Photo

OU’s Marvin Mims stiff arms a defender during the Sooners’ game against Texas Tech Saturday at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.

Compared to last week’s game at Kansas, Lincoln Riley’s tone was a bit different following Oklahoma’s 52-21 win over Texas Tech.

“Fantastic team win. A complete performance all the way around, offense, defense and special teams,” Riley said. “Huge contributions from everybody.”

It was arguably the Sooners’ most complete game of the season, and a much-needed bounce back following a disappointing performance last week.

There were a few key differences.

Heading into Saturday’s game, Riley stressed the need for a better start against Texas Tech. The Red Raiders got the ball first, and the Sooners’ defense promptly forced a three-and-out.

Texas Tech had the ball four times in the first quarter but the Sooners forced punts on three of those possessions, while the OU offense scored on two of three first-quarter possessions.

By the end of the first quarter, the Sooners led 14-7.

“We certainly wanted to start fast. We talked about it,” Riley said. “But at the end of the day, we knew we had to play four quarters and that would be a big shot in the arm, getting off to that good start. It did. Defensively getting those stops early [was] big.”

The Sooners offense, led by Caleb Williams, kept it up in the second quarter.

With Texas Tech focused on stopping the Sooners’ running game, the pressure was on Caleb Williams to make plays. He did, finding Brayden Willis and Drake Stoops for back-to-back touchdowns to give the team a 28-7 halftime lead — 28 more points than the Sooners had at halftime last week.

There was just an energy on display for the Sooners in the first half, which Riley and players credited to improved practices this week.

“[We] definitely attacked [practice] this week,” OU defensive lineman Isaiah Thomas said. “The way we performed translated to the way we practiced. We had a different way of how we practiced this week.”

The offense kept it up in the second half, with Williams finding Marvin Mims on a 43-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Williams capped off his day with a nine-yard touchdown to Austin Stogner in the fourth quarter.

Just like it was a bounce-back performance for the team, it was for Williams, too, who struggled in the first half against Kansas. Against the Red Raiders, he finished with 402 passing yards, six touchdowns and completed 23-of-30 pass attempts.

“There’s some things just for him that he does at a young age that are really impressive,” Riley said. “You know, he’s got a good calm demeanor about the game. He’s done a good job in scramble situations here early in the season. He does a good job not getting too high or too low.”

It was also a much better performance for the defense, who held Texas Tech to 14 points before garbage time ensued in the fourth quarter. The defense made more plays than it has in recent weeks, finishing with two interceptions and a fumble recovery.

Coming into Saturday’s game, the Sooners had three interceptions on the season.

“There was better football on display [today],” OU defensive coordinator Alex Grinch said. “I was pleased with some progress we showed.”

The Sooners were a different team against the Red Raiders, and it was the kind of dominant game the Sooners have lacked this season.

And it could be a win that gives the team momentum heading into the bye week.

“I’m proud of the win, proud of the way we played,” Riley said. “We’ll get into the bye week and get some work done, get a couple guys back healthy, and a couple more key contributors back pretty quick. and get ready for our favorite month of the year.”

Jesse Crittenden is the sports editor of The Transcript and covers OU athletics. Reach him at jesse@normantranscript.com or at 405-366-3580

Trending Video

Recommended for you