Nov 3, 2001
By OWEN CANFIELD
AP Sports Writer
NORMAN, Okla. - Any letdown from Oklahoma's first loss in two seasons didn't last long. Not against Tulsa.
The third-ranked Sooners took a while to find the end zone, then spent most of the day there in a 58-0 victory Saturday.
Quentin Griffin scored four touchdowns, Nate Hybl threw for 347 yards in his return to the starting lineup and Oklahoma gained 541 yards one week after a loss to Nebraska that snapped the Sooners' 20-game winning streak.
The loss dropped Oklahoma from first to second in the Bowl Championship Series ratings, which determine the teams that will play for the national title.
"Let's face it, the electricity isn't maybe what it was at Nebraska," said Bob Stoops, whose team played in front of some empty seats for the first time in his 16 home games as coach.
"But what I liked is our team's maturity in knowing regardless of who we're playing, when we're playing or where, you need to play well, take care of business, be smart and play hard, and we did that."
The Sooners (8-1) had only three points after the first quarter and didn't score a touchdown until midway through the second. That started a run in which they scored TDs on five straight possessions - four of them by Griffin.
It wasn't all that surprising, given the opponent. Tulsa (1-7) has lost seven in a row, and last week gave up 746 yards and 63 points to a San Jose State team that had won only one game.
"Tulsa's a team that's going through some difficulties, we understand that," Stoops said. "But still it's good to build on this."
Tulsa had to punt a dozen times, often setting Oklahoma up with good field position. Brandon Jones did his part to help the Sooners in that regard, returning seven punts for 150 yards - including returns of 56 and 28 yards.
Oklahoma's defense held Tulsa in check all day - the Golden Hurricane had 138 yards and crossed midfield just twice.
"As a fan of defense, they're the best defense I've seen in a long, long time," coach Keith Burns said. "When plays are designed to go for 5 or 6 yards and they go for 1 or 2, you know you've got something really special."
Hybl, who started the first six games before being dislodged by Jason White, got the start because White injured his left knee against Nebraska. Hybl completed his first 10 passes and finished 36-of-48 with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Most of his completions came on quick, short throws, although he threw downfield more often in the second half.
Griffin scored on a pair of 7-yard runs in the second quarter, when Oklahoma scored 17 points to take a 20-0 halftime lead. An interception by safety Roy Williams early in the third quarter gave the Sooners the ball at Tulsa's 25, and two plays later Griffin scored from 11 yards out.
His fourth TD came on an 18-yard catch. Hybl dumped him the ball under duress, and Griffin darted up the middle of the field to the end zone.
Hybl threw a 13-yard scoring pass to Josh Norman on Oklahoma's next possession, then watched the final quarter from the sideline.
"I had a goal of going out and showing my confidence to my teammates," Hybl said. "I wanted that to reflect on them and I'm happy that things went the way they did."
Griffin had 90 yards on 11 carries, and caught eight passes for 72 yards. Tight end Trent Smith had 104 yards on nine receptions.
The 58 points were the most for Oklahoma since scoring 63 against Texas in October of last year, a span of 18 games.
Saturday's game originally was scheduled for Sept. 15, but was postponed because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.