Oklahoma Exposes Texas Tech's Defense, Keeps BCS Hopes Alive

Ben KerchevalCollege Football Lead WriterOctober 26, 2013


It had been two weeks since Texas ran the football down Oklahoma's throat in a 36-20 win in the Red River Rivalry. Against Texas Tech on Saturday, the Sooners got their chance to pay it forward. 

Oklahoma ran nine times during a 12-play, 53-yard game-defining drive in the fourth quarter that resulted in a field goal. The result? A 38-30 win over the Red Raiders to keep the Sooners' Big 12 title hopes alive. 

As well as their BCS hopes, no matter how dim. 

Oklahoma has been rebuilding an offense based around the run after gaining the reputation as one of the best passing programs in the country over the past several years. That rebuilding process has included a quarterback change from Trevor Knight to Blake Bell and resulted in fewer big plays. 

That trend continued through one quarter against Texas Tech. The game was delayed by a little over an hour thanks to inclement weather. As a result, scoring got a late start too. 

But a 16-play, 97-yard drive in the second quarter by OU tied the game at 7-7. That's when things really began to take off for Oklahoma. 

Bell overcame his slow start to finish with 249 yards passing and a pair of touchdown passes to receiver Jalen Saunders, who had 153 yards on six catches. The big-play ability that Saunders brings, and that had been noticeably absent lately, was finally found in the form of a 76-yard score to put OU up 14-7. 

OU would then score on a 35-yard run from wide receiver Lacoltan Bester that resembled the trick play the Sooners ran against Kansas in Week 8. 

Explosive plays like those eventually yielded to more methodical drives in the fourth quarter. That's when Oklahoma's offensive line manhandled Tech's smaller defensive front six, opening holes for running backs Damien Williams and Roy Finch. 

It was the most diverse, and fun, the Sooners offense has looked all year. Bell was confident, and offensive coordinator Josh Heupel was creative. 

It certainly instills some confidence that Oklahoma can score against any four of its remaining opponents (Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas State and Oklahoma State). Who knows, get four wins and things could open up for the Sooners on the national landscape. 

Texas would have to lose twice. So would just about every other team in college football for the Sooners to think about a BCS Championship appearance. But there's a solid month of football yet to be played and teams like the 2011 Alabama Crimson Tide have showed nothing's impossible. 

Especially if Oklahoma starts playing its best football at the right time. Week 9 isn't a bad place to start.