Sooners Thump Cincinnati, 52-26
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- For a kid who grew up practically in the shadows of Owen Field, Ryan Broyles ' chance to play for Oklahoma seemed to be a long time coming.
It turned out to be well worth the wait.
Broyles set an Oklahoma freshman record with 141 receiving yards, Jermaine Gresham caught two of Sam Bradford 's five touchdown passes and the fourth-ranked Sooners extended the nation's longest home winning streak to 20 games with a 52-26 victory against Cincinnati on Saturday.
Broyles went to Norman High School but kept flip-flopping between whether to play for the Sooners or their in-state rival, Oklahoma State. His decision didn't come until signing day, and even then he hadn't cleared the final roadblock to play in crimson and cream.
He was arrested for stealing gas from a Norman gas station the day before Oklahoma's season opener last year, eventually pleading no contest, and took a redshirt behind a loaded group of receivers.
Then his debut was delayed another week when he was suspended for last week's season opener against Chattanooga.
''Just growing up in Norman and seeing how big everything is around here, and now finally getting a chance to play, it's a great feeling,'' Broyles said.
Broyles had a 27-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter and extended a key second-half drive with a leaping 43-yard catch to allow the Sooners (2-0) to start pulling away with 24 consecutive points. His receiving total was the most by any Sooners player in his debut and surpassed Tinker Owens' record of 132 receiving yards by a freshman.
''I just don't let it get to my head really. This is the first game I've been out there, so I think I have a lot to prove,'' Broyles said.
Oklahoma's home winning streak, which started after TCU snapped the Sooners' 19-game stretch in the 2005 opener, is the third-longest in school history and the first that long since a 20-game stretch that lasted from 1976 to 1980.
Bradford overcame only the second multiple-interception game of his career to throw for a career-best 395 yards and five touchdowns, the third time he's reached that mark and also tying the school record held by 2003 Heisman Trophy winner Jason White and 2000 Heisman runner-up Josh Heupel.
He was glad to have Broyles on the field on a crucial third-and-9 play with the Sooners leading only 28-20 in the third quarter. Bradford lofted a lob deep down the right sideline, and Broyles jumped to take it away from two defenders for a 43-yard catch.
''I want to thank him for that, for bailing me out, because if that was incomplete I was going to get an earful coming to the sideline,'' said Bradford, whose only other two-interception game was in last season's upset loss at Colorado. ''That's just a great play.''
Four plays later, Bradford extended the drive again with a successful sneak on fourth-and-inches, and DeMarco Murray finished the drive by going untouched up the middle for an 11-yard TD run.
Then things started falling apart for Cincinnati (1-1), which was bidding for its first win against a top five opponent.
First, Bearcats coach Brian Kelly 's bag of tricks backfired and then he lost his quarterback.
Kelly had already run a botched wide receiver pass and a failed Statue of Liberty play - reminiscent of Boise State's Fiesta Bowl win in 2007 against Oklahoma - near the goal line and when J.R. Bryant jumped to bat down punter Kevin Huber 's pass on a fake.
Bradford hit Gresham across the middle on the next play, and the 6-foot-6 tight end bullied through a defender on his way in for a 23-yard score and a 42-20 Oklahoma lead.
Two drives later, quarterback Dustin Grutza had to be wheeled off the field on a cart after his right leg was broken at the bottom of a pile of Oklahoma players following a sack.
Cincinnati receiver Mardy Gilyard said officials apparently didn't see Oklahoma players twisting and rolling on Grutza's ankle after linebacker Travis Lewis and defensive linemen Cory Bennett and Jeremy Beal .
''I watched it all happen. It was really hard to watch our quarterback go down and get hurt,'' Gilyard said.
Grutza went 19-for-29 for 218 yards, throwing for one touchdown and running for another on a 1-yard sneak - both set up by interceptions. He also had one interception, ending a promising Bearcats drive on first-and-goal from the 6-yard line.
Grutza is expected to miss at least four weeks.
The highlight of the game for Cincinnati was Mardy Gilyard, who broke the school record with 365 all-purpose yards, including a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown that snapped one of the longest runback droughts in college football.
The last score by the Bearcats on a kickoff return came in 1995, and only two schools had gone longer than Cincinnati's 145 games without one. Gilyard also had 119 yards receiving on seven first-half catches.
He still got overshadowed by Broyles, who caught a 27-yard pass on his sixth collegiate play and a 31-yard TD pass on the next play.
The key now is to stay away from perils that will keep him from getting back on the field.
''It's just like a lot of young guys have to learn, and he is, and he's doing a lot of good things in a lot of areas,'' Sooners coach Bob Stoops said. ''It just needs to keep happening.''
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Boomer Bytes | View Main
Updated each weekday morning and following games, Boomer Bytes is your quick guide to Sooners in the news:
• Gary Parrish of CBS: "...this Oklahoma offense is something serious -- a fast-paced, no-huddle attack that might go down as the best OU offense in history, which is saying something considering OU has a ton of history. The Sooners have won seven national titles, 41 league titles and 24 bowl games. They've had an NCAA-best 30 10-win seasons to go with 144 All-Americans and four Heisman Trophy winners."
