OU Opens Season Saturday Night

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
AUGUST 25, 2008
NORMAN, Okla. -- Oklahoma begins its 114th season of football competition when it hosts Chattanooga. The Sooners are opening at home for the fifth consecutive season and for the eighth time in Bob Stoops' 10 seasons. The game kicks at 6 p.m. on Saturday at Owen Field. FOX Sports has the pay-per-view telecast.

The Series
It's the first gridiron meeting between these two schools. UTC competes on the NCAA FCS level, formerly known as I-AA. Oklahoma hasn't played a school from that division since Bob Stoops' first game as the Sooners' head coach, the 1999 opener against Indiana State. OU prevailed in that one, 49-0.

The Coaches
Oklahoma: Bob Stoops (Iowa `83) is 97-22 in his 10th season with the Sooners. He is 64-13 vs. the Big 12, 35-9 vs. the Big 12 South, 28-4 vs. the Big 12 North, 5-1 in the Big 12 title game, 33-9 vs. non-conference opponents, 54-2 at home, 27-11 on the road, 16-9 on neutral fields, 28-11 vs. ranked opponents, 4-5 in bowls, 3-5 in January Bowls and 2-4 in BCS games.
UTC: Rodney Allison (Texas Tech `80) is 16-40 in five years with the Mocs and overall.

Sooner Gameday Central: OU vs. Chattanooga | Scouting Report: Chattanooga Mocs | Boomer Bytes
Photos OU & Big 12 Game Notes (PDF) | OU Depth Chart | 2008 OU Football Guide

The Program
• Oklahoma's all-time record stands at 779-295-53.
• The Sooners own seven national championships (1950, 1955, 1956, 1974, 1975, 1985, 2000).
• OU has 41 bowl appearances (No. 7 nationally) with 24 victories (No. 4 nationally).
• Oklahoma has won 41 conference titles.
• Since WWII, Oklahoma is the most successful college football program with 545 victories.
• Some 144 All-Americans and four Heisman Trophy winners have come from the Oklahoma program.
• OU leads the nation in 10-win seasons with 30 overall.
Oklahoma Football History & Tradition
This Week's Opponent
• Tennessee-Chattanooga plays in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), which was known for many years as I-AA. The Mocs compete in the Southern Conference. This is OU's first game against a lower division team since Bob Stoops' opener in 1999 when the Sooners downed Indiana State, 49-0
• UTC was 2-9 last season, 2-5 in league play for a seventh-place finish. The team returns six starters on offense, three on defense.
• The Mocs are playing their first-ever game against a Big 12 opponent. Last season they went into the FBS ranks against Arkansas and lost at Little Rock, 34-15. This is the eighth straight season in which UTC has played an FBS opponent, and all resulted in a loss. Two weeks after playing at Oklahoma, Chattanooga plays at Florida State.
• Among UTC's opponents last year was the 2007 darling of the upset, Appalachian State, the two-time defending FCS champion, which turned back the Mocs, 37-17, at Boone, NC, in the regular season finale. Appalachian State competes with UTC in the Southern Conference.

Ties With This Week's Opponent
• UTC Director of Athletics Rick Hart was on Oklahoma's administrative staff from 1999-2006. He is in his second year in his current position.

For Openers
Oklahoma is 86-21-6 in season openers, including a 53-9-5 record in Norman.
• Oklahoma has won last year's opener by a 79-10 count over North Texas.
• Bob Stoops is 8-1 in openers, including a 7-1 mark on Owen Field. Those seven wins at home were won by an average score of 46-13.
• OU is 45-8-5 when playing its opener at Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.

Great First Game for Sooners
A look at some of the top individual performances in first games as a Sooner ...
• QB Sam Bradford vs. North Texas in 2007, 21-of-23 for 363 yards and 3 touchdown passes.
• RB DeMarco Murray vs. North Texas in 2007, 5 rushing touchdowns.
• QB Josh Heupel vs. Indiana State in 1999, 353 passing yards and 5 touchdown passes.
• LB Torrance Marshall vs. Indiana State in 1999, 15 tackles.
• DE Darryl Bright vs. Northwestern in 1997, 3 tackles for loss (19 yards).
• RB Joe Washington vs. Utah State in 1972, 157 all purpose yards and 1 touchdown.
• WR Jon Harrison vs. SMU in 1970, 3 receptions for 108 yards.
• These players got a touchdown on their first OU touch: Mike Thomas 90-yard run vs. Oregon, 1972; Dale Crawford 66-yard run vs. Kansas State, 1950; Darrell Shepard 60-yard run vs. Kansas, 1979.

