81F Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, Norman, OK
Yet another second-half surge got Oklahoma headed back in the right direction, but the Sooners won't have Dominique Whaley to help continue that push.
The leading rusher for No. 7 Oklahoma will likely miss the rest of the season, leaving his team to try and compensate for his absence starting Saturday against visiting Texas A&M.
Oklahoma scored 31 points over the final 30 minutes against Texas Tech on Oct. 22 but lost 41-38, ending its NCAA-best home win streak at 39. The Sooners faced another deficit last Saturday at Kansas State, albeit a much smaller one, but turned in a stunning performance to bounce back for a 58-17 victory.
After falling behind by three early in the second quarter, Oklahoma scored 44 unanswered points, with Landry Jones throwing for a school-record 505 yards and five touchdowns.
"I think we still haven't seen the real OU team," receiver Jaz Reynolds said. "We have to still put 60 minutes together. (Against Texas) Tech, we came out very flat and they just came out and whooped us. That's a lesson to us that we have to come out on edge every time and play like our hair's on fire."
The Sooners (7-1, 4-1 Big 12) needed Jones to step up after Whaley fractured his left ankle on the first play from scrimmage. Oklahoma also got strong fill-in work at running back from Roy Finch, who had 73 yards and a touchdown on nine attempts, and fullback Trey Millard, who sprinted for a 61-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Brandon Williams and Brennan Clay are also expected to get some carries in place of Whaley, who had 664 yards and nine touchdowns.
"You don't want to lose a great player like Dom, because he does a lot of great things for us in the run game, the pass game," Jones said. "But we've got some talent back there and I think we'll be all right."
Oklahoma might be able to manage fine without Whaley in this game as the Sooners face the worst pass defense in the FBS. Texas A&M is allowing an average of 318.3 yards through the air, while the Sooners are second in the country with 396.6 passing yards per contest.
Jones and top receiver Ryan Broyles, however, couldn't lead their team to a victory at College Station on Nov. 6. The Aggies got a pair of touchdown passes from Ryan Tannehill and overcame two of his interceptions during a 33-19 win.
Texas A&M's top receiver Ryan Swope finished with 136 yards on eight catches and had a 64-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter of that game. Broyles, once again among the nation's leaders in receptions and yards this season, was limited to 59 yards on eight catches.
The Aggies' Cyrus Gray ran for 122 yards and a touchdown in the contest, but his team blew a double-digit halftime lead for the third time this season last Saturday as its three-game winning streak was snapped.
Texas A&M (5-3, 3-2) led Missouri by 11 at the break but allowed the Tigers to rally for a 38-31 overtime victory. The Aggies fumbled twice and Tannehill threw an interception that helped set up a Tigers touchdown in the fourth quarter.
"We didn't make the plays we needed to make when we needed to make them," coach Mike Sherman said. "It's definitely something we've got to talk about and get fixed."
Oklahoma has made more plays when hosting the Aggies of late, winning six consecutive meetings in Norman. The Sooners had taken seven straight overall matchups before last season's defeat.
Jones passed for 392 yards and five touchdowns during a 65-10 win in the last meeting in Oklahoma in 2009. Broyles had eight catches for 79 yards and a TD, and ran for another score.
Texas A&M receiver Jeff Fuller, who scored his team's only touchdown in that game, is dealing with a bruised toe. He is second on the Aggies with 468 receiving yards but was held to 42, his second-lowest total of the season, by Missouri.
"I'm hopeful this week we'll get him back close to full force," Sherman said.
Oklahoma center Ben Habern and cornerback Jamell Fleming could return this week.
Oklahoma is 12-2 at home versus Texas A&M and leads the series 18-11.