The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

November 23, 2008

OU deserves to be in No. 1 discussion

NORMAN — On ABC, Oklahoma showed it knew its BCSs.

The Sooners delivered a message in beating No. 2-ranked Texas Tech 65-21 Saturday. Oklahoma has an argument to be in the national championship game.

Now the question will be if the Sooners won impressively enough to move up in the BCS rankings, the tiebreaker if OU (No. 5), Texas (No. 3) and Tech (No. 2) are tied for the Big 12 South lead after next Saturday’s games.

The three teams now share the South lead with 6-1 records.

The Sooners still have to beat potent Oklahoma State. Texas faces Texas A&M; Thursday, while Tech faces Baylor.

The Red Raiders, who were averaging 566.30 yards, had only 170 yards in trailing 42-7 at halftime. Graham Harrell, who had been sacked only five times before Saturday, was sacked twice in the opening two periods.

Enid’s Austin Box did his part in establishing the Sooners dominance in the first half with four unassisted and one assisted tackle. OU was the first team this season to hold Tech scoreless in the first period.

Take a look at Box’s first half.

• On a second-and-7 from the Tech 47 on the opening series, Box tackled Red Raiders wide receiver Tramain Swindall for a 2-yard loss.

• On the second series on a first-and-10 from the 50, Box teamed with Gerald McCoy to tackle Shannon Woods for no gain. Two pass plays netted only two yards and Tech had to punt.

• Box had the tackle on a 10-yard pass play from Graham Harrell to Baron Batch on the next series.

• On Tech’s first drive of the second quarter, Box threw Batch for a 1-yard loss on a first-and-10 from the 49.

• He stopped Batch for a 5-yard gain on first-and-10 from the Tech 49 the next series. The Red Raiders would have to punt after two pass plays gained only a yard.

Harrell’s Heisman hopes might have gone down when he was intercepted by Travis Lewis at the end of the first half. Lewis returned the pass 47 yards to the OU 2 to set up Murray’s 1-yard run, which made it 42-7.

The play was Harrell’s longest completion of the first three periods.

The only thing that hurt OU quarterback Sam Bradford in his race for the Heisman Trophy was the OU running game was so effective.

The Sooners had 402 yards at halftime — 176 yards passing and 226 yards rushing. Murray had 110 yards by halftime. OU had 519 yards at the end of three quarters — 250 rushing and 269 passing.

However, a perfectly thrown 66-yard touchdown pass to Manny Johnson might have been the Heisman statement. Johnson caught the ball on the run at the 20 and had an easy path to the end zone.

Bradford was 14-of-19 passing for 304 yards, the ninth time in 11 games he’s topped the 300-yard passing mark, but that was irrelevant.

Heismans are won on championships and OU established itself as a championship team.

Campbell is a News & Eagle sports writer.