Oklahoma Routs Nebraska, 62-28
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- From the moment Nebraska lined up, Oklahoma cornerback Dominique Franks knew exactly what was coming.
By the time he and his Sooners teammates were done with their dominating start, the Cornhuskers didn't know what hit them.
Sam Bradford threw for 311 yards and five touchdowns and No. 4 Oklahoma capitalized on three disastrous Nebraska pass plays in the opening minutes Saturday night to the beat the Huskers 62-28.
The Sooners scoring outburst was their biggest in the history of the storied rivalry.
''We just really came out firing, really with everybody,'' Sooners coach Bob Stoops said. ''I thought our guys really were focused in and came out and couldn't have executed much better in all parts of the game. ... It's a good way to start a big game.''
It was the kind of start that would make Nebraska fans long for the power-running days of the past, and the stars of the Cornhuskers' ''Game of the Century'' win in 1971 just happened to be on hand for a reunion.
This game was hardly another classic in a rivalry full of them.
Franks intercepted Joe Ganz 's first pass attempt and returned it 18 yards for a touchdown, and the Huskers (5-4, 2-3 Big 12) also had turnovers on each of their next two passes as the Sooners (8-1, 4-1) raced to a 28-0 lead in the first 5 1/2 minutes.
''I've been in a lot of games. I've seen it happen,'' Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said. ''The snowball started rolling on us, and we didn't do anything to get it stopped.''
Oklahoma had never scored more than 55 points in 83 previous meetings with Nebraska dating back to 1912, but got more than halfway to that total in less than half a quarter.
Chris Brown got it started by capping a seven-play, 53-yard opening drive with a 2-yard touchdown run and only 4 seconds ticked off the clock before Franks, a cornerback, stepped in front of Ganz's screen pass behind the line of scrimmage and took it in for another score.
Franks said the Huskers had a ''real big tendency'' to run the screen play out of that single-back, two wide receiver formation and he'd imagined making that kind of interception in days leading up to the game.
''I just jumped it,'' Franks said. ''I got a chance and I just made a play.''
Dreu Young then fumbled after catching Ganz's second pass, and Oklahoma cashed in three plays later with a 48-yard TD from Bradford to Quentin Chaney .
Then coincidence turned into absurdity. I-back Marlon Lucky reached up to deflect Ganz's next pass high into the air, and Lendy Holmes picked it off and returned it 26 yards. Bradford made it 28-0 on the next play by zipping a 9-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Gresham , and there was still 9:27 left to play in the first quarter.
By that point, Nebraska had run five offensive plays and committed three turnovers.
''You can get all over somebody pretty quick and jump on them. It's big obviously,'' defensive coordinator Brent Venables said. ''It gets them on their heels. It creates momentum, it creates points. It gets things a lot more comfortable out of the gate.''
Pelini, a former defensive coordinator under Stoops and at Nebraska and LSU, took the blame for a ''lousy'' defensive performance and didn't allow his players to speak to reporters after the game.
''I'm responsible for what happened out there,'' Pelini said. ''I'm the voice of this team. I told our guys, 'Oklahoma's over. We're moving on.'''
Brown tacked on a 1-yard TD catch on the final offensive play of the first quarter, giving Oklahoma a 35-0 lead. It was the first time Nebraska had ever given up more than 28 points in any quarter.
''We didn't expect it, but at the same time we were just ready to play,'' Holmes said. ''We knew this was a rival game. You can't be relaxing out there and just playing. You've got to play hard because you know they're going to come out here and play hard.''
Bradford went 19-for-27 and cleared 300 yards passing for the seventh time this season. It was the sixth time he tied the school record with five touchdown passes in a game.
DeMarco Murray had two short touchdown runs and caught a 25-yard TD pass to tie Adrian Peterson 's record for the most scores by a Sooners player in his first two seasons with 29.
After letting Kansas State come back from a 28-7 lead to tie the game in the first half last week, the Sooners led by at least 28 for the final 50 minutes of the game.
''We saw last week how scores can change,'' Murray said. ''We've just got to keep putting the pedal down and keep trying to stay focused.''
Backup I-back Roy Helu ran 16 times for 157 yards and a touchdown for Nebraska, but all after the Huskers fell behind 35-0. Ganz finished 14-for-26 for 206 yards with one touchdown pass and the two early picks.
