Delay of Recap: OU Escapes Lubbock, Beats Texas Tech 51-46

Anytime you can escape Lubbock with a win it’s a good thing, right?

Right?

While this game wasn’t quite the offensive mess of the 2016 meeting between Oklahoma and Texas Tech, it was a game where defense clearly was on the back burner. Saturday was one of the sloppiest we’ve seen a Sooner team play in quite a while and if this there a better team (or if Alan Bowman didn’t get hurt) this could have ended in a crushing defeat for OU.

  • In last week’s Schooner Pod, I noted that we haven’t exactly seen Kyler Murray play in any intense road atmosphere at OU. Considering the only thing close to those circumstances would be the Texas game where Murray threw a questionable interception and lost the ball on a pretty rough fumble, I thought we might see him rattled in Lubbock and boy was he. Murray threw two picks from inside his own twenty five on Oklahoma’s first two drives of the game, putting the Sooners in a 14-0 hole right from the gun. While Kyler did recover his composure, throwing for 360 yards and adding 100 on the ground, this has to be a major concern for a team with a date in Morgantown on the schedule.
  • As bad as the officiating was, the only reason this game was close is due to easily fixed mistakes. Too many holds, too many pass interference calls (two of which in the endzone, with one of them not even being one at all), and too many personal fouls. This game, as well as the earlier Texas-West Virginia game, were entirely too over officiated which is becoming a frustrating trend with these officiating crews. Apparently, you have to play emotionless or else the flags will be flying.
  • The defense is (justifiably) getting slammed, but honestly there were some aspects of improvement. Most of the good aspects did happen after Red Raider quarterback Alan Bowman exited the game with his collapsed lung issue coming back, but the defensive line pressure and red zone defense looked good.
  • With that being said, Antoine Wesley, Tech’s 6’5 receiver, going off for 199 yards was not ideal. As noted MANY times, our secondary has a clear issue with large receivers. This is a personnel issue; our corners simply aren’t big enough to stop any tall receiver it seems. Spin Zone: maybe one of them will break out the Russell Westbrook “rock the baby” celebration and get an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty from a Big 12 ref.
  • The twin pillars of CeeDee Lamb and Marquise Brown have dominated the OU receiving column this season, but yesterday Lee Morris was the star of the show. Morris, who is usually known for basically only catching touchdowns, had a monster game for the Sooners yesterday with 101 yards on four receptions and two touchdowns.
  • How about the attempt to throw Carson Meier a fade in the endzone?

MVP: Trey Sermon

Having a deep stable of running backs is massively beneficial for many reasons, but with Lincoln Riley’s “go with the hot hand” strategy it provides an important motivational tool; perform or ride the pine. After TCU, I though we might see Kennedy Brooks fill more of a leading role. Trey Sermon has sure flipped that notion on its head the past two weeks. Sermon broke off a career day, rushing for 206 yards and three touchdowns. The guy simply couldn’t be stopped, blending a mix of hard running with his excellent ability to separate in open space.

LVP(s): Pretty Much Everyone But Trey Sermon

Simply put, OU did not look like themselves at all. I don’t know if it was the fouls, the rough start or the Tech atmosphere, but the Sooners just couldn’t shake the funk. The decision making on and off the field was just really off. In addition to what I’ve covered already, the offensive looked rushed and panicked at times, the defensive IQ was highly questionable and honestly this just wasn’t a good performance. The Oklahoma offense did play great, but if the Sooners want to win anything of substance they can’t rely on the offense to bail them out. If they do, the game will most likely end the way it did in the Cotton Bowl.

The Big Idea:

I know it’s hard to feel good about this team’s overall chances with teams like Alabama, Michigan and Clemson looking dominant in all facets of the this weekend, but you gotta realize that this game is about survival. You don’t have to be the best team every game, just the best team that day. OU looked rough, but the loss column still has one L in it. Sometimes, escape is the best you can ask for.

Up Next:

Corndog and Oklahoma State in Norman for Bedlam.

Gameday Guide: Texas Tech

As I have said many times, Lubbock isn’t exactly my favorite town. Despite that, there are several spots you need to go to (and steps you need to take) in order to maximize your college football Saturday.

Weather

As of Thursday morning, we are looking at around 60° and partly cloudy for kickoff with the temperature dipping into the 50s as the night goes on. A light jacket and pants will be just fine; perfect football weather.

How to do Gameday

We finally get a road night game, which means the full Gameday experience will be on display.

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The OU section is in section 111. In typical Tech fashion, they made sure to make OU’s angle as hard as possible. As you can see from the seating chart above, many of the seats are behind the enormous video board which is literally the only one in the stadium. The other board to the south is an old school scoreboard shaped like a double-T with no video capability. In other words, expect an old school experience.

As with most stadiums nowadays, Jones AT&T Stadium has a clear bag policy like OU’s. I don’t believe there are metal detectors, but as always, be safe and go plastic.

Jones AT&T Stadium is to directly to the south of Marsha Sharp Freeway. While there are some parking and tailgating spaces around the stadium, I would recommend going further south of the stadium for entertainment options. Most of the college-type bars are directly to the south, as are some of the larger tailgates.

Expect to be heckled the entire time you are walking around, especially if you are wearing Crimson and Cream. Travel in packs; trust me on this.


Where to Eat

Lubbock isn’t exactly a mecca of culture. With that being said, it does have one of my favorite college bars and a few spots here and there to focus in on.

