Nov. 18, 2000
Post-Game AudioGame Photos
By OWEN CANFIELD
AP Sports Writer
NORMAN, Okla. -- Top-ranked Oklahoma didn't look the part for much of the day against Texas Tech. With the game on the line, that changed.
Led by Josh Heupel, the Sooners drove 71 yards in 12 plays and chewed up more than five minutes of the clock to score the clinching touchdown in a 27-13 victory Saturday.
Heupel was intercepted twice and had a season-low 248 yards passing, but was 7-of-8 for 60 yards on the final drive, including a 15-yard completion on a third-and-4 play to set up the touchdown.
"For our guys to put that drive together says a lot about their character and toughness," coach Bob Stoops said. "And Josh comes up with the huge play there at the end."
The victory gave the Sooners (10-0, 7-0 Big 12) the Big 12 South Division championship. They close out the regular season next week against Oklahoma State, then will play North Division winner Kansas State on Dec. 2 in Kansas City for the conference championship.
Texas Tech (7-5, 3-5) put up a good fight in coach Mike Leach's return to Norman, getting within eight at 21-13 midway through the fourth. But Oklahoma ended any upset hopes with the late drive.
"Basically we didn't have any tempo and rhythm," Heupel said. "When our offense is clicking on all cylinders, we have a tempo and rhythm inside the huddle. We weren't able to get that.
"Fortunately, we were able to get out of here with a win."
As Oklahoma's offensive coordinator last year, Leach installed the spread offense that Oklahoma has used to lead the nation in scoring at 44.7 points per game. His Red Raiders controlled the clock much of the day, with Kliff Kingsbury completing 41 of 61 passes for 295 yards.
The Red Raiders used their second interception of Heupel to get a field goal early in the fourth, then took advantage of good field position to set up Kingsbury's 15-yard touchdown pass to Tim Baker to get within 21-13 with 7:13 to play.
That's when Heupel took over. He spread the ball to four receivers on the final drive, including a 15-yarder to tight end Matt Anderson on a bootleg pass that placed the ball at the 3-yard line. Quentin Griffin scored on the next play.
Stoops said it was Heupel who came up with the bootleg call during a timeout.
"He says, `Let's fake the run and roll to the right. It gives me a chance to run with it or eat it,' " Stoops said. "Matt Anderson's covered. He puts the ball just out of the reach of the defender and Matt makes a great catch. It was a great job of Josh really having a feel for the game."
The touchdown came with just 1:53 remaining and ensured that Leach wouldn't play the spoiler in his return.
"I thought our defense did a really good job keeping a lid on them, making 'em work for everything they got," Leach said. "We just tried to keep changing the looks. We got some turnovers and got the ball back sometimes. Overall I thought it was pretty effective."
Heupel wound up 24-of-38. The Sooners had 11 penalties for 124 yards, had a field goal and an extra point blocked, lost two of their four fumbles, finished with their lowest point total of the season and second-lowest yardage total.
Oklahoma's offense took longer than any game this season to get into the end zone. It wasn't until the 5:38 mark of the second quarter that Heupel found Trent Smith on a 6-yard scoring pass to complete a 79-yard drive.
Oklahoma's first touchdown had come in the first quarter when J.T. Thatcher intercepted a tipped pass and returned it 85 yards for a score.
But Thatcher muffed a punt in the second quarter, giving the Red Raiders the ball at the 22 and leading to their only first-half points, a 42-yard field goal by Chris Birkholz.
A 51-yard completion from Heupel to Curtis Fagan on the first play of the second quarter gave the Sooners a first down at the 17-yard line, but Josh Norman fumbled the ball away on the next snap.
Heupel had completions of 16 yards to Matt Anderson and 23 yards to Josh Norman to set up Renaldo Works' 5-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter, giving the Sooners a 21-3 lead.