''Obviously, that wasn't what we wanted and it hurts,'' Pelini said. ''The reality of it is if you coach in this game long enough, you play in this game long enough, you're going to face situations like this. Nobody likes it, but you have to move on,''
Oklahoma defensive end Auston English , the Big 12 preseason defensive player of the year, was helped off the field in the third quarter and did not return after trainers taped up his leg. Sooners receiver Manuel Johnson , who'd missed last week's game at Kansas State after dislocating his left elbow, played only the opening series.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Boomer Bytes | View Main
Updated each weekday morning and following games, Boomer Bytes is your quick guide to Sooners in the news:
John Hoover of the Tulsa World: "The temptation may have been there for Oklahoma to turn one eye to Lubbock, Texas. Instead, the Sooners set their full attention on Nebraska. Poor Nebraska. OU embarrassed the Cornhuskers..."
Berry Tramel of the Oklahoman: "From outside the Red Room came the roar. It came from down the hallway, from Sooner gladiators gathered around an equipment room, after their 62-28 dismantling of Nebraska..."
John Shinn of the Norman Transcript: "No. 4 OU blasted Nebraska 62-28 behind a first-quarter blitzkrieg never before seen in the historic rivalry. A little more than 5 minutes into the game, the Sooners led 28-0. Nebraska..."
From the Omaha World-Herald: "Coach Bo Pelini did not allow Nebraska's assistant coaches and players to do interviews with members of the news media after the Huskers were blown out 62-28 by No. 4 Oklahoma Saturday night..."
Mike Jones of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: "Off to a first-drive scoring march and boosted by three quickly caused defensive turnovers, OU rolled to a 49-14 halftime lead -- as a packed house also cheered the early news..."
From the Lincoln Journal Star: "As Pelini spoke to reporters late Saturday night, thousands of Oklahoma fans remained in the stadium to watch TV monitors that showed Texas Tech upsetting top-ranked Texas. You can guess which team..."
From the Grand Island Independent: "Apparently when former coaching legend Barry Switzer tells this year's Sooners squad to "go out and hang half a hundred," they think it means to get the job done in the first half. One week..."
From the Omaha World-Herald: "Oklahoma's 62 points were the Sooners' most ever against Nebraska, topping the 55 points in a 55-7 whipping in 1954. Go back through all the painful NU losses of recent seasons and you would find..."
From the Lincoln Journal Star: "But I have no problem believing if these teams played here another five times, the message the Sooners would deliver would be the same: "You're not ready for us."
From the Grand Island Independent: "The 35 points allowed by Nebraska in the first quarter of Saturday's game is the most ever allowed in a quarter by Nebraska. The previous record was 28 points on three occasions..."
Clay Horning of the Norman Transcript: "You have to like the Sooners' position, even if there's no way on Earth to determine what it might be. Or, put another way, welcome to the craziest college football season since last season..."
From the Grand Island Independent: "It was a beautiful early-November evening Saturday in Norman, Okla., but things turned ugly in a hurry for Nebraska and coach Bo Pelini. The No. 4-ranked Sooners took advantage of three..."
From the Lincoln Journal Star: "Nebraska was out-talented, outcoached and outplayed. Any other questions? Certainly none for Nebraska players, who were made off-limits for postgame interviews. "I'm not talking about it..."
John Helsley of the Oklahoman: "That quick. That decisive. Franks flipped all momentum OU's way with his Pick 6 - a full-speed-the-other-way interception of a Joe Ganz screen pass - zipping 19 yards to the score. "Dom Franks..."
From the Grand Island Independent: "Bradford pilfered Nebraska for 311 passing yards and five touchdowns by that point. And OU rolled up 508 yards of total offense, which would've been much higher had it not shut it down..."
From the Lincoln Journal Star: "It was late in the second quarter Saturday night when ESPN cameras found Tom Osborne and Barry Switzer along the sideline. The sight of those two legends in the same area code still elicits goose bumps..."
From the Grand Island Independent: "Adding to the surreal atmosphere outside Nebraska's locker room was a horde of Oklahoma fans who were sticking around to watch TV screens showing the conclusion of the key..."