The Oklahoma Sooners narrowly avoided a catastrophic upset at the hands of the Army Black Knights Saturday night in Norman. Army brought their legendary triple-option attack into Memorial Stadium, and the Sooners were absolutely not ready for it.
Oklahoma struck first with quick drive down the field on it’s opening possession that ended in an 11 yard pass that marked fullback Carson Meier’s first career touchdown. Army answered with the first of several drives so long and so meticulous they would make Bill Snyder stare in awe. The Black Knights went 75 yards on 16 plays in 9 minutes 31 seconds to even the game at 7-7.
A 38 yard strike from Kyler Murray to Lee Morris set up a CeeDee Lamb touchdown to give the Sooners a 14-7 lead before Army embarked on a journey that took almost nine minutes to go 75 yards on 16 plays to even the score at 14-14.
Are you starting to see a pattern here?
Oklahoma’s biggest highlight play of the night came on the ensuing drive when Murray took off for a 33 yard scramble touchdown, torching the entire Army defense on his way to regaining the lead 21-14.
Army scored on it’s second drive of the third quarter to make it 21-21, the same score that would hold through the rest of regulation.
After stuffing OU on 4th and goal at the 1 yard line, Army took off on a 17 play drive that ate over 10 minutes of game clock. The Black Knights looked like they were going to be able to set up for a long field goal try before the Sooner defense finally stepped up and made a play.
Lincoln Riley and company looked like they were in the clear after Mann’s interception. The Sooners drove deep into Army territory to set up a chip-shot 33 yard field goal as time expired. Just when it looked like disaster had been averted, Austin Seibert’s kick was wide left.
At this point it looked like destiny was on Army’s side (or at least against the Sooners). It was Michael Hunnicutt against Texas Tech all over again.
A quick two-play touchdown drive on the Sooners’ first overtime possession mean that the game would come down to a stop from a defense that had been getting run over all night long.
It wasn’t until Parnell Motley’s game-ending interception in overtime that all of Sooner Nation finally exhaled after an excruciating game.
If you want a summary of how this game went, I give you Army’s four best drives of the night:
- 16 plays, 75 yards, 9:31 TOP, Touchdown
- 16 plays, 75 yards, 8:54 TOP, Touchdown
- 19 plays, 85 yards, 10:47 TOP, Touchdown
- 17 plays, 65 yards, 10:06 TOP, Interception
Yeah, it was that kind of night. Army had the ball for 75% of the game, and those four drives alone killed two-thirds of the game clock. A major part of the problem on defense was OU’s inability to get off the field on third and fourth down. Army converted 13 of 21 third downs and 4 of 5 fourth down attempts.
Overshadowed by the all-around lackluster defensive performance by the team was linebacker Kenneth Murray’s school-record 28 tackles. The previous record was 24 which was also almost surpassed by Curtis Bolton’s 23 tackles tonight.
Nobody was more relieved after the game than senior kicker Austin Seibert, whose missed field goal at the end of regulation will now just be a blip on the map rather than a season-altering mistake. Seibert tweeted out a message to his teammates and fans after the game.
All in all, it was ugly, but it was a win. The Sooners move to 4-0 and host Baylor in Norman next weekend.