don't want to see a bunch of yards late. We had a chance late to have a chance to win. It was too little too late to put ourself in the hole we did."

That hole was as much as 24 points early in the second half and 17 on three other occasions.

When it reached its peak, however, is when OU started to make what appeared to be a remarkable comeback.

First, wide receiver Kenny Stills caught a 58-yard pass deep down the right sideline from quarterback Landry Jones and took it to the house.

That made it 31-14 at the time with 11:16 remaining in the third.

Late in the third, place kicker Mike Hunnicutt hit a 22-yard field goal to cut the deficit to just two touchdowns.

That’s when things really started to get interesting.

With less than two minutes left in the third quarter, Texas Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville elected to try a fake punt on fourth-and-4 at their own 41, and the Red Raiders came up one yard short.

OU made them pay to start the fourth quarter when Jones found fullback Trey Millard in the flat for the 3-yard touchdown, cutting the Tech advantage to just 31-24.

But the Sooner defense couldn’t get off the field on the ensuing drive without allowing points.

Tech quarterback Seth Doege guided his offense 54 yards in 2:51, setting up a field goal by place kicker Donnie Carona from 37 yards out that helped reclaim a two-score lead.

Then, Doege threw a beautiful ball in the back of the end zone to Tram Swindall for a 14-yard touchdown that seemingly put the game away at 41-24 with just 7:38 to go.

Still, OU wasn’t done yet.

Following a successful fourth down conversion, Jones hooked up with wide receiver Jaz Reynolds for a 55-yard touchdown, again cutting the deficit to 10.

And if it weren’t for a botched 28-yarder from Hunnicutt with just less than three minutes to play, OU just might have successfully completed the comeback.

That’s because the defense forced a three-and-out and Jones drove OU 60 yards in 36 seconds for the game’s final score, a 22-yard pass to tight end James Hanna, which made it 41-38 Tech.

The Sooners, then, could not recover the onside kick, enabling the Red Raiders to kneel out the clock.

Texas Tech quickly got on the board first when they returned the opening kickoff out to the 46-yard line and moved 56 yards on just three plays, capped off by a 44-yard touchdown toss from Doege to wide receiver Alex Torres, one of three connections between the two on the day.

But the Sooners responded with a speedy three-play scoring drive of their own, distancing 70 yards in just one minute’s time and tying the game at seven when Jones hit Stills for the 15-yard score.

The Red Raiders took the lead back early in the second quarter and never relinquished it again when Doege found the end zone on a fourth-and-goal run at the 1-yard line.

They extended it to 14 points later in the quarter on a jailbreak screen pass from Doege to Torres that went 30 yards to pay dirt.

And Tech took a 17-point lead into intermission when place kicker Donnie Carona booted through a 40-yarder with 1:26 remaining in the first half.

Doege and Torres’ final scoring play came early in the third quarter on an 11-yard pass that upped Tech’s lead to 31-7 at the time.

Jones finished 30-of-55 for 412 yards and five touchdowns along with one interception.

Stills led all receivers with 135 yards on eight catches and a pair of touchdowns.

Finch had 93 yards on the ground in leading the OU rushing game.

For the Red Raiders, Doege threw for a ridiculous 441 yards and four touchdowns, completing 33-of-52 passes without a pick.

Torres had just four catches, but three of those were touchdowns, as he racked up 94 receiving yards.

Running back Deandre Washington led the Tech ground attack with 84 yards.

OU (6-1, 3-1 Big 12) now heads north to take on the Kansas State Wildcats in Manhattan, Kan., at 2:30 p.m. next Saturday, while the Red Raiders (5-2, 2-2 Big 12) await Iowa State in Lubbock.

Follow me at twitter.com/joeyhelmer10 or facebook.com/joeyhelmer.



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