NORMAN — In several ways, the same old Oklahoma showed up at Owen Field Saturday against Texas Tech. It started slowly, made a couple of big plays, had some defensive busts that made the game interesting and wound up pounding the game away at the end.
The 17th-ranked Sooners’ 38-30 victory over 10th-ranked Texas Tech played out about that way.
But it was the way OU played in the final three quarters that made Saturday’s win, which lifted it to 7-1 overall and 4-1 in the Big 12 Conference one of its best of the season.
“I felt like we really played like a team today,” OU wide receiver Jalen Saunders said.
That was the case. OU piled up 526 yards of total offense with quarterback Blake Bell throwing for just a little less than half of it (249 yards).
It was Bell and Saunders that ignited Saturday’s win — at least offensively. OU hadn’t thrown for more than 180 yards since the victory over Notre Dame on Sept. 28.
He certainly wasn’t on pace to do it Saturday after completing just 1-of-4 passes for 17 yards in the first quarter. Then he hit Saunders to convert three straight third downs early in the second quarter.
They were part of a 16-play, 97-yard touchdown drive that ended with a 15-yard completion from Bell to Saunders.
“We finally got in a rhythm when things hadn’t been going our way. That’s how our offense needs to be,” Bell said. “… Stuff didn’t go our way in the first quarter but we pushed through.”
The Sooners had a lot to fight through. Middle linebacker Frank Shannon was injured early in the game and fullback Trey Millard suffered a season-ending knee injury late. Winning against a top-10 team is tough enough.
But toughness is what OU showed throughout the final three quarters.