Zach Duncan, Times Record News
It took Texas’ Graham Harrell only one play to show why he was the best quarterback in the state Saturday night at Memorial Stadium.
It took Oklahoma’s defense an entire night trying to figure a way to stop the future Texas Tech quarterback.
Behind Harrell’s arm and a monstrous 30-point first quarter, Texas throttled Oklahoma in the 67th Oil Bowl, cruising to a 40-10 victory over its border rival in front of an estimated crowd of 8,200.
“We just didn’t get it rolling, and when you look up and you’re 30-0 behind, it’s hard to stay with your offense,” Oklahoma coach Charles Lynch said. “I would have thought earlier in the week we could have played them a little closer, but sometimes things roll and you don’t have much control over them.”
Harrell, who threw for 54 touchdowns his senior year at Ennis, earned the game’s offensive most valuable player award by throwing for 260 yards and a pair of touchdowns, completing 17 of 29 passes.
After Forney defensive back Baylen Laury intercepted Oklahoma’s first pass of the game, Harrell connected with fellow Ennis teammate Jarvis Woodson for a 61-yard bomb on Texas’ initial play from scrimmage, setting the tone for the blowout.
“We caught them on their heels,” Texas offensive coordinator Bill Green said. “They probably weren’t prepared for our speed or size, and it snowballed.”
Chris Smith’s safety gave Texas the ball back near midfield, and former Hirschi tailback Chris Barry sprinted off tackle for a 48-yard touchdown run, giving the Lone Star State a 16-0 lead only two minutes into the game. Barry, who signed with Midwestern State, led all rushers with 108 yards on nine carries.
McKinney North’s Shannon Woods, who will join Harrell at Texas Tech next fall, added a 1-yard touchdown plunge, and Wichita Falls High School’s Tommy Henderson added a 5-yard score on an option keeper, putting Texas ahead 30-0 at the end of the first.
Oklahoma tried to make a game of it, scoring its lone touchdown on Zach Snider’s 2-yard dive in the second quarter and holding Texas without a touchdown for almost the next two quarters.
“Our kids played hard, and it was a great experience,” Lynch said. “We dropped a couple of passes and missed assignments, but that happens in all-star games.”
But Harrell connected with Gainesville’s Darcel McBath for a 28-yard touchdown catch at the end of the third, putting the final touches on the victory. McBath, who will also be a Red Raider in the fall, was the game’s leading receiver, finishing with seven catches for 136 yards.
While the offense looked sharp most of the evening, the Texas defense was equally impressive. Both Smith and Lake Highlands’ Franklin Okam, who was one of the top linemen in the nation, tallied two sacks apiece, and the entire front put enormous pressure on Oklahoma quarterbacks Robby Treadwell and Jake Spavital. Okam was named the game’s defensive MVP.
The group allowed only 32 rushing yards on 25 carries and created three turnovers. Spavital did complete 10-of-20 passes for 176 yards.
“We had a feeling that we would have a pretty good chance to stop them,” Green said. “They only had one really good drive, and we had an outstanding defensive effort.”
Harrell was the star of the night, though, taking all but 11 of Texas’ snaps. He showed mobility and a strong arm in picking apart Oklahoma’s secondary.
“He played just the way he practiced,” Green said. “He was real calm, and he made things happen.”
Henderson also caught two passes for 19 yards, Colin Bado had five for 35 yards and Woodson finished with two for 67 yards. Woods finished with 59 yards on 15 carries, while Oklahoma’s leading rusher was Chris Jones (17 rushes for 47 yards).
Staff sports writer Zach Duncan can be reached weekdays after 4 p.m. by calling 720-3470 or 1-800-627-1646. Or e-mail him at duncanz(at)timesrecordnews.com.