OU vs. Texas Tech football: Five takeaways from Sooners' overtime loss to Red Raiders

LUBBOCK, Texas — Things tend to get weird when OU visits Texas Tech.

But typically, the Sooners find a way to come up with the win.

Saturday night at Jones AT&T Stadium, though, the Sooners let a big lead slip away and then couldn’t recover, as Texas Tech knocked off OU 51-48 in overtime.

It was the Sooners’ first overtime game since the 2020 Red River Showdown victory over Texas.

Here are five quick takeaways from a wacky night in Lubbock:

More:Carlson: Another shootout at Texas Tech and another game of coulda, woulda, shoulda for OU

Texas Tech running back Tahj Brooks (28) carries while Oklahoma defensive back C.J. Coldon (22) and defensive back Billy Bowman defend during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022, in Lubbock, Texas. (AP Photo/Justin Rex)
Texas Tech running back Tahj Brooks (28) carries while Oklahoma defensive back C.J. Coldon (22) and defensive back Billy Bowman defend during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022, in Lubbock, Texas. (AP Photo/Justin Rex)

Overtime disaster

On the first play of overtime, Drake Stoops took a pitch on a reverse play, and passed to Dillon Gabriel.

The play worked, gaining 13 yards, but Gabriel took a hard hit from Reggie Pearson and writhed around on the ground in pain.

Gabriel got up after a short time, but without Gabriel available, Jeff Lebby and Brent Venables opted to go with tight end Brayden Willis as a wildcat quarterback instead of backup Davis Beville.

Willis was stopped for a 2-yard gain before Gabriel returned, then Eric Gray was stopped for a 5-yard loss. Gabriel was sacked on the next play, before Zach Schmit’s 34-yard field goal went wide right to end the first overtime.

After that, the Red Raiders played it conservatively, moving to the 17 before Trey Wolff’s 35-yard field goal ended it.

More:OU football blows largest lead since 2020 & more key stats from loss to Texas Tech

Conversion woes continue

There was hope.

After going 2 for 25 on third downs and 0 for 3 on fourth downs over their previous two games, the Sooners looked like they’d turned a corner early.

On their first drive, the Sooners couldn’t convert on a third-and-3, but on fourth down, Dillon Gabriel hit Marvin Mims for a 37-yard touchdown for the game’s first score.

On their second drive, the Sooners didn’t face a third-down chance until their 11th play of the drive.

Facing third-and-1 from the 7, Gabriel hit Brayden Willis for a touchdown.

But outside of Mims’ highlight-reel, behind-the-defender’s-back catch on the first play of the second quarter, the Sooners went dormant for a while on third downs.

OU finished 7 of 18 on third downs and 1 of 4 on fourth downs.

More:Was Zach Schmit's OT field goal good in OU's loss to Texas Tech? Brent Venables thinks so

Disastrous end to first half

Things imploded for the Sooners in the final six minutes of the first half.

Texas Tech scored 17 points in the final 3:09 to cut OU’s once-promising lead to 24-23 at the break.

The Sooners’ defense was performing well in the first six drives, forcing a fumble and four Red Raiders’ punts to go along with a touchdown.

Then things took a turn for the worse, starting with a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive by Texas Tech immediately following Marvin Mims’ 77-yard touchdown that put OU up 24-6.

On third down on the ensuing drive, Texas Tech safety and former Carl Albert standout Dadrion Taylor-Demerson picked off Dillon Gabriel.

Just four plays later, the Red Raiders were in the end zone again.

Texas Tech never faced a third down on either of those drives.

OU’s offense quickly was forced to punt on the ensuing drive, though a penalty pushed Texas Tech back to the Sooners’ 12 with 49 seconds remaining.

But the Red Raiders gained 24 yards on a third-down play to get up near midfield, and then Jerand Bradley caught a 43-yard pass to set up a field goal on the final play before the half.

After converting on three of their first five third-down chances, OU failed to convert on their final four tries of the first half.

The Sooners were 2 of 25 on third down over their last two games.

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Breaking out the big play

The big passing touchdown was a staple of OU’s offense during the Lincoln Riley era.

It hadn’t been much of a factor before Saturday night, as the Sooners had just six touchdown passes of longer than 30 yards in their first 11 games.

But for all the issues OU had offensively against Texas Tech, the big passing play wasn’t one of them.

The Sooners scored three touchdowns on such passes in the loss.

Marvin Mims had touchdown catches of 77 and 37 yards and Theo Wease had a 61-yard touchdown reception.

Mims’ 77-yarder in the second quarter was his longest reception of the season and Wease’s touchdown catch was not only his longest but his first touchdown reception since Oct. 15 against Kansas.

Dillon Gabriel finished 28 of 40 for 449 yards and six touchdowns — the sixth time in OU history that a quarterback has thrown for six or more touchdowns.

Three of those, including Baker Mayfield’s program-record seven-touchdown performance in 2016, came against Texas Tech.

More:Carlson: Another shootout at Texas Tech and another game of coulda, woulda, shoulda for OU

Oklahoma coach Brent Venables watches from the sideline during the first half of the team's NCAA college football game against Texas Tech on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022, in Lubbock, Texas. (AP Photo/Justin Rex)
Oklahoma coach Brent Venables watches from the sideline during the first half of the team's NCAA college football game against Texas Tech on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022, in Lubbock, Texas. (AP Photo/Justin Rex)

Eric Gray moves up list

Eric Gray put up another big game, rushing for 161 yards on 28 carries to bring his season total to move him from 16th on OU’s single-season rushing list to ninth.

It’ll take some work for Gray to move up more, with just the bowl game remaining.

Next on the list is Steve Owens, who rushed for 1,523 yards in 1969.

Gray’s streak of five consecutive games with at least one rushing touchdown was snapped, though.

Sooners’ top 10 rushing seasons

  1. Adrian Peterson, 1,925 (2004)

  2. Billy Sims, 1,896 (1978)

  3. Quentin Griffin, 1,884 (2002)

  4. Greg Pruitt, 1,760 (1971)

  5. Samaje Perine, 1,713 (2014)

  6. Billy Sims, 1,670 (1979)

  7. Steve Owens, 1,649 (1968)

  8. Steve Owens, 1,523 (1969)

  9. Eric Gray, 1,364 (2022)

  10. Samaje Perine, 1,349 (2015)

More:OU football report card: Sooners' grades in OT loss at Texas Tech fitting for a .500 team

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This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: OU football loses in overtime to Texas Tech in regular-season finale