Stakes high for Oklahoma, TechSam Bradford has all the impressive numbers that go along with a Heisman Trophy campaign: a few dozen touchdown passes, an impeccable quarterback rating and right around two miles worth of passing yards.
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Sam Bradford has all the impressive numbers that go along with a Heisman Trophy campaign: a few dozen touchdown passes, an impeccable quarterback rating and right around two miles worth of passing yards.
Graham Harrell has all that, too, plus a couple of late-season marquee wins to go with it.
When Harrell and No. 2 Texas Tech meet Bradford and No. 5 Oklahoma on Saturday night, the Heisman race — as well as the national championship chase — will be center stage.
“A lot of people are talking about that, but it’s probably the last thing that I’m thinking about this week,” said Bradford, who leads the nation with 38 touchdown passes and also has 3,406 yards passing.
“When you start thinking about that, then you get away from what’s really important and that’s winning this football game.”
And it’s a HUGE one.
Texas Tech (10-0, 6-0 Big 12) needs only to beat fifth-ranked Oklahoma (9-1, 5-1) to clinch the Big 12 South and establish itself as the conference’s clear front-runner for the national championship — and perhaps give Harrell an insurmountable lead in the Heisman race.
The Sooners can spoil it all, just as Tech did three weeks ago against then-No. 1 Texas in another of the Big 12’s round-robin between Heisman caliber quarterbacks.
It all started with Bradford against Texas’ Colt McCoy back in October, with the Longhorns leaving the Cotton Bowl with the Sooners’ top ranking in tow. They defended it against Missouri’s Chase Daniel and Oklahoma State’s Zac Robinson, but Harrell and the Red Raiders — with a little last-second magic from Michael Crabtree — pre-empted Texas’ coronation.
Now the Red Raiders are in the Longhorns’ position. Texas Tech finishes a brutal four-game stretch against ranked opponents by facing a highly rated divisional foe on its home field.
The Sooners carry the nation’s longest home winning streak at 23 games, and this qualifies as the biggest game in Norman since top-ranked Nebraska came calling in 2000. The Huskers left in defeat and Oklahoma marched on to the national championship.
Both the Sooners and Red Raiders were off last week, letting the anticipation grow only that much more with all that’s at stake: a shot at the Big 12 title, the Heisman Trophy and, of course, the biggest prize of all.
“They can’t want it,” Stoops said, “any more than we want it.”