In the giddy celebration after Texas Tech upset Oklahoma, Red Raiders safety Giorgio Durham decided to brag to his cousin, Dominique Franks, an Atlanta Falcons cornerback. Franks used to be a standout for the Sooners.
“I texted him after the game, (saying), ‘I know you saw the game. Sorry we had to beat your team,’” Durham said. “He wrote back. He said even though we beat his team, he was proud of us, he was proud of me, and keep working hard.”
Tech quarterback Seth Doege and wide receiver Alex Torres got much of the credit, and rightly so, for the Red Raiders’ shocking 41-38 win Saturday as 29-point underdogs. But it’s unlikely the upset would have materialized had the Red Raiders not gotten major contributions from their Sooner State players.
Receivers Tramain Swindall (Oklahoma City Millwood), Marcus Kennard (Lawton) and Cornelius Douglas (Lawton) and safety Tre Porter (Midwest City Carl Albert) all made key plays in the upset. Durham (Oklahoma City Western Heights) plays on the kickoff-coverage team that was dispatched eight times.
There was no denying how much the game meant to them.
“Of course. Of course,” Swindall said. “It’s always bigger when you go back to your hometown, especially when you (the Sooners) didn’t really recruit any of us, I don’t believe. So it’s just going back and giving them payback, basically. It’s a great feeling to go back to your hometown and show out in front of them and family, too.”
Former Tech coach Mike Leach started making recruiting forays into Oklahoma a decade ago. Leach believed OU and Oklahoma State left behind some quality prospects, especially since both used a lot of scholarships on Texas recruits. Tech’s had more than 10 Okies on the roster at once in recent years and still has six.
Nearly all of them seemed to take a bite out of the Sooners on Saturday. Douglas had two third-down catches — one for 12 yards, one for 25 — that kept alive a pair of second-quarter scoring drives on which the Red Raiders increased their lead to 21-7.
Kennard did his damage on a couple of fly patterns, making catches for 40 and 30 yards. Both those drives ended in touchdowns, too, helping Tech stretch leads to 31-7 and 41-24. Porter intercepted OU quarterback Landry Jones in the third quarter. Swindall’s TD reception, a 14-yard toe-tap job midway through the fourth quarter, virtually clinched an upset against the highest-ranked opponent Tech has ever beaten on the road.
Swindall said he had 41 family members and friends there to watch it. Durham had between 30 and 40 in the crowd.
“We had a lot of fun, and we poured our hearts out on it,” said Durham, who transferred to Tech after being a Division II all-American as a sophomore at Central Oklahoma. “When we’re out there, it’s like, ‘Let’s get this win so we can go back and talk about it with people back home.’”
Now Swindall will be able to fire back whenever anyone mentions the previous two games he played in Norman. The Sooners slammed Tech 65-21 in 2008 and 45-7 in 2010.
“The past two times we played them there, it was pretty embarrassing,” Swindall said. “It felt good to finally end that streak that everybody talked about. We came in as underdogs. People weren’t expecting us to win, but we knew we could do it as long as we executed and played hard.”
Kennard used his return to Oklahoma as a coming-out party. The Red Raiders’ backup split end had only six catches in the first six games — a slow start for a heralded transfer from Butler (Kan.) Community College. But he fit into Saturday’s game plan.
“We thought the OU defense was real good, but their weakest spot was the secondary, so we were going to go deep on them,” Kennard said.
Kennard said he knew he was likely to have opportunities for a breakout game Saturday. Sure enough, he made his biggest impact to date.
“All week, I was going out there practicing, and Seth was throwing it to me,” he said. “In the game, it was the exact same thing. I just capitalized and we scored (twice) at the end of the series.”
When the game ended, several Tech players jumped into the stands to celebrate with Red Raiders fans. Swindall was one of them, thanking them for coming and trading high fives. For seniors such as him, Saturday’s victory over a team ranked No. 1 in the USA Today coaches poll was perhaps the biggest achievement since the Red Raiders beat No. 1-ranked Texas at home in 2008. But that Tech team was undefeated and ranked No. 6, and this Tech team was coming off two losses.
“Yeah, I think it was bigger than when we beat Texas here,” Swindall said. “I mean, nobody expected it, especially at OU. That’s one of the biggest wins, I think, in Tech history.”
To comment on this story:
firstname.lastname@example.org • 766-8734
email@example.com • 766-2166