Openers Under Stoops
1999: Josh Heupel set school records with five touchdown passes and 31 completions in Bob Stoops' first game, a 49-0 win over Indiana State.
2000: The highest recorded temperature for an OU football game hit 106 degrees. Renaldo Works scored the first three touchdowns of his career in a 55-14 win over UTEP.
2001: There was an 88-yard kickoff return by Antwone Savage, a 47-yard interception return by Derrick Strait and a 12-yard fumble return by Rocky Calmus, all for touchdowns, as OU whipped North Carolina, 41-27.
2002: Antonio Perkins, in his first game as punt returner, logged the third-longest return in OU history with a 91-yarder for a touchdown in a 37-0 win at Tulsa. Quentin Griffin rushed for 237 yards.
2003: The first-game in the expanded stadium was also the first for Jason White after his second knee surgery. Jejuan Rankins became the second player in school history to score a touchdown on his first career reception. The Sooners thrashed North Texas, 37-3.
2004: Kejuan Jones (148) and Adrian Peterson (100) both eclipsed the century mark in rushing yards in a 40-24 win over Bowling Green.
2005: The No. 7-ranked Sooners lost three fumbles and dropped a 17-10 decision to a TCU team that went on to post a mark of 11-1.
2006: Adrian Peterson sprinted 69 yards with a swing pass to score the final touchdown in OU's 24-17 victory over stubborn UAB. It was the only TD reception of Peterson's career.
2007: In his debut, Sam Bradford hit 21-of-23 passes, including a school record-tying 18 straight, as OU smashed North Texas, 79-10. Another frosh, DeMarco Murray, ran for five touchdowns.

The Sooners Briefly
• OU is No. 4 in both of the preseason polls. It's the 10th straight season that OU has appeared in the first AP poll.
• Oklahoma was tabbed for a first-place finish in the Big 12's South Division in a preseason polling of league media. Defensive end Auston English was named the league's preseason defensive player of the year.
• There are 27 players on this team with previous starting experience. There were 34 in 2007, 10 in 2006.
• Last season, OU was 11-3 overall, 6-2 in the Big 12. The Sooners won their fifth Big 12 crown, second straight and 41st league title overall before advancing to the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
• Three players from the `07 team left early for the NFL: WR Malcolm Kelly, LB Curtis Lofton and DB Reggie Smith.
New Video Board Debut
Oklahoma will unveil its new south end zone video board at the season opener ...
• The board measures 113.5 feet wide by 32.5 feet tall (3,689 square feet). The previous video board space on the south end board was 36X21 (756 square feet). It is thought that the new board is the fourth-largest in the nation.
• The board is 16mm High Definition.
• Cost of the new board was $4.5 million.
• The project included a new sound system, the extension of the ribbon boards on the upper decks and a new Sooner Vision high definition control room, which carried a price tag of $2 million.

Home Field Honchos
Bob Stoops' teams are 54-2 at Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium and have won their last 18 in a row there, and 38 of its last 39. Stoops's tenure also included home winning streaks of 19 and 17 games.

Bob Stoops is 33-9 vs. Non-league opponents, 28-4 in regular season non-league games and 23-1 in non-conference home games.
Notable Rule Changes
• The 40-second play clock begins when the ball is dead from the previous play.
• The first two sideline penalties are five yards. Subsequent penalties for the offense are 15 yards.
• The horse-collar tackle now results in a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty.
• If a coach's challenge is upheld, the coach retains the challenge.
• Kickoffs that go out of bounds are penalized 30 yards from the spot of the kick.
• Grasping or twisting of the facemask is a 15-yard penalty. Incidental contact is no longer penalized.

