Oklahoma's Sooner Schooner was in pieces following an accident in the second quarter of OU’s 52-14 win over West Virginia, in which the wagon came apart, tipped over and threw some of its occupants to the turf.
There were no reported injuries to occupants in the wagon or the ponies that pull it following OU touchdowns each game.
OH NO. pic.twitter.com/ufm7hvDOWU— Sooner Gridiron (@soonergridiron) October 19, 2019
Scary scene in Norman.— Matt Schick (@ESPN_Schick) October 19, 2019
Sooner Schooner flips. pic.twitter.com/Y7tcTjaJ5f
Current state of the Schooner. pic.twitter.com/KLq9AtFp2w— Joe Mussatto (@joe_mussatto) October 19, 2019
Members of OU's spirit squad carried the disconnected wagon cover, wheels and axels into the northeast tunnel.
“We believe it was the result of weight distribution among riders in the rear of the wagon,” the university stated in a release. “Three individuals were evaluated at the stadium and released. All others reported that they were uninjured.
“Upon initial evaluation, it also appears the ponies are uninjured. Medical staff responded immediately as did the expert horse handlers and veterinarian who staff all games. We are grateful that the injuries were not serious and for the staff members who responded so well.”
Thousands of fans watching fell silent until the wreckage was cleaned up. Linebacker Kenneth Murray was trying to refocus his teammates as they took the field following Jalen Hurts' 2-yard touchdown with 6:30 until halftime.
“Probably a minute after that, I was like, ‘Hey, nothing takes our focus right now,’” Murray said. “Obviously we’re happy that nobody got hurt.”
Said Hurts: “That wasn’t a pretty thing to see. I hope everybody’s OK.”
The wagon had been leaving tracks in the field on previous touchdowns, likely because of condensation from the night before. The field was damaged further after the ponies pulled the top of the wagon through the grass without the wheels.
OU coach Lincoln Riley double-checked with maintenance staff that the playing surface was still safe for play.
“They felt like it was in pretty good shape,” Riley said. “Once I saw that everybody was OK, you could tell it was torn up a little bit down there. You just want to make sure the surface is good for both teams.”
The animal advocacy group PETA spoke out against the use of animals as college mascots. The group has made it a common practice through the years, highlighting Mississippi State's use of a bulldog mascot when "Bully" was bumped into on the sideline against Auburn.
BREAKING: Oklahoma's horse-drawn #SoonerSchooner wagon tipped over, launching spirit squad members onto the field.— PETA (@peta) October 19, 2019
Exploiting animals for sports is unnecessary & incredibly dangerous for animals AND humans.@OU_Football: KEEP HORSES OFF THE FIELD.pic.twitter.com/SuVb3fH1xF
• Special teams get involved: Whatever West Virginia was doing on its punts, OU liked the matchup. It led to Brayden Willis’ first blocked punt of his college career and the Sooners’ first special teams TD this season.
“We had made a little sideline adjustment,” Willis said. “They were doing some things we anticipated them doing. We had to get out there and see. We made a sideline adjustment. It allowed me to go free.”
Austin Stogner fell on the blocked kick and scored his first touchdown as a Sooner. OU led 49-14 at that point.
• Old friends: OU quarterback Jalen Hurts embraced West Virginia receiver T.J. Simmons after the game. Both transferred from Alabama to their respective schools.
Simmons had a team-high six catches for 74 yards and the Mountaineers’ only two touchdowns.
“That’s a brother for life,” Hurts said. “You know, it’s funny because we enrolled early at the University of Alabama, so we had a unique relationship then. Obviously he ended up transferring to West Virginia, and I’m just happy to see the success he’s having, being able to make the plays he’s making. So I’m happy for him.”
• OU football, basketball team up: One of the top college basketball prospects in the 2020 class paid Norman a visit this weekend.
Booker T. Washington's Bryce Thompson is a major Sooner men's basketball target, which was made clear by the stadium’s video board.
A video featuring Oklahoma natives and former Sooner standouts Trae Young and Blake Griffin was shown during a first-quarter break amid OU's football game against West Virginia.
Griffin and Young discussed their experience as highly-touted basketball prospects that stayed in-state for their college careers.
Thompson acknowledged the video in a tweet.
Then during a second-quarter break, OU's video board spotlighted Oklahoma City Thunder players, who were in attendance on Saturday.
It may have been a coincidence, but the Sooner staff had to hope Thompson, the No. 19-ranked player in the 2020 class, was paying attention.
• Health watch: Outside linebacker Jon Michael-Terry and defensive end Isaiah Thomas were unavailable due to undisclosed injuries.
Terry entered the week as OU’s ninth-leading tackler and had started all six games this season.
Thomas has played in five of six games with one sack.
Nik Bonitto made his first college start in place of Terry.
Also of note, Kenneth Mann made his first start this season for LaRon Stokes.