Sometime in the early stages of Sunday morning, the nation’s longest home winning streak gave way to the biggest road victory in Texas Tech history.
And there was nothing flukey about it beyond a 1 hour, 34 minute weather delay before the opening kickoff that prevented the Red Raiders from knocking off No. 3 Oklahoma in prime-time, as originally scheduled.
But the Red Raiders did not mind that it took more than five and a half hours -- from the scheduled kickoff to the final play -- to put the finishing touches on a 41-38 upset that ended Oklahoma’s 39-game home winning streak at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.
With the victory over the Sooners, who were ranked No. 1 in the coaches poll in addition to their No. 3 spot in the BCS standings, Tech (5-2, 2-2 in Big 12) prevailed as a 29-point underdog. The upset made Oklahoma the highest-ranked team Tech has ever defeated on the road, replacing road victories from yesteryear over No. 8 Texas (1967) and No. 8 Arkansas (1986).
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“When you go on the road and beat the No. 1 team, it is really special almost impossible to do,” said Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville. “On a national level, you don’t read too much about Texas Tech. You haven’t seen much about them on TV. But I’ll bet you will see it for the next few days and we will be proud of that.”
He should be. So should the offensive players who were instrumental in racking up 572 yards and scoring five touchdowns against the Sooners’ vaunted defense. So should the defensive players who held the Sooners scoreless for eight consecutive possessions after OU scored a touchdown on its opening drive.
The scoreless stretch extended into the third quarter and included a missed field goal, a lost fumble and six three-and-outs. By the time the Sooners lit up the scoreboard for the second time, they were behind 31-7 and headed to their first home loss since falling to TCU, 17-10, in the 2005 season opener.
Tech safety D.J. Johnson called the victory “very special” and said the performance “showed how much we’ve grown” in recent weeks under first-year defensive coordinator Chad Glasgow, a former TCU assistant who was in the stadium -- and coaching the Horned Frogs’ secondary -- the last time OU lost at home.
“He spoke to us about it. He told us how he’d beaten Oklahoma,” Johnson said.
Did it help knowing that?
“I’d say a little bit,” said Johnson, whose second-quarter forced fumble against Sooners’ receiver Ryan Broyles proved to be a momentum-turning moment during OU’s scoreless stretch. It marked one of two turnovers forced by the Tech defense. The Red Raiders’ offense finished without a turnover.
Asked if he learned anything about defending Oklahoma in 2005 that proved useful Saturday, Glasgow said: “Nothing. Those are two completely different teams, two completely different situations. But any time you can go on the road and win a game like this, it means a lot.”
It meant a lot to Oklahoma, too. The Sooners (6-1, 3-1) no longer control their destiny in either the Big 12 or national championship race heading into next week’s matchup against No. 11 Kansas State (7-0, 4-0).
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, who is now 75-3 in home games during his tenure at the school, did not mince words in assessing his team’s shortcomings.
“They whipped us in every part of the game,” Stoops said. “We were definitely outcoached and outplayed. The first half it was really poor. Defensively, we really got outplayed and offensively, it was just too little, too late.”
Ironically, all three of Stoops’ home losses in his OU tenure have come against prohibitive underdogs. Oklahoma State prevailed, 16-13, as a 27-point underdog in 2001. TCU won, 17-10, as a 26-point underdog in 2005. But Tech topped both of those predecessors Saturday, winning as a 29-point underdog coming off consecutive home losses.
But the Red Raiders wasted little time in seizing momentum, which they maintained most of the night. Tech scored a touchdown on its opening possession, with quarterback Seth Doege (441 yards, 4 TDs, no interceptions) finding receiver Alex Torres on a 44-yard scoring strike. Tech rolled for 329 yards and 24 points in the first half.
Eventually, the Doege-Torres duo hooked up for two additional touchdowns: a 30-yarder in the second quarter and an 11-yarder in the third, as Tech built a 31-7 lead that Oklahoma would trim to 31-24 before the Raiders responded with consecutive scoring drives (54 yards for a field goal, 74 yards for a touchdown) to put the contest out of reach.
“This is special for the entire team,” Doege said. “A lot of people thought we couldn’t do this. The people who are associated with Big 12 football didn’t think we could win this game.”
But the Red Raiders believed. They persevered. And they prevailed.
Now, the top-ranked Sooners are left scrambling in the national championship race. And forced to wait until Nov. 5, against No. 17 Texas A&M, before they will have another chance to start rebuilding a home winning streak.