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Oklahoma QB Savors Win, Good Health
September 07, 2003

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Oklahoma got the victory, and Jason White got to finish the game.

White, the hard-luck quarterback of the top-ranked Sooners, enjoyed the feeling of being around at end of Saturday night's 20-13 win over Alabama -- especially after leaving last year's game with his second straight season-ending knee injury.

"Everyone knows over the last couple of years I hadn't made it past my second start at quarterback," White said. "So it feels really good to survive this game without an injury."

Survive is just what the Sooners (2-0) did, using big plays by White, a fake punt and two interceptions to deny an Alabama team sensing an upset.

The Crimson Tide (1-1) had never faced a No. 1 team at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Alabama got a reminder of what a top-ranked team looked like. The Tide hasn't been No. 1 in the regular season since 1980, two years before Bear Bryant retired.

"They're No. 1 for a reason," first-year Alabama coach Mike Shula said. "We found that out tonight."

White's performance proved the Sooners have more than just a great defense. He was 21-of-35 for 259 yards and two touchdowns.

"Jason's operating in a great way right now, managing the offense and throwing the football," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said.

White deflected the credit.

"It started with the offensive line," he said. "They gave me great protection and I had all night to throw. Plus, my receivers caught everything I threw at them."

Stoops' gutsy playcalling and White's clutch passