Texas Tech will be meeting Oklahoma this weekend for the 23rd time. In the first 22 meetings, Oklahoma has come out on top more often than not, leading the series 16-6. However, in 2007 and in 2011, an unranked Red Raider squad would defeat a top-5 Sooner team. With a four year gap in between the first two upsets, will the trend play out again now that four years have passed since 2011?
While Tech faces an uphill battle this weekend, let’s look back and celebrate the previous Red Raider upsets over our neighbors to the north.
November 17, 2007: #3 Oklahoma at Texas Tech
Late in the 2007 season, Oklahoma would make a trip to Lubbock to face a strong, albeit underwhelming Red Raider squad. OU had raced out to a 4-0 start on the season, decimating every team they faced. In game five, the Sooners faced an unranked Colorado team in Boulder, falling 27-24 in a shocker. The loss put a damper on the Sooner season and had many believing OU was out of the title race.
Not surprisingly, Stoops got OU back on track, beating #19 Texas 28-21 and #11 Missouri 41-31 in back-to-back weeks. The Sooners rattled off three more wins (Iowa State, Texas A&M and Baylor) before facing Texas Tech. Despite the early season loss, OU was back in contention for the BCS title game and most prognosticators had the Sooners ending up there.
Meanwhile, Texas Tech came into the Oklahoma game with a 7-4 record, having fallen to Oklahoma State, #16 Missouri, Colorado and #14 Texas. The Red Raiders had only been ranked once all season at #22, a ranking they lost after losing to Missouri.
With the backdrop set, a heavily favored Sooner team rolled into Lubbock. ABC was on hand to broadcast the game to a national audience – it would be the most widely viewed Raider game since Mike Leach took over at Tech. There would be plenty of familiar names on the field, as Texas Tech boasted a roster with players, such as, Graham Harrell, Michael Crabtree and Danny Amendola while Oklahoma brought their own set of stars in Curtis Lofton, Phil Loadholt, Jermaine Gresham and a pair of freshmen – Sam Bradford and DeMarco Murray.
On the first drive of the game, it looked like OU would be taking care of business, as on the fifth play Lendy Holmes intercepted a Harrell pass and returned it 63 yards for a touchdown. However, the Sooners were almost immediately hampered by injuries. Bradford would go down with a concussion after attempting to make a tackle after a OU fumble on the first Sooner drive. Oklahoma also lost DeMarco Murray to a dislocated kneecap, Adron Tennell to a torn ACL and Alan Davis to a concussion.
Despite the early mistake, Harrell and Red Raiders came back on fire. With OU now shorthanded, Tech would take advantage, building a 27-10 halftime lead.
The game was a true personification of Leach’s Air Raid. Harrell would throw the ball an astounding 72 times, completing 47 for 420 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Just a redshirt freshman, Crabtree would have his 10th 100-yard receiving game, as he finished with 12 catches for 154 yards and a score. Meanwhile, Tech’s leading rusher would be Aaron Crawford who managed just 47 yards on 12 attempts (although he and Harrell both added rushing scores).
Oklahoma would try to mount a comeback, outscoring the Red Raiders 14-0 in the fourth quarter, but it was too late. Texas Tech had beaten the nation’s #3 team 34-27. It was the highest ranked team that Tech had ever beaten and was the signature win in Mike Leach’s tenure at that point. Oklahoma would be knocked out of the national title race, although they would still win the Big 12 South before capturing the Big 12 title by beating #1 Missouri 38-17.
At the end of the season, the Sooners would fall to #9 West Virginia in the Fiesta Bowl 48-28, while the Red Raiders finished their season on a high note beating #20 Virginia 31-28 in the Gator Bowl (this time Tech would have to comeback in the fourth quarter, outscoring Virginia 17-7 and making a 41-yard field goal with just two seconds left to win).
Michael Crabtree would be named the Fred Biletnikoff Award winner as the nation’s best receiver while also collecting first-team All-American honors – just one of two freshmen to do so, alongside fellow Big 12 player, Jeremy Maclin.
2007 was dubbed the “Year of the Upset” by many reporters as 59 unranked or lower-ranked teams would topple higher ranked teams over the course of the season. Even more astounding, unranked teams defeated top-5 teams 13 times during the 2007 regular season.
October 22, 2011: Texas Tech at #3 Oklahoma
With this weekend’s game happening on October 24, the last Tech upset over Oklahoma happened almost four years ago to the day. The Red Raiders were in the second season of the Tommy Tuberville era. Similar to the 2007 game, Tech came into the match up with almost now belief or expectation of an upset.
After starting the season 4-0 with victories over Texas State, New Mexico, Nevada and Kansas, the Red Raiders dropped their next two games, falling to #24 Texas A&M and #17 Kansas State. Now at 4-2, the Red Raiders would have to make the trip to Norman to face #3 Oklahoma in another nationally broadcast game.
Oklahoma would come into the game at 5-0, although the season had not gone exactly as planned by the Sooners. Opening the season with a #1 ranking, OU had beaten #5 Florida State and #11 Texas, but ultimately dropped two spots in the polls to #3. With a match up against a top-ten Kansas State looming on October 29, the Sooners welcomed, what should have been, an easy win against Texas Tech on October 22.
However, it was anything but an easy win. After a 90-minute delay due to stormy weather, the game finally began. Riding a 39-game home win streak, Oklahoma hadn’t lost a home match since 2005 and hadn’t lost a Big 12 home game since 2001. Led by quarterback Seth Doege, Texas Tech would enter halftime up 24-7. An early third quarter pass would see the Raiders’ lead grow to 31-7.
Much like 2007, Oklahoma would come roaring back in the fourth quarter outscoring the Raiders 21-10 before ultimately falling 41-28. Doege would finish 33 of 52 for 441 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. Alex Torres would be the leading Tech receiver with four catches for 94 yards and three scores.
Not to be outdone, Oklahoma would see Landry Jones go 30 of 55 for 412 yards, five touchdowns and one interception. Leading all receivers was Kenny Stills who finished with eight receptions for 135 yards and two scores.
Perhaps most interestingly, Tech still has someone on their roster from the 2011 upset. The Red Raiders leading rusher in that game was none other than DeAndre Washington who had 16 carries for 84 yards. Washington is again the Raiders leading rusher this season and promises to play a vital role this weekend.
Tech would finish the season by losing their final five games, starting the very next week when the Red Raiders (ranked #19 after beating the Sooners) fell to Iowa State 41-7 at Jones AT&T Stadium. The Raiders would finish with a 5-7 record posting their first losing record since 1992 and missing a bowl game for the first time since 1999.
October 24, 2015: Texas Tech at #17 Oklahoma
The Red Raiders will be bringing another new coach to the sidelines of Norman, who will be looking to repeat the upsets of his predecessors, Leach and Tuberville. If you’re curious, Kingsbury actually faced a #17 ranked Oklahoma in Norman in his first season as Tech’s head man. That year, #17 OU defeated #10 Tech 38-30.
Tech is a new team this year and behind Patrick Mahomes, who knows? Maybe the Raiders can keep the four-year upset magic going.
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This article was written and researched by Ryan Sprayberry, Collections and Exhibits Manager at the Texas Sports Hall of Fame