Are y’all ready to jump around? I know I am!
Where were you when this thrashing went down back in 2008? I was in the student section having a wonderful time until my buzz tragically wore off. I remember that I sort of started getting the spins just before Sam Bradford hit Manny Johnson on that deep ball, and my friends started patting me on the back really hard and almost made me throw up a bunch of gold flakes. I still to this day have not consumed Goldschläger since that evening. I’ve caught a whiff of it a few times at bars, which summons a combination of nausea and nostalgia. Oh, to be 19 again.
Anyway, we’re not going to see anything resembling the “Jump Around Game” on Saturday night (with the exception of the probable playing of “Jump Around”), but I’m hoping for a pretty good showing from the fan base. As you’re likely aware, the Oklahoma Sooners are hosting a number of blue-chip recruits this weekend, and the staff wants the fans to put on a show for these guys. How much of an impact will the crowd have on that? It’s tough to say, but an amped-up crowd can obviously be nothing but a positive on that front. With it being the first true night game of the season and also factoring Halloween festivities into the equation, I think this environment is going to be pretty solid. Incredible? Maybe not, but definitely good enough.
Now, onto the preview.
Before we begin, I’d like to point at that Sam is the usual preview guy, but he’ll actually be doing the recap instead since Austin — our usual recap guy — will be in Waco for Baylor-Texas. I actually haven’t written a game preview of any kind since my last few weeks working at Georgia Tech, so I’m going to try to have some fun with this one.
Let’s start of by going down Memory Lane and throwing it back to my five favorite wins over the Texas Tech Red Raiders:
5. 1993 John Hancock Bowl - Oklahoma 41, Texas Tech 10
Before Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Baylor joined forces with the Big Eight to form the Big 12, Oklahoma had faced the Red Raiders on three occasions — all during the Gary Gibbs Era. One of those matchups came in El Paso for a bowl game that has usually been named the Sun Bowl throughout its history. For a brief period of time, however, it was the John Hancock Bowl, and the game featured an 8-3 OU squad led by Cale Gundy. The 6-5 Raiders were never really competitive in this one as OU rolled to an easy W in the Rio Grande.
4. 2006 - Oklahoma 34, Texas Tech 24
In the first of three matchups between Oklahoma and Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell, the Sooners trailed 24-10 after a pick-six with 1:43 left in the first half. However, Paul Thompson never lacked for mental toughness that season. He would proceed to hit Malcolm Kelly for a 40-yard TD pass just before halftime, and the momentum was OU’s once again. In the second half, freshman Chris Brown scored a pair of touchdowns to put the Sooners up for good as the OU pressed on in its quest to win a conference title.
3. 2002 - Oklahoma 65, Texas Tech 10
Kliff Kingsbury, Wes Welker and the No. 24 Red Raiders thought they were going to come into Norman and pull of an upset of the No. 4 team in the country. Instead, the Oklahoma defense forced two safeties, sacked Kingsbury six times and intercepted him twice. Meanwhile, Quentin Griffin ran for 207 yards and three touchdowns.
2. 2013 - Oklahoma 38, Texas Tech 30
Aside from the games in 2005 (in which OU was robbed of a win by the officials) and 2016 (no defense whatsoever) this was the most dramatic OU-Tech game of the Stoops Era. This one required a stop late in the game, resulting in another “Jump Around” moment for OU fans as No. 10 Texas Tech was handed its first loss of the season. OU actually trailed for a period of time late in the third quarter, but Lacoltan Bester produced the highlight of the night to give OU the lead shortly thereafter.
1. 2008 - Oklahoma 65, Texas Tech 21
This game included what was quite possibly the best environment in the history of Owen Field. I would personally have to go with OU-Nebraska from 2000, but there’s an argument to be made for this one. I think the noise level may have been a bit higher due to the fact that the east upper deck was in place for this one. It’s also a bit difficult for me to gauge that due to the fact that I was in the student section for the Tech game and near the southwest opening for the Nebraska one. I go with OU-Nebraska due to significance and field storming, but I feel that the noise level was at least on par in ‘08.
Anyway, this one definitely wasn’t lacking in significance, as it consisted of two top-five teams and gave OU the opportunity to vault right back into the BCS Championship race. I remember the intro video including Bob Stoops holding a real football and a Waterford Crystal BCS trophy and saying, “We’re going to turn this ball... into this ball”, which had been in past years’ intro videos but wasn’t included in any that season up until that point. The place went absolutely bananas, and Texas Tech didn’t stand a chance after that.
From the other sideline
- Check out my interview with Viva The Matators as well as their interview with us. Thanks to Jay Burrous for helping us out this week!
- Here is VTM’s “Anti-Preview” for this game along with an actual one. The “Anti-Preview” is a reminder that we need to get back to doing our “Why We Hate You” articles from last season. Those were fun to write.
- One of the writers over there believes that Kliff Kingsbury should get at least one more year after 2017.
- Another VTM writer ponders the future of the Air Raid in Lubbock.
Texas Tech Jokes
Why did Texas Tech disband its water polo team?
All of the horses drowned.
How many Texas Tech students does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
One, but he gets three credit hours for it.
Did you hear about the power outage at the Texas Tech library?
40 students were stuck on the escalator for three hours!
Did you hear about the former Red Raider who won a gold medal at the Olympics?
He liked it so much that he decided to get it bronzed.
How do a Texas Tech grad’s brain cells die?
Biggest Matchup - Oklahoma DBs/LBs vs Texas Tech receivers
The recipe for success over the last six quarters against Texas Tech has been dropping seven or eight guys into coverage. That’s going to make more than a few OU fans groan, but it’s something that allowed West Virginia to stop them in the second half of the game in Morgantown two weeks ago. Iowa State mimicked the strategy last week, and Nik Shimonek struggled mightily because of it. As we all know, this strategy hasn’t always worked well for Oklahoma, but there’s a good chance that we’ll see it nonetheless. In those situations, guys like Jordan Thomas are going to have to stay disciplined if they don’t want to repeat what happened in Lubbock last season. Additionally, a young guy like Kenneth Murray is really going to need to be very assignment-sound in coverage situations (reading and reacting quickly when someone starts to come over the middle, for instance), so let’s hope his preparation heading into this one has gone well.
Texas Tech lost some wideouts from last year, but the leftovers have plenty of experience and are no joke. Junior wideout Keke Coutee has led the way this season with 53 catches for 744 yards this season. He and Oklahoma native Cameron Batson fit the mold of a traditional Air Raid WR, but Dylan Cantrell is a much larger target at 6’3”, 220 and has come up big with catches in traffic. Another big wideout in their arsenal is the 6’4” Derek Willies, who is averaging about 17 yards per reception this year.
Just as important as secondary play is the play of guys like Neville Gallimore, DJ Ward, Du’Vonta Lampkin and sometimes Ogbonnia Okornkwo, who are going to have to find a way to make things difficult for Shimonek and not allow him to have a clean pocket.
As much as this defense has struggled at times this season, but my hope is that they’ll at least have it together enough to limit the damage and avoid an out-of-control shootout. I think Texas Tech is going to get their, which will probably result in about 31 points. However, there’s absolutely no way they’re slowing Baker Mayfield in this one. It’s has last game against Texas Tech and he’s going to make it count. Oklahoma wins by a score of 52-31 at “Jump Around” will be played at least once.