NORMAN, Okla. – Sonny Cumbie’s first assignment as head coach was no easier in reality than it looked on paper.
Phenomenon quarterback Freshman Caleb Williams threw six touchdown passes, a season record, and the Oklahoma No.4 went unbeaten with a 52-21 win on Saturday over Texas Tech, the 17th in a row. of the Sooners and their 10th in a row against the Red Raiders.
Tech (5-4, 2-4 in the Big 12) fired Matt Wells on Monday and appointed Cumbie as interim head coach the remainder of the season, with nothing but scheduled opponents.
“Our players had a week this week where they answered the bell in any way we could have asked them to answer the bell from a work ethic and commitment perspective,” Cumbie said. “At the end of the day, we have to win soccer games. It doesn’t matter who coaches at Texas Tech and whoever you play, the goal is to win a soccer game and put our guys in the best positions to do it. “
Oklahoma (9-0, 6-0) had done just enough to get rid of major underdogs on several occasions this season, causing fan dissatisfaction.
The Sooners did not leave out the Red Raiders. They kicked to end their first streak, then scored in their next eight, seven of which were touchdowns. On three of his touchdown passes, Williams dodged a Tech passing forward in the backfield, rushed in and found an open receiver in the end zone.
The last one, with linebacker Riko Jeffers emptying Williams to the right, was a 9-yard TD to Austin Stogner who took him to 45-14 with 10:56 to go.
“He had the ability to expand plays,” said linebacker Colin Schooler, “and their receivers did a good job finding holes in the scrambling drill.”
Williams completed 23 of 30 for 402 yards, all-season highs. Spencer Rattler, an early season Heisman candidate moved by Williams in early October, kept the assault going with a 42-yard touchdown pass to Brian Darby with 6:10 left in the game.
Technical quarterback Donovan Smith has played the last 2-1 / 2 quarters in his most extended action of the season. Halfway through the second quarter, starting QB Henry Colombi was out of bounds and fled, and officials flagged the Sooners for unnecessary roughness.
Cumbie thought Colombi looked “dazed” at the time. Cumbie said Colombi could have come back but he decided for the remainder of the half and half to give Smith the go-ahead.
The Frenship red-shirted freshman ended a 10-play, 75-yard drive with a 17-yard touchdown pass to JJ Sparkman who made it 38-14. He led a six-game drive towards the end of the game which Xavier White finished with a 1-yard TD.
Smith finished 17 of 22 for 192 yards. In the previous six games, he had mostly confined himself to a small set of racing games.
“I think the thing you saw today that you saw at the end of the game against Kansas is Donovan’s quarterback,” Cumbie said. “He’s not a one-ride pony where he can just come in and run the ball. He can kick the football. He hasn’t had as much experience in the game as Henry, like Tyler (Shough), but he got out there and did a good job today. “
Tech has a date open next week, during which Cumbie will assess the quarterback’s options. Shough has started the first four games, Colombi the last five and Shough could be close to a comeback from a broken collarbone.
Shough was supposed to be out for at least six weeks, and Tech’s next game is on Nov. 13 against Iowa State, seven weeks after his injury.
“But Donovan made a strong case,” said Cumbie, “with the way he competed and how he played today.”
Oklahoma have scored in their last four first-half series, all on assists from Williams. The last was a 12-yard shot to Drake Stoops, moments after safety Pat Fields intercepted a downed pass and sent it back to Tech 17.
Led 28-7 at that point, Tech had the opportunity to close the gap before half-time. The Red Raiders, however, used their last time-out with 35 seconds left, which proved costly after a pass from Smith to Erik Ezukanma moved the ball to OU 8.
The pass was over the middle, however, and the clock kept ticking.
In a rush to bring the placement unit onto the field, kicker Jonathan Garibay was still running to the snap and time passed before he made a weak pass to the ball.
Tech trains in rushed midpoint placement situations every week, and Cumbie blamed himself for not communicating him well enough on the sideline.
“We do bazooka (rushed field goal) a lot,” Cumbie said. “Coach Wells puts us in these situations to (work) situationally, and somehow he (Garibay) was the only one who didn’t hear it.”
Oklahoma put the game out of reach early in the second half. Gabe Brkic kicked for a 53-yard field goal, and after the Red Raiders returned the ball on the downs at Tech 43, Williams hit Marvin Mims in the end zone on the next play for a 38-7 lead.
An Austin McNamara punt pinned OU at his 5-yard line in the Sooners’ second series. But Williams bailed out the Sooners with a 31-yard pass to Stoops and finished the run by pulling away from nose tackle Philip Blidi and throwing a 32-yard TD at Mario Williams.
At the end of the first quarter, the teams traded TD passes, Colombi connecting to Ezukanma from 17 yards and OU regaining the lead on a 67-yard strike from Caleb Williams at Mims.
Ezukanma was hand-wrestling with cornerback Jaden Davis, and Colombi dropped the ball just over Davis and safety Delarrin Turner-Yell, but Ezukanma held on in the back corner of the end zone. goals.
Oklahoma blocked three games later. Williams passed to Mims at Tech 45, and Mims escaped DaMarcus Fields’ tackle attempt and sailed to the visitors sideline.
The next time the Sooners got the ball, Williams threw an 8-yard TD pass to tight end Brayden Willis. This time, Williams dodged nose tackle Jaylon Hutchings behind the line, escaped to the right and hit Willis in the back corner of the end zone.
►Ezukanma finished with eight catches for 123 yards. It was his first 100-yard performance since doing so consecutively in the first two games of the season.
►Sparkman’s three catches for 37 yards and a touchdown were career highs for the 6-foot-4, 225-pound rookie. Sparkman missed the 2020 season after undergoing shoulder surgery and much of that season with a shoulder problem.
He passed defensive backs DJ Graham and Fields to catch his touchdown pass from Smith.
“I think he’s finally healthy,” Cumbie said, “and he’s obviously a match problem because he can climb, he has good ball skills and it was great to see the production he had today. “
► OU’s Mario Williams caught five passes for 100 yards and Marvin Mims caught four for 135.