In Oklahoma they call it Sooner Magic. It's the hard-to-define quality the program has -- through changes in players, in coaches, in decades -- to find a way to win, no matter the circumstances. You can say it's all in the #OUDNA. In digging through box scores, I find a stat that puts some science behind the art of Sooner Magic.
Teams that led at halftime went a combined 39-8 this past weekend, an .830 winning percentage that's roughly in line with the .846 clip through the season's first five weeks. Teams that won the turnover battle went 33-8, an .805 mark that's ahead of the .749 percentage heading into Week 6. Teams led at halftime and produced more turnovers went 26-1.
You know the one.
Furthermore, not included in Texas' 2-1 turnover advantage was the blocked punt that staked the 'Horns to a 14-0 lead but nonetheless was not captured on the takeaway ledger.
Oklahoma got that score back when, on the same end of the split field, they forced a fumble on a Texas kickoff return and scored one play later, obtaining their first lead of the game at 48-41.
The Sooners completed their series-record 21-point comeback by dominating another important metric: rushing yards. Contrary to the conventional wisdom that the lopsided winning percentages can be easily explained away that "teams with leads run to kill the clock, trailing abandon the run, duh," Oklahoma launched its comeback on the ground.
The Sooners obliterated the UT rush defense to the tune of 339 yards on 8.3 a clip. There was a 66-yard Caleb Williams 4th-and-1 keeper that officially launched the comeback to close the deficit to 28-14. A 65-yard Kennedy Brooks run that set up another touchdown. An 18-yard Brooks rush immediately after the forced fumble. And then the 33-yard Brooks dagger for the win.
With Oklahoma's win, the team that runs for more yards is 21-2 in the Red River Shootout since 1999.
Of course, to come back from 28-7 down after one quarter -- and 41-23 down late in the third -- you need to be good, lucky, and lucky and good at the same time.
Sooner Magic is being the one team of 27 to overcome a halftime deficit (an 18-point halftime deficit, at that) and a turnover deficit to win anyway -- because your freshman quarterback made a pinpoint 55-yard throw, on the move, on 3rd-and-19, where your opponent says officials conveniently missed holding and offensive pass interference.
Week 6 numbers:
-- Win the rushing battle: 41-10 (.804)
-- Win the passing battle: 26-25 (.510)
-- Score first: 35-16 (.686)
-- Lead at halftime: 39-8 (.830)
-- Win turnovers: 33-8 (.805)
-- Win all five: 8-0 (1.000)
For the season:
-- Win the rushing battle: 328-92 (.781)
-- Win the passing battle: 247-143 (.588)
-- Score first: 315-106 (.748)
-- Lead at halftime: 336-62 (.852)
-- Win turnovers: 242-78 (.756)
-- Win all five: 72-0 (1.000)
-- Maryland was an opening drive field goal away from making the quinfecta number 73-0. The Terps were out-rushed 166-56, out-passed 432-279, out-turned-over 2-0, and trailed 35-10 in their 66-17 whipping by No. 7 Ohio State.
-- Troy out-rushed and out-passed Georgia Southern, won turnovers 3-1, and led 17-3 at halftime. Our numbers tell us that should've added up to a 35-point Trojans win, but instead Troy needed a late field goal and an interception to win 27-24.
-- Twenty-two times this weekend, the winning team rushed for more yards but threw for less than their opponent. The reverse happened just seven times. The most extreme of those seven: Syracuse out-rushed No. 19 Wake Forest 354-96, but lost the aerial battle 330-160 in a 40-37 Deacons victory.
-- Arkansas State is flirting with historic futility in the ground game. The Red Wolves rank third-to-last nationally in rushing offense and second-to-last in rush defense. In five games against FBS competition, all losses, A-State has been out-rushed 263-98, 200-55, 308-45, 503-81, and 294-18 in Thursday night's 52-20 loss to No. 15 Coastal Carolina.