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.
OU 42, Texas Tech 30
Play No. 1: Thomas throws third interception
Call it the Baylor hangover. OU looked dead in the water in the first half in every facet of the game. Offense, defense, special teams, coaching, everything looked off like a team that wanted to end the season now.
It all culminated with the weirdest of Cody Thomas’ three interceptions in the first half. OU had a third-and-nine at its own 32 yard line in the final seconds of the first half. The Sooners didn’t need to run a play, could have went into the locker room.
But Josh Heupel said afterward they were trying to get a pass interference call to set up a Hail Mary shot on an untimed down. Instead it was just pick No. 3 for Thomas in his first start, going 7 of 17 in the first 30 minutes with OU trailing 14-7.
Play No. 2: Perine wakes OU up
OU doesn’t win the game without freshman running back Samaje Perine. With some of the veterans looking a little shaky, it was the freshman who rallied the troops.
Tech drove right down the field to make it 21-7 when Perine made his first big impression on a 64-yard touchdown run where he didn’t have to be a bowling ball. There was no running people over, just outrunning people as Perine showed off his speed.
It was the start, obviously, of a huge second half for Perine who would close the game with 1,001 rushing yards for the season.
Play No. 3: Perine does it again
Said it in the live chat and meant it. OU faced a third-and-three from its own 20 on the next drive. Perine should have been stopped before making the first down. Really no way he should have made it.
But he did, and he made it look easy. Perine was able to get a nine-yard gain to keep the drive going. The Sooners would finish the drive with Thomas throwing his first career touchdown on a 3-yard pass to Durron Neal that caught everybody off guard because of how much OU ran the ball.
After looking like the season was over at 21-7, it was game on once again in Lubbock at 21-21.
Play No. 4: Thomas shows his running ability
After Perine’s third down run, Tech was ready for a heavy dose of Perine so when Cody Thomas kept it for a 35-yard gain everybody was shocked.
Trevor Knight is easily a faster runner than Thomas, but the redshirt freshman looked so comfortable, so natural in running the zone read and bootleg plays.
Thomas was a mere 3-of-3 passing in the second half, but he rushed for 103 yards on eight attempts and added a rushing touchdown later in the game.
It was a huge statement by Thomas to show his poise after the awful first half.
Play No. 5: Striker makes his presence known
This was a game made for what Eric Striker brings to the table. He was allowed to lead the team in disruptions once again as he made life uneasy for Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes in the second half.
The OU defense hadn’t forced a three-and-out in the first three quarters. After OU took its first lead at 28-24 with 10 minutes left, Striker and the defense rose to the occasion.
Tech looked to hit the Sooners deep but two incompletions set up Striker coming off the edge for a third-down sack. Striker leapt in the air to bring Mahomes down and a flag was thrown.
OU coach Bob Stoops thought it might have been for Striker going high, but it was holding on Tech so he could breathe a sigh of relief.
The Sooners went right down the field on the next drive to take a commanding 35-24 lead and never look back.