The Golden Hurricane got one back on their next drive, but not without a little controversy. On a pass that fell in the end zone, Oklahoma safety Gabe Lynn was called for targeting, which now comes with an automatic ejection. This brought a chorus of boos and an irate Stoops to descend on the referees, who soon had the play reviewed. The ejection was reversed, as it was clear that Lynn hit the Tulsa receiver with his shoulder and not on his helmet. However, the 15 yard penalty stood.
“I thought they did it just how it was meant to be,” Stoops said of the referees after the game. “He initially thought it was helmet-to-helmet, they reviewed it, saw that it wasn’t, so he was able to stay in the game.”
With another bite at the cherry, running back Trey Watts ran in two yards for the touchdown. With one quarter down, the score was 10-7 Oklahoma.
But the Sooners extended their lead to start the second frame. A three yard pass to Sterling put the Sooners up 17-7, and they weren’t done there. It’s a good thing Lynn wasn’t ejected, because he later returned an interception across the middle of the field for 31 yards. That set up a quick pass to Roy Finch, who shimmied his way down the right side for a 29-yard touchdown to make it 24-7 Sooners.
Shepard set up the next Sooner scoring drive with 44-yard catch into the red zone. Tulsa held the offense to another field goal this time, but the OU lead was at 20 by halftime. A big contributor to the lack of red zone execution was down to the running game, which struggled at 4.4 yards per carry. Finch led the ground game with 68 yards from eight carries.
“We did struggle early,” Josh Heupel, offensive coordinator, said of the OU run game. “It wasn’t anything major; we just weren’t executing.”