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. Now the second half
Oklahoma 31, Texas 26
Play No. 1: Sooners feature Bond
On the second play of Texas’ first drive Bond combined with Chuka Ndulue to make a stop for no gain that eventually led to a three-and-out.
“He has had some great plays and understands our concepts and what we are trying to do,” defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. “He has really improved as a player.”
It led for a fresh Grissom to rush the quarterback on third down with his hand down in the grass and was the first example of how well the defense played in the third quarter.
Play No. 2: Knight finds Neal, tempo
The second half started with six consecutive punts, three from both sides before the Sooners found their rhythm. OU went 63 yards on five plays, and quarterback Trevor Knight was able to find a rhythm for the first time all afternoon.
A key play was a 22-yard pass to Durron Neal where it finally looked like OU was using its talent the way it needs to be utilized. Neal is a quality receiver in open space and this gave him that opportunity.
Two plays later, Knight found Sterling Shepard for a 24-yard touchdown to give OU a 24-13 lead late in the third quarter.
“We got some momentum going there,” Knight said. “We got some plays in quickly and got the momentum going. We hurried it up a little bit and kept driving down the field. When we’re in a rhythm and playing well and everybody’s doing what they’re supposed to do, things are going to happen for us.”
Play No. 3: Striker makes a big loss
Just another play to highlight that not all of OU’s defense was horrible and to give Eric Striker credit for one heck of an individual effort.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Striker was reading the option. He snuffed out Tyrone Swoopes, who then pitched it to Malcolm Brown. But Striker snuffed that one out, too, and tackled Brown for a nine-yard loss.
In the third quarter and into the start of the fourth, the OU defense forced five straight punts as the offense put a little space in the scoreboard.
Play No. 4: Swoopes isn’t done yet
But Swoopes and the Longhorns wouldn’t go quietly. Now 31-13, Swoopes tried to orchestrate a comeback for the ages in this rivalry.
The first touchdown was impressive because Swoopes had scored on a one-yard run. A penalty, all too frequent for Texas in this one, wiped it out.
The next play Swoopes found John Harris for a six-yard touchdown and make it 31-20 with 8:24 left in the fourth quarter.
Swoopes was dang good in this one, throwing for 334 yards and accounting for three touchdowns.
Play No. 5: Perine seals the deal
Swoopes led one more drive to make it 31-26 with 4:57 left. OU faced third-and-four with 3:37 left and was ready to snap it before calling timeout.
After the break, OU switched the call and found Samaje Perine out of the backfield for a nine-yard gain and a first down. And strangely enough, OU’s only third down conversion in the game as the Sooners were a putrid 1 of 11.
When the game mattered most, Bob Stoops let the freshman from Pflugerville, Texas, take him home. Perine touched it eight times for 27 yards and gave Texas just 18 seconds when it got the ball back with no hopes of completing the comeback.
“Samaje is mature beyond his years in everything that he does,” Stoops said. “The way he handles himself off the field and in the classroom, the way he works. Physically, the power that he has for a young person, he’s different. You feel good giving him the ball late because he takes care of the ball too. He has great timing to hit his holes and run through people.”