By Steve Lansdale
The Texas Longhorns weren’t the only team in the Big 12 that spent the weekend resting and healing up from the bumps and bruises that pile up over the course of any season.
In fact, six of the conference’s 10 teams had the weekend off, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t watching those teams that were in action. The results weren’t going to impact the Texas Longhorns’ position in the Big 12 standings — UT is the only team in the conference without a blemish on its conference record, so the Longhorns would remain in first place, no matter what happened to the rest of the league — but the games that were played did impact the standings.
Oklahoma 52, TCU 27
Something had to give: TCU is known for having a stingy defense. On the other hand, Oklahoma has had a potent offense, averaging 48 points per game prior to Saturday’s game in Fort Worth. OU’s offense had the sixth-highest scoring average in the country among FBS teams … and had a week off last week … and had the motivation to get back on track after losing to Texas.
The Sooners went to Amon Carter Stadium and piled up 536 yards, jumped out to a 28-7 lead midway through the second quarter and never looked back en route to the lopsided win.
After the loss to Texas, Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley fired defensive coordinator Mike Stoops and replaced him with Ruffin McNeill. The Sooners responded with arguably their most impressive performance of the season.
“These guys know how to win on the road,” Riley said. “We embrace it. We love it. We've said it for a long time. Rarely on the road – especially against a team like this – do you just go blow somebody out. That just doesn't happen very often.”
Kennedy Brooks rushed for 168 yards and a touchdown, and Trey Sermon ran for 110 yards and two scores, while Kyler Murray sizzled, completing 19 of 24 passes for 213 yards and four touchdowns — two to Lee Morris and one each to Carson Meier and CeeDee Lamb.
Defensively, linebacker Kenneth Murray led the OU defense with 11 tackles and two tackles for loss, and had one of his team’s two sacks.
“This team had tremendous fight and had a great attitude in the locker room at half time, were great mentality coming out and really just dominated the second half,” Riley said. “I'm as proud as I've ever been of our coaches and players and the way they responded and all the challenges this week. We made out a plan, they took to it, believed in it and we came and got a tough road win against a really good football team."
Texas Tech 48, Kansas 16
In his first game since he suffered a partially collapsed lung three weeks ago, Texas Tech quarterback Alan Bowman threw for 408 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Red Raiders to the rout of the Jayhawks in Lubbock.
“I thought he knocked some rust off in the first half,” Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury said of Bowman. “I felt the last couple of drives he was really locked in, made some nice throws. It was good to get him hit so he feels comfortable again.”
For the Red Raiders, who effectively locked the game when Clayton Hatfield’s 47-yard field goal gave them a 27-3 lead halfway through the third quarter, Ta’Zhawn Henry, Demarcus Felton and Tre King combined to run for 128 yards and three touchdowns.
Antoine Wesley was Bowman’s top target, hauling in nine receptions for 155 yards and a touchdown. T.J. Vashar (five catches for 79 yards) and Seth Collins (five receptions for 30 yards) also each caught a touchdown pass.
The victories by Oklahoma and Texas Tech pulled the Sooners and Red Raiders into a tie with West Virginia for second place in the conference; each team is 3-1, a game behind the Longhorns.