Stoops Era Yielding Record Attendance
Oklahoma has drawn 4,499,034 fans for Bob Stoops' 56 home games (started in 1999)
• All 56 have been sold out and the Sooners have prevailed 54 times.
• Last year's average home attendance of 84,858 was the largest in school history. The top eight seasons for OU home attendance have come on Stoops' watch.
• The crowd of 85,357 for the `07 Miami game was the largest to see a sporting event in the state of Oklahoma.
• OU has exceeded its listed capacity of 82,112 in 30 consecutive games.
• Oklahoma has played before sellout crowds in 100 of Stoops' 119 games. A total of 8,598,842, or an average of 72,259, has seen those games.
Oklahoma Sets Attendance Records at Memorial Stadium

  About the Offense

• Under Stoops, Oklahoma has produced its career leader in passing and receiving, while turning out the No. 3- and No. 4-ranked rusher in school history and the school record holder for single-season rushing, passing and receiving yards.
• OU has scored at least one touchdown in every game dating back to Nov. 7, 1998.
• Under Stoops, OU has rushed for 200 yards 36 times, including 30 over the last five seasons.
• Also under Stoops, OU has 123 touchdowns of 25-plus yards and 247 scoring drives that took less than two minutes.

Last Season Revisited
• The Sooners scored in 50 of 56 quarters.
• Oklahoma averaged 6.4 yards per play, the most since 1987.
• For the fifth straight season, Oklahoma had multiple backs log a 100-yard rushing game. Also for the fifth straight season, OU produced a 1,000-yard rusher (Allen Patrick)
• The team had five, one-play scoring drives. Three were rushes. The shortest was 17 yards.
• There were three, 90-yard scoring drives: 96 vs. Utah St., 94 vs. Texas, 91 vs. Texas Tech.
• Sam Bradford was the nation's leader in passing efficiency and Oklahoma topped the same team category. OU had not won an individual statistical title since 1979 when RB Billy Sims led the nation in scoring (138 points). The Sooners had not captured a team stat title since 1987 when they were tops in rushing offense, scoring offense, scoring defense, pass defense, scoring offense, total offense and total defense.
• The 2007 team was the second-highest scoring in school history with 592 points. It was just the fifth Oklahoma team to eclipse 500 points, but the third for Stoops. The team went over 50 points five times, over 60 twice and over 70 once.

Banner Year for Bradford
Sam Bradford had perhaps the best freshman season by any QB in NCAA history ...
• Led the nation in passing efficiency at 176.53, just ahead of Heisman winner Tim Tebow.
• Fired 36 touchdown passes to break the NCAA freshman record by seven.
• Had consecutive completion streaks of 22 and 21 to break Jason White's OU record of 18 and challenge the NCAA mark of 24 set by Tennessee's Tee Martin.
• Had multiple TD passes in 10 games, including a school record-tying five vs. Miami and Texas A&M.
• Hit at least 65% of his passes in 10 of 14 games, threw no interceptions in five and had at least one completion of 30 yards in every contest.

Iglesias Piles Up Yards
WR Juaquin Iglesias is one of the top all-around performers ever to wear a Sooner uniform ...
• He led the Sooners in receptions and receiving yards last season with 41 for 514, respectively.
• With 1,883 all purpose yards last season, he posted the seventh-best figure in school history.
• His career total of 3,015 all purpose yards is 20th on the career list at Oklahoma.
• The senior ranks No. 6 in all-time receiving yards and No. 8 in receptions at OU.
• Iglesias is No. 4 at Oklahoma with four, 100-yard games.
• He is No. 2 in career return yards with 994 after ranking No. 16 nationally last season with 28.48 yards/return.

Truly a Stable of Backs
Aside from Allen Patrick's 1,009 rushing yards last season, reserves Chris Brown (611 yards) and DeMarco Murray (764 yards) combined for another 1,375. Murray scored 13 touchdowns, while Brown got nine.

The Line on the Line
With an average height of just over 6-5 (77.1 inches) and 302.8 pounds on the two-deep this is one of the biggest offensive lines in OU history. During the Stoops era this is the third-heaviest line, down by an average of 13.8 pounds from last year despite the fact that it's mostly the same group. Last year's was the heaviest line at 316.6. By height, this is the third-tallest line of the Stoops era. The 2002 and 2003 lines both measured 77.2 inches.
• This veteran line has combined for 128 starts and 173 games played.

