For the impartial observer who didn’t mind missing the Chicago Cubs make the World Series for the first time since 1945 or having to DVR the Saturday Night Live cold open, spending four hours and 10 minutes watching an offensive orgy was an enjoyable way to spend an October night.
Prime-time games at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock have a history of making history. Oklahoma and Texas Tech engaged in a track meet disguised as a football game, with the Sooners slicing through what the Red Raiders call their defense for a 66-59 victory.
No. 16 Oklahoma (5-2, 4-0) stayed in contention for its 10th Big 12 title. Texas Tech (3-4, 1-3) bounced back from what coach Kliff Kingsbury described as an embarrassing loss to West Virginia, but the inability to keep the Sooners from zooming up and down the field translated to just another loss.
How OU finished with more points can be boiled down in a few declarative sentences. Baker Mayfield set a school record with seven touchdown passes and Joe Mixon’s 42-yard touchdown run with 5:03 remaining gave Oklahoma a two-touchdown lead. The Sooners scored on their first possession and converted a Texas Tech fumble to go up 13-0. Considering the rest of the game was a back-and-forth tennis match, that turnover ended up as the difference in the outcome.
A simple summary is the only sane way to make sense of the madness. For fans of old-style defensive football, it was no doubt maddening.
The numbers require an office of CPAs and the record books require dozens of updates.
- In a statistical oddity, both teams finished with 854 yards in total offense. The combined 1,708 yards broke the record of 1,640 set by San Jose State (849) and Nevada (791) on Nov. 10, 2001. Those teams combined for 168 plays.
- Texas Tech junior quarterback Patrick Mahomes set an FBS record with 800 yards in total offense. His 734 yards passing tied the FBS single-game record.
- Mixon, whose third-down carry on a direct snap produced a first-down that allowed OU to go to a victory formation, became just the third FBS player in the last 20 years with 250 yards rushing and 100 yards receiving. The third-year sophomore had a career-high 263 yards rushing on 31 carries and 114 yards receiving. He’s the first OU player to total 200 yards rushing and 100 yards passing in the same game.
#Sooners' tried to make Mixon available for interviews after the game. Mixon declined.
— John Shinn (@john_shinn) October 23, 2016
The records will go into the books for the next shootout showdown but the silly stats don’t end there.,
- Mayfield, returning to the place where his career started in 2013, was 27-of-36 for 545 yards. In the Sooners’ five Big 12 victories, he has completed 124 of 164 (75.6 percent) for 2,100 yards and 23 touchdowns with just three interceptions.
- OU receiver Dede Westbrook was almost lost in the offensive avalanche. He had nine catches for 202 yards and two touchdowns. In his last four games, Westbrook has 776 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns. Both are OU records for a four-game stretch. Seven of his TD receptions have been for 40 or more yards.
- Mixon had touchdown runs of 42 and 46 yards to go with touchdown receptions of 56, 43 and 15 yards.
- There were touchdown plays that covered 56, 49, 46, 11, 23, 23, 23, 32, 43, 41, 34, 22, 15, 56 and 42 yards. Texas Tech had a 4-yard TD run and a 3-yard TD pass that are listed only out of being fairness and compassion.
- Mahomes had a 75-yard touchdown pass in the first half called back by a penalty.
- Texas Tech was 20-of-25 on third downs. On those successful third-down plays, the Red Raiders gained 311 yards.
- The teams combined for 76 first downs. In the three other Big 12 games Saturday, the teams combined for 133 first downs.
- Texas ran 109 offensive plays to Oklahoma’s 76. The Sooners averaged 11.2 yards per play.
- Mahomes’ 88 attempts and 52 completions fell short of the FBS records (89 attempts, 58 completions).
- The Texas Tech basketball team beat Oklahoma in Lubbock last season, 65-63.
Mahomes and Mayfield are two of the best quarterbacks in the nation and are surrounded by outstanding talent. Mahomes in particular is arguably the most entertaining player in the country because of his ability to scramble and make eye-rubbing throws for completions, but he missed on a handful of passes that could have been touchdowns.
“I definitely could’ve done better,” he said. “A lot of throws I underthrew, overthrew … it wasn’t good enough.”
The opposite side is that neither team, especially the Red Raiders, played anything resembling defense. Mixon’s running ability provided the kind of balance that kept Texas Tech in a perpetual spin cycle. Mahomes’ magic wasn’t enough, but it was fun to watch … unless you were in charge of the Sooners’ defense.
“They had guys running free pretty much all night,” said Mike Stoops, OU’s defensive coordinator Mike Stoops.
“Just very disappointed in our effort, our coaching. It’s unacceptable. We thought we were making some improvements. To really fall on our face like this, we have to evaluate what we’re doing.
“It hurts when you don’t hold up your end of the deal. Unacceptable on so many levels I can’t even begin to define it. We went man… we went zone… it was unacceptable. I’ve never seen that in my whole life. Never seen that many guys open before.”
Remember, that’s the winning defensive coordinator speaking after this game.
It’s jarring but true: Texas Tech has lost its second game of 2016 in which it scored at least 55 points and lost. The first was a 68-55 decision at Arizona State a month ago. Last year, Texas Tech lost twice when scoring at least 52 points: 55-52 to TCU and 70-53 against Oklahoma State.
One last tidbit points out how Texas Tech has become synonymous with inept defense. Tech set the FBS record for most yards gained by a losing team. The previous record was 812 by Washington State (coached by former Red Raiders coach Mike Leach) two years ago in a 60-59 loss to Cal.
Who doesn’t like a good, entertaining football version of an orgy? It’s great for neutral parties, but for defensive coordinators and Texas Tech, there’s nothing fun about it.