Oklahoma Football: On This Date in Sooner Gridiron History
Five years ago on this date, an Oklahoma football team that had rolled through the first half of the 2011 season undefeated was set to host a Texas Tech team coming off two straight home losses.
The odds couldn’t have been stacked more in Oklahoma’s favor. The Sooners had rolled over six previous opponents, including wins over then No. 5 Florida State at Florida State and No. 11 Texas in the annual Red River rivalry game at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.
Oklahoma’s average victory margin in the 3rd-ranked Sooners six consecutive wins was 30 points (45.3 to 15.8).
The Sooners were playing at home, where they had lost only twice in the 13 seasons Bob Stoops had been at OU and not in the previous 39 games played at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.
Texas Tech, on the other hand, had begun the season with four straight wins, but the well had run dry by the fifth game and the Red Raiders suffered back-to-back home defeats to Texas A&M and Kansas State.
Having to go to Oklahoma, where the Sooners rarely lose, badly in need of a win was about as long odds as you can get.
It very easily could have been a sign of things to come. The game was delayed by lightning for about an hour and a half.
When the game finally got underway, neither team could gain an advantage in the opening quarter, each scoring a touchdown for a 7-7 deadlock. But things turned dramatically in the second quarter, when the Red Raiders shocked the Sooners and silenced the sell-out crowd with 17 unanswered points and a 24-7 halftime lead.
Two minutes into the second half, Tech increased its advantage to 24. and just like that, Oklahoma found itself down 31-7 in front of the home crowd. The Sooners woke up after that, putting two touchdowns on the board to pull within a touchdown, at 31-24, early in the fourth quarter.
Just when the Sooners thought they had things rolling, though, the Red Raiders got a 39-yard field goal, then followed a three-and-out by quarterback Landry Jones and the OU offense with their fifth touchdown of the night to stretch the lead back out to 17 points.
Refusing to lay down, the Sooners mounted a gallant comeback attempt, drawing within three points following a 55-yard touchdown pass from Jones to Jaz Reynolds, but that was as close as Oklahoma would come to a seventh straight victory to begin the season and making it 40 consecutive home wins, something that had been accomplished by only eight NCAA Division I teams.
The upset was only the third home loss in 78 games at home under Bob Stoops’ leadership and dropped the Sooners six spots in the Associated Press poll. Oklahoma had not lost a game at home since the opening game of the 2005 season, when TCU performed the trick.
After the game, Bob Stoops told reporters, “The team we play can come in here and beat us. And sometimes maybe too much is said about it, like it can’t happen.
“I told the players that anyone who we’ll play the rest of the year will whoop us if we don’t play better than we did today. They just flat out beat us.”
The Sooners would go on to lose twice more to Big 12 opponents (both on the road, at Baylor and Oklahoma State) that season and finish the 2011 campaign with a 10-3 record and 6-3 in the conference.
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