Nearing 30,000 Points
By points, Oklahoma is the highest scoring program in the history of college football. In 1,127 games, the Sooners have scored 29,777 points, an average of 26.4 per game. Chasing the Sooners are Michigan with 29,347 points in 1,195 games and Nebraska with 29,128 in 1,191. OU's opponents have scored 13,919 tallies for an average of 12.4 per game. 

  About the Defense

• OU forced at least one turnover in 106 of Bob Stoops' 119 games and has at least one interception in 78 of the last 104; multiple picks in 32 of the last 74 outings.
• Oklahoma has nine shutouts under its current head coach. Opponents failed to score more than seven points 29 times and scored less than 14 in 56 games.

English Lesson
DE Auston English emerged last season as one of the nation's top pass rushers ...
• With 9.5 sacks, English tied with Torrance Marshall (1999) for the 14th-best single season total in school history. It was the second-best total in the Stoops era behind the 10 by Calvin Thibodeaux (2005) and Dan Cody (2004, 2003).
• English broke a non-weight-bearing bone in his right leg in the Texas A&M game. A rod was inserted and he missed the next three contests. He returned for the Big 12 Championship game and the Fiesta Bowl with the rod still in place.

He's New, Sorta
Mike Balogun will get the start at WLB making him the first Sooner LB to start his first OU game since Lance Mitchell, also a junior college transfer, in 2002. Before that, it was Torrance Marshall in 1999.
• Born Sept. 28, 1983, Balogun will be 24 on the date of the season opener. Both C.J. Ah You (2006) and Billy Sims (1979) were 24 during their senior seasons. Players of that age were typical after WWII. Since that time, the oldest Sooner football player was DL Dick Passo, who was 26 when he played in 1968.

Rip and Run
Bob Stoops' teams have been notorious for their interception return yardage. The 2007 team was among OU's best in that department ....
• Oklahoma had 19 interceptions for 346 interception return yards and three touchdowns. That yardage total ranked No. 3 since Stoops became the head coach. The 2002 team put up a ridiculous 516 return yards on 24 interceptions. The 2000 National Champions notched 369 return yards, also on 24 picks.
• The 2007 OU defenders touched the ball 70 times (5.4 times per game) with 42 PBUs, 19 interceptions and nine fumble recoveries. To put that in perspective, opposing teams have just 46 touches in 27 break-ups, 11 fumble recoveries and eight interceptions.
• OU averaged 18.0 yards on INT/FUM returns with five TDs to tie the school record set in 1956, 2000 and 2001.

More Than Run Stoppers
Defensive ends and blitzers tend to be associated with the sack, but the Sooner interior has played a role in that statistic too. OU's four-man defensive tackle rotation enters 2008 with a combined total of 9.5 career sacks.

Slackers? Not These Opponents
The 2007 Sooners played some of the nation's most potent offenses ...
• North Texas: No. 18 nationally in passing offense.
• Tulsa: No. 1 in total offense, No. 3 in passing offense, No. 4 in passing efficiency, No. 6 in scoring offense.
• Texas: No. 13 in total offense, No. 14 in scoring offense, No. 17 in rushing offense.
• Texas A&M: No. 13 in rushing offense, No. 22 in sacks allowed.
• Texas Tech: No. 1 in passing offense, No. 2 in total offense, No. 5 in passing efficiency, No. 7 in scoring offense, No. 17 in sacks allowed.
• Oklahoma State: No. 3 in sacks allowed, No. 8 in rushing offense, No. 7 in total offense, No. 15 in passing efficiency.
• Missouri: No. 5 in total offense, No. 9 in passing, No. 8 in scoring offense, No. 13 in passing efficiency.
• West Virginia: No. 2 in sacks allowed, No. 3 in rushing offense, No. 9 in scoring offense.

