Texas Tech Defeats Oklahoma, 22-12
By Garrett McKinnon
NORMAN, Oklahoma - The Texas Tech Red Raiders (7-4, 5-3) won the war, but the Oklahoma Sooners (3-8, 3-5) won the battle, limiting Tech's Heisman Trophy candidate running back to 84 yards on 28 carries while succumbing 22-12 to the Raiders.
It marked the first time in 17 games Byron Hanspard, the nation's leading rusher and a solid Heisman Trophy candidate entering the game, failed to crack the 100-yard rushing mark.
Hanspard finished with 2084 yards rushing for the season, second behind Iowa State's Troy Davis who had more than 2,180 yards.
The first half was nothing but defense. The teams combined for five punts before Oklahoma's Jeremy Alexander missed a 37-yard field goal.
After Tech went three and out to begin the second quarter, the Sooners drove to the Tech 10-yard line where Alexander hit a 27-yard field goal for a 3-0 Sooner lead.
Tech linebacker Robert Johnson blocked an Alexander field goal late in the second quarter, the first time in more than two years the Raiders have blocked a kick of any kind.
The lead lasted into halftime when, with less than a minute left, the Raiders fumbled the ball inside the Oklahoma five-yard line on second-and-goal from the one-yard line.
The Sooners ran out the first-half clock, shutting the Raiders out in the first half for the first time all year.
The second half was a different story.
After Oklahoma went three-and-out, the Raiders started at the Sooner 45-yard line and drove to quarterback Zebbie Lethridge's two-yard touchdown rush to make the score 7-3 with 8:24 left in the third quarter.
Another fruitless Sooner drive set the Raider up at the Oklahoma 45-yard line once again. Lethridge found wide receiver Donnie Hart wide open for a 37-yard touchdown pass. The point-after kick was blocked, giving the Raiders a 13-3 lead.
On Oklahoma's next possession, OU quarterback Eric Moore fumbled when he was hit by defensive ends Tony Daniels and Montae Reagor. The fumble set up a 50-yard field goal by Jaret Greaser to pad the lead, 16-3.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Sooner offense finally got on track when Moore found flanker Brandon Daniels for a 23-yard touchdown pass. The PAT cut the lead to 16-10.
Tech responded with an 80-yard drive. Hanspard, bottled up all day by a Sooner team running as many as nine men on the line of scrimmage, broke loose on a 37-yard run to the Sooner 15-yard line. Moments later, Lethridge bulled in from one-yard out to give the Raiders a 22-10 lead. A two-point conversion pass was batted away, and the lead remained 12 points with 6:40 left in the game.
The Sooners drove to a first-and-goal from the 10-yard line on their next possession, but Reagor sacked Moore at the 22-yard line and a fourth-down draw by Moore only got to the five-yard line, giving the Raiders the ball on downs.
The Raiders went three-and-out, but rather than punt from deep in their own territory, head coach Spike Dykes called for an intentional safety when punter Jeremy Hernandez stepped out of the back of the end zone. The safety narrowed the gap to 10 points, but it would get no closer.
The Sooners took over the ball at their own 26-yard line after the free kick, but only managed to drive to midfield where they turned the ball over on downs. The Raiders ran out the clock and secured their seventh win of the year.
The win gives the Raiders a chance to represent the Big 12 South Division in the inaugural Big 12 Championship game Dec. 7 if Texas A&M beats Texas Nov. 29. The Raiders are already guaranteed a bowl berth, the school's record fourth in a row.
The Raiders finished the game with 307 total yards offense, with 127 of those on the ground. The Raiders entered the game averaging more than 280 yards per contest.
The Sooners did no better, though. Oklahoma had 339 yards offense, with 238 of those coming on the ground. OU's Moore was 10-26 for 159 yards in the game. The Tech defense had five sacks in the game.
Dykes was proud of the win after the game.
"It was a good win for us," said Dykes. "When you play a team that plays good defense, you look kind of sloppy.
"Oklahoma's got a good defense and they've got good defensive players. It looks like their aim was to take Byron out of the game, and that kind of opened some other people up."
Dykes said his team is now pulling for the Aggies.
"I've never seen so many Aggie fans as we've got in this dressing room," said Dykes.
Despite being limited by the Sooners, Hanspard's season still ranked as the fifth-best rushing season in NCAA history.
The Raiders will now await the winner of the Texas-Texas A&M game. Should the Longhorns win, the Raiders will most likely travel to Hawaii to face the third-place team from the Pac-10 Conference.
NCAAF FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- TEXAS TECH 0 0 16 6 22 OKLAHOMA 0 3 0 9 12 FINAL SCORING SUMMARY 1ST QTR: NONE 2ND QTR: OKLA - FG, JEREMY ALEXANDER 26 YD, 4:10 3RD QTR: TXTC - TD, ZEBBIE LETHRIDGE 2 YD RUN (JARET GREASER KICK), 6:36 TXTC - TD, DONNIE HART 31 YD PASS FROM ZEBBIE LETHRIDGE (PAT FAILED), 9:21 TXTC - FG, JARET GREASER 49 YD, 12:29 4TH QTR: OKLA - TD, BRANDON DANIELS 23 YD PASS FROM ERIC MOORE (JEREMY ALEXANDER KICK), 5:30 TXTC - TD, ZEBBIE LETHRIDGE 1 YD RUN (TWO-POINT CONVERSION FAILED), 8:20 OKLA - SAFETY, 12:22