Every play matters but some stick out more than others. Each week Sooners Illustrated will look at the five plays that stood out in Oklahoma’s performance. And this week we’ll look at five plays in each half.
Oklahoma 31, Texas 26
Play No. 1: Ross takes it to the house again
It took Texas 13 plays to go 64 yards to notch a 28-yard field goal on the first drive of the game. It took OU’s Alex Ross 12 seconds to give the Sooners the lead.
On a rather short kick, Ross took it from the 9 yard line and used his speed like he always does to go 91 yards into the end zone.
“Actually we didn’t expect the kickoff return this week, but by God’s grace we received one,” Ross said. “Just read the blocks and took it to the house. When you play with speed like that, good things happen.”
The offense finished with six plays for one yard in the first quarter, but because of Ross, OU still had a 7-3 lead.
Play No: 2: Evans, Alexander combine for third down stop
OU coach Bob Stoops mentioned it in the postgame about how you can’t be upset about non-offensive scoring touchdowns. But it does put the defense back on the field.
Following Ross’ touchdown, the defense was right back out there and faced a third-and-six from the Texas 40 yard line. The Longhorns went with Johnathan Gray, and OU linebackers Jordan Evans and Dominique Alexander didn’t let him go anywhere.
It was an example of the type of day the two sophomore linebackers had and just how far they have come with the Sooners. Evans led the team with 14 tackles, while Alexander was second with 11.
Play No. 3: Barnett booms one
When the offense is struggling, you can use any bit of help. Some of that help came from punter Jed Barnett midway through the first quarter.
Barnett nailed a 66-yard punt to flip field position. He saw the field a lot in this one with nine punts averaging 43.8 yards per kick.
Play No. 4: Sanchez starts new streak
With Texas facing a second-and-nine, Sanchez returned to the spotlight. Tyrone Swoopes rolled out and tried to force a throw in, Sanchez came underneath it and picked it off, taking it 43 yards for the touchdown to give OU a 17-3 lead.
“Like I said before, you just have to take everything in stride,” Sanchez said. “It was big for us to get that, and I’m glad I could make a big play.”
Sanchez now has five interceptions this season.
Play No. 5: Swoopes strikes back
It was a mini-coming out party for Swoopes, though, who lit up the OU defense at times. And just when it looked like the Red River Showdown was headed into blowout territory, here came Swoopes to make it interesting.
On the very next drive, Texas went 75 yards on seven plays that culminated with a beautiful pass from Swoopes to John Harris for 38 yards and a touchdown.
Texas would later tack on a field goal and OU took a 17-13 lead into halftime.