  About the Special Teams

Oklahoma's special teams under Bob Stoops...
• There have been 25 special teams TDs, including 19 in the last 64 regular season games. Those 19 came via five different kinds of plays -- 10 punt returns, two faked field goals, two blocked punts, four kickoff returns and a faked punt. Special teams also own one safety in that span.
• In total, OU has returned eight kickoffs and 14 punts for touchdowns on Stoops' watch (since 1999).
• The Sooners have blocked 21 kicks.

Many Happy Returns
Information on returns during the Stoops era ...
• Kickoff Returns --76 returns of 25 yards or more with eight TD.
• Punt Returns -- 48 returns of 15 or more yards with 14 TD.
• Interception Returns -- 69 returns of 10 or more yards with 20 TD.
• Fumble Returns -- four returns of 15 or more yards with five TD.

Oklahoma Led Nation in Kickoff Returns
Oklahoma's kickoff returns led the nation for 2007 with an average of 28.27 yards per return ...
• The Sooners had 19 kickoff returns that covered at least 30 yards.
• Four different players had a return of more than 35 yards.
• All five players who returned kicks last season averaged at least 24 yards.
• DeMarco Murray ran 81 yards for a touchdown against Tulsa on the second kickoff return of his college career. His first came earlier in that same game. He then went for 91 yards and a touchdown against Baylor.

Knall Emerges at Punter
Mike Knall started last season as the backup punter, but won the starting job in the 10th game (vs. Baylor) and held it for the remainder of the season. Prior to that time he had been used mostly in short-yardage situations as the pooch punter ...
• Finished the season with 24 punts for an average of 43.7. He unleashed a 66-yarder, the longest of the season for OU, against Missouri in the Big 12 Championship game.
• In his five starting assignments, he averaged 42.2 yards per punt and was under 40 yards in just one game (39.5 vs. Baylor).
• His best game was the Missouri tilt with four punts for a 49.5-yard average.

Freshman Kicker
Redshirt freshman Jimmy Stevens takes over as the team's placekicker. He'll be the first freshman to tackle that chore since Garrett Hartley did so in the Baylor game of 2004 (Nov. 20).

Hold It
WR Carter Whitson, a walk-on, takes over as the team's holder. The sophomore played most of his high school career at Shawnee, Okla., before spending his senior season at Broken Arrow HS. He was a quarterback during his prep days. Whitson was the holder at Shawnee during his sophomore season.
• With redshirt freshman Jimmy Stevens at kicker, Whitson at holder and Ben Hampton as the long snapper, all three ball-handlers on placements are new this season. Hampton held at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M junior college for two seasons before transferring to Oklahoma. Derek Shaw, the holder the last two seasons, is recovering from an off-season injury.
• Back-up snapper James Winchester, a freshman, is the son of former Sooner Mike Winchester, who lettered as a punter from 1984-86. Carolyn Winchester, a senior member of the OU women's basketball team, is James' sister. 

  Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops

Coach Stoops
History is one tough customer at Oklahoma. The tradition, so rich and so long-standing, is as daunting as it is impressive. To be among the best at Oklahoma is to be among the best in college football.
Such dramatics are lost on Bob Stoops. The Sooner head coach befriended the would-be albatross of OU's successful past from his first day on campus and remains steadfastly focused on tomorrow and the championship it holds.
It falls then to the observers and experts of the game to define Stoops' impact. Rarely have the pundits had it so easy.
Under Stoops, Oklahoma has won 87 games (86-19), spent 69 consecutive weeks in the national rankings, played in seven bowl games, four of the BCS variety, and captured three Big 12 crowns. His 2000 team won the national championship. On a playing field leveled by scholarship limits and parity, this era stares down the Oklahoma standard and does not blink.
The achievement dulls the memory of what Stoops inherited. When he arrived in Norman, the proud Sooner program was five years removed from a winning record, four from bowl play. Those atypical days of angst are so forgotten now that they might as well be mentioned with the land rush and dust bowl.
Stoops has been characterized as a grounded family man, brilliant big-game coach, relentless recruiter, disciplined leader and a person with uncommon perspective. His success emanates from a disciplined style true to his roots in the Steel Valley of Ohio, but he is far from inflexible. The principles to which he holds are the tried and true axioms of the sport ... mixed with cutting edge strategy and an appreciation for the calculated risk.
During his time, OU has produced record-setting passers and receivers, three 1,000-yard rushers, suffocating defense and special teams units that rank among the most dynamic in the land. Every facet has been impacted.
His players have snagged 16 national awards, including the 2003 Heisman Trophy won by Jason White. There have been 58 academic honorees, 53 All-Big 12 players, 22 All-Americans and 32 NFL draft choices.
Stoops has won a total of 10 national coach of the year awards and has been Big 12 Coach of the year in three of his six campaigns in Norman. This is one of the finest coaches in the history of one of college football's most storied traditions.

