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November 17, 2007

Texas Tech upsets No. 4 Oklahoma

OU is out.

Graham Harrell and Texas Tech knocked Oklahoma (No. 4 BCS, No. 3 AP) out of the national title chase Saturday night with a 34-27 victory.

Harrell threw for 420 yards and two touchdowns for the Red Raiders (8-4, 4-4 Big 12) and for the 11th time this season a top-five team lost to an unranked team.

Tech fans stormed the field after the win, the second straight in Lubbock for coach Mike Leach over Sooners coach Bob Stoops, his former boss at OU.

"It's unbelievable," said Harrell, who completed 47 of his career-high 72 passes. "We came out and executed. Coach Leach told us if we executed we could move the ball. That's exactly what we did."

With Oregon losing on Thursday, the Sooners (9-2, 5-2 Big 12), who were fourth in the latest BCS standings, appeared to be in good shape to play for a national title if they could have won out.

Who benefits from the Sooners' slip, combined with the Ducks' fall? Ohio State can start thinking national title again as it watches other contenders play out the rest of the season. The Buckeyes are in the clubhouse at 11-1 after beating Michigan 14-3 early Saturday. West Virginia also has fewer teams to jump over, too.

The Sooners failed to get on track after quarterback Sam Bradford left the game in the first quarter with an apparent concussion. He did not return.

Oklahoma offense came up feeble on all fronts, falling short of its season averages in rushing and scoring.

The loss put OU in a tie with Texas (No. 13 BCS, No. 12 AP) for the Big 12 South title, but the Sooners have the head-to-head edge, having beaten the Longhorns in October, and can clinch a spot in the conference championship game with a victory next week against Oklahoma State.

If the Sooners can get back to the title game, they'll face the winner of Kansas-Missouri. Who would've guessed the unbeaten Jayhawks and Tigers (10-1) would be the last two Big 12 teams in the national title race?

The Red Raiders had never beaten a team as highly ranked. In 2002, Tech beat No. 4 Texas 42-38 in Lubbock.

Oklahoma backup Joey Halzle, who had attemped just nine passes before coming into the game, struggled to lead the Sooners, going 21-of-41 for 291 yards. He threw for two touchdowns and had one interception.

OU came into the game averaging 191 rushing yards and 45 points, but scored only two offensive TDs, the defense got another, and ran for 106 yards.

By the time the Sooners scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns to make it 34-27, it was too late.

Texas Tech recovered an onside kick with less than half a minute left and the upset was complete.

Harrell rushed for Tech's first touchdown. On the play before he scored, Harrell completed a 60-yard pass to his favorite receiver, Michael Crabtree. That pass allowed him to join five other quarterbacks - two from Tech - who've thrown for at least 5,000 yards in a season.

Crabtree finished with 12 catches for 154 yards. It was the redshirt freshman's 10th game of 100 yards or more

The Sooners went up 7-0 when Lendy Holmes intercepted a pass and returned it 67 yards for a touchdown.

But Tech got points soon after. On the Sooners first play from scrimmage, OU running back Allen Patrick fumbled and Tech linebacker Marlon Williams picked it up and took it to the OU 34. Tech couldn't move the ball, though, and settled for a 51-yard field goal to pull within 7-3.

Bradford came out with the Sooners up 7-3 after their second possession of the game. It appeared from television replays that he took a hard hit as he tried to make a tackle after Patrick fumbled on OU's first play from scrimmage. Bradford got up slowly.

Bradford, the nation's leading passer, sat alone on the bench until about 10 minutes remained in the first half when he walked with trainers up a ramp leading out of the stadium and stood near the top for a few minutes.

He then got on the back of a golf cart and was taken away from the stadium area.


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