• From ESPN: "It was over when... Sam Bradford hit Ryan Broyles for a 27-yard TD on the Sooners' seventh play from scrimmage and just 1:42 into the game. Gameball goes to... Sam Bradford: Put his name in the Heisman talk throwing for 395 yards and five touchdowns."
• Dave Sittler of the Tulsa World: "The most impressive aspect of Broyles' standout performance was that it demonstrated an already loaded OU offense has another weapon for its new, no-huddle spread offense that has now scored 57 and 52 points in its first two games."
• The Cincinnati Enquirer: "It was an jaw-dropping performance by an Oklahoma team that has designs on winning the national championship and left its head coach Bob Stoops beaming with possibility. "I am really pleased," Stoops said. "I meant what I said all week."
• From the New York Times: "During each of its last three seasons, Oklahoma has suffered stunning September losses. But with a 52-26 victory against Cincinnati here Saturday, the No. 4 Sooners conquered what could be their toughest September challenge."
• From Brian Bennett of ESPN: "Of course, Oklahoma always dominates at home, where it's now 56-2 under Stoops. And it's too early to get overly excited about anybody. Stoops cautioned a reporter who asked if this year's bunch resembled the 2003 team, which scored the most points in Oklahoma history and went 12-2, losing in the BCS title game."
• Olin Buchanon of Rivals: "...what underscored the impact of OU's offense is that it dictated what Cincinnati's offense would do. That's right, Cincinnati's offense. Keep in mind, the Bearcats are not chopped liver. Cincinnati finished 10-3 last season with victories over teams like Rutgers, Connecticut and South Florida."
• Berry Tramel of the Oklahoman: "All of which makes the Sooners' 52-26 rout at Owen Field even more impressive. The exhibition nature of last week was nowhere to be found. This was a legit foe. For a half, it was a legit game, 21-13. Then the Sooners kicked into high gear. A gear that looked an awfully lot like 2003."
• John Shinn of the Norman Transcript: "The Sooners moved the ball at will against what's expected to be one of the best defenses in the Big East. Sam Bradford threw for a career-high 395 yards with five touchdown passes going to four different receivers. Wide out Ryan Broyles made one of the most memorable debuts..."
• Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News: "Oklahoma needed a full game to hang half a hundred this time. Don't be deceived by numbers. Saturday's 52-26 win over Cincinnati was even more impressive than the shellacking of overmatched Chattanooga in the opener."
• Guerin Emig of the Tulsa World: "Bradford had never thrown like he did against the Bearcats. He set career highs with 29 completions, 38 attempts and 395 yards. He tied another career mark with five touchdown passes. No Sooner has ever thrown more TD passes in a game..."
• From the Cincinnati Enquirer: "In the opening minutes, this game resembled one of those UC games from a bygone era when the Bearcats would travel to places like this to offer themselves up as sacrificial lambs in return for a big financial payoff. The Sooners scored on their first two possessions without much resistance from the UC defense, driving 88 yards in seven plays..."
• From the Tulsa World: "But Oklahoma's offense was relentless, and the defense clamped down. Cincinnati's only second-half points came on a kickoff return for a touchdown and a last-minute drive that ended with a TD on the game's final play. The Sooners scored on their first five second-half possessions."
• Bruce Campbell of the Enid News & Eagle: "Austin Box got to realize a lifetime dream just before 6 p.m. Saturday. That's when the Enid redshirt freshman got to see his first action at weakside linebacker for the Oklahoma Sooners in a 52-26 rout of Cincinnati. Box came in with 4:05 remaining in the game."
• Jake Trotter of the Oklahoman: "It didn't take long for Broyles to prove he's going to be an integral piece of what already was a multi-pronged attack. On OU's opening drive, Broyles caught a quick out pass out of an empty formation, then outran the nearest defender for a 31-yard play."
• John Shinn of the Norman Transcript: "The fake punt, according to the Cincinnati coach, was an act of desperation. OU had just gone up 35-20 a couple plays earlier and a three-and-out would have given the Sooners momentum he didn't believe his team could overcome."
• From the Dallas Morning News: "The turning point will likely be a fake punt attempt by Cincinnati at the Oklahoma 23. The pass was batted down and Bradford found tight end Jermaine Gresham on the next play for a touchdown and a 22-point lead."
• Brian Bennett of ESPN: "Kelly's defense, which is supposed to be one of the best in the Big East, gave up 592 yards. He credited Oklahoma's superior skill. "They resemble a championship football team," Kelly said. "They have that championship demeanor to them."
• Guerin Emig of the Tulsa World: "Oklahoma fought Cincinnati's no-huddle offense by keeping its defensive personnel on the field, regardless of the down and distance. That meant linebacker Keenan Clayton was really a receiver-covering safety, and defensive end Jeremy Beal was like a stand-up blitzing linebacker..."