The son of a coach, Stoops was a four-year starter at Iowa. He began his coaching career in 1983 as a volunteer in the Hawkeye program under Hayden Fry. He worked through the ranks until he became co-defensive coordinator at Kansas State (1991-95) during Bill Snyder's rein.

With the Wildcats, he played a key role in an impressive turnaround. During his final four seasons there, K-State was 35-12 with three bowl appearances. Eventually, he left for Florida and a three-year stint as Steve Spurrier's defensive coordinator. In 1996, he was part of a national championship team. It was with the Gators that the spotlight found Stoops and made him one of the hottest names in the profession.

Stoops, who was born Sept. 9, 1960, in Youngstown, Ohio, graduated from Iowa in 1983 with a degree in marketing. He and his wife, Carol, have three children: daughter, Mackenzie, and twin sons, Drake and Isaac.
OU Head Coach Bob Stoops | OU Coaching Staff
  Notes on the Sooners

DT Cory Bennett: Leads the defensive tackles in games played with 38.

LB Austin Box: Underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee during preseason drills and is expected to miss the opener.

QB Sam Bradford: See notes on offense's page.

OT Branndon Braxton: Probable starter at right tackle, but also spent part of the preseason working at guard ... from the same hometown as Bob Stoops -- Youngstown, Ohio.

RB Chris Brown: Outstanding in short yardage situations -- had 17 rushes last season on third-and-short which resulted in 14 first downs and two touchdowns.

WR Quentin Chaney: Over Oklahoma's last two bowl games, he has a combined eight receptions for 166 yards and two touchdowns.

FB Matt Clapp: A player to watch after a very good redshirt season ... in the best condition of his playing career.

LB Keenan Clayton: Has converted from strong safety to strong side linebacker.

C Jon Cooper: His 29 career starts lead the team.

TE Brody Eldridge: All-Big 12 fullback last season despite the fact that he had no carries.

DE Auston English: Had 13 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks last season despite missing three games.

CB Dominique Franks: Made his lone career start in last season's Fiesta Bowl.

DT DeMarcus Granger: Led OU's defensive tackles with 3.5 sacks last season..

TE Jermaine Gresham: His 11 TD receptions last season were the most ever by a Sooner tight end.

QB Joey Halzle: Hit 21-of-41 for 291 yards in a back-up role at Texas Tech last season.

DB Nic Harris: Six career interceptions and 15 deflections.

DB Lendy Holmes: Worked at both safety and corner during the August drills before settling on the former.

WR Juaquin Iglesias: Has 3,015 career all purpose yards on 185 plays for an average of 16.3 yards per touch.

WR Manuel Johnson: Only current Sooner receiver who has a career reception, rush and pass completion.

P Mike Knall: Was one punt shy of the 25 punts necessary to count officially, but had it counted, his 43.7-yard average would have rated as the second-best in school history.

OT Phil Loadholt: Thirteen pounds lighter than last season -- 350 to 337.

RB Mossis Madu: Will play more this season, but impressed in 2007 with 5.8-yard rushing average.

DT Gerald McCoy: Quick tackle looking to parlay Freshman All-America status into more national honors.

RB DeMarco Murray: Scored 15 touchdowns last season to tie Adrian Peterson's OU freshman record.

LB Ryan Reynolds: Only one of the three Sooner linebackers who has a previous start at the position at OU.

OG Duke Robinson: Consensus All-American last season.

OG Brandon Walker: Had the highest overall grade of all OU offensive lineman last season (80%).

OT Trent Williams: Has shared the right tackle spot with Branndon Braxton over the last two years.



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