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Spanky’s

Ohhh do I love Spanky’s. This place is a perfect college bar/restaurant that can best be described as the Texas Tech Eskimo Joe’s. The burgers are solid, but the true star of the show are the incomparable cheese sticks. These things are not only massive, but they are the best mozzarella sticks I’ve ever had. Leaving Lubbock without one would be a disgrace; I think I might be going back pretty much just for them. Expect Spanky’s to be pretty packed on Gameday, so plan your trip accordingly.

Some Chain Restaurant, I Don’t Really Know

This town is a bit of your standard town. Last time I was there, we went to Salt Lick, Spanky’s, Pizza Hut (it was late and we were exhausted, don’t judge), and Spanky’s again before we left. Not exactly the most interesting spread, but talk to the locals and figure it out.


Where to Drink

Last time I was in Lubbock, most of my crew was under 21, so bars were out of the question. Plus, after that grueling duel with Patrick Mahomes, could you blame us for wanting to go home and sleep? Either way, here are a few watering holes to stop by before or after the game.

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Chimy’s

ANOTHER CHIMY’S TOWN! This one is quite a bit cooler than the one in Fort Worth. Expect your standard Chimy’s experience; great margs, decent food and a solid place to party.

Fun Fact: Baker Mayfield got kicked out of this place in 2015 just for being Baker Mayfield. Iconic. 

Any Bar around University and Broadway

Again, Lubbock isn’t exactly my specialty. Most of my partying experience has been outside of bars in this town. Most of the good bars are on the corner of University and Broadway, so I suggest perusing around that area for a good spot. Honestly, just get booze in this town and you’ll be fine.

 

Game Week: Texas Tech

Here we are: Championship November. While the name doesn’t have the same luster that it did before the reintroduction of the Big 12 Championship game, this is annually a crucial stretch for the Sooners. Not only have the games been big, but OU actually wins them at a crazy high rate, posting an undefeated record in the month since Lincoln Riley’s arrival in Norman.

The first test is a sneakily tall one; a national TV night game in Lubbock is no walk in the park. Jones AT&T Stadium is an absolute madhouse. The city of Lubbock is basically Australia; a desolate wasteland where the assholes, degenerates and underachievers of the state are jettisoned off to get a mediocre degree that is slightly better than that of Texas State. These people are classless at levels that you can only find here and deep in the Appalachian Mountains.

This isn’t sleepy Ames or a half full private school stadium at 11 AM; this is a fight.

Meet the Red Raiders:

Texas Tech goes into this game on a bit of a low note after a tough road loss at scrappy Iowa State. However, to say they have dead momentum would be dead wrong; Raider fans have been waiting for a night game since September 2017.

On offense, Texas Tech is what you think they are. Air raid, anemic rushing game, tons of passing yards, yada yada. They aren’t at the level they were in the Patrick Mahomes era, but they still have the ability to light up a scoreboard.

The Red Raider defense, while nowhere near an elite unit, aren’t comprised of the pushovers we are used to seeing. According to ESPN, they rank around 47th in overall defensive efficiency. While I don’t think any defense can truly contain Kyler Murray and co., this is certainly something to watch for.

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Who to Watch For:

#10 Alan Bowman, QB

For a freshman, Alan Bowman has sure been through a lot this season. In his first game against Ole Miss, the true freshman had to come on after starting quarterback McLane Carter was carted off with an injury. While the Red Raiders did not win that game, Bowman showed himself to be the clear number one option for Tech after two huge wins over dark horse New Year’s Six contender Houston and then undefeated Oklahoma State.

However, things got weird when Bowman suffered a collapsed lung against West Virginia. In the Red Raider’s two games without their freshman phenom, the offensive production took a massive dip. This is a Tech team that doesn’t quite have the elite caliber of offense we’ve come to expect from them and if they have any shot at taking out the Sooners.

Series History: 19-6 (Oklahoma)

Lubbock has a semi-recent history of being a bit of a graveyard for Oklahoma football seasons. While that isn’t necessarily true at the moment as OU currently holds a six game win streak against Tech, from 2005-2011 the Red Raiders actually held a 4-3 record on the Sooners, with three of the wins coming in Lubbock.

In all three losses, weird stuff happened.

  • 2005: Texas Tech scores on a last second touchdown, despite the runner’s knee appearing to hit the ground before he was able to cross the goal line. Whether or not he got in or not is still hotly contested. Fortunately, we got this video, which makes everything better.
  • 2007: #4 Oklahoma heads to Lubbock to face Texas Tech, who is introduced on ABC by businessman, reality TV star and friend of then head coach Mike Leach, Donald Trump. In first quarter, star OU freshman Sam Bradford is knocked out of the game in the first quarter with a concussion, leaving the Sooners reeling. This one was doomed from the start.

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  • 2009: An already brutal season hit rock bottom as Landry Jones and the walking wounded Sooners got slaughtered by Tech in a bit of revenge for the 2008 Jump Around game in Norman. To make matters worse, this game soiled some fantastic alternate uniforms. For shame.

Outside that stretch, Oklahoma has basically been fine in Lubbock. However, as this was the “formative years” so to say of OU football for my generation, it’s hard not to automatically think the place is haunted. Especially after what happened last time.

Yeaaah this is story that will get A TON of play this week. Not only because Saturday marks the first time OU hits the field at Jones AT&T Stadium since shootout, but because Baker Mayfield and Patrick Mahomes are facing off in the pros on Sunday. Either way, this game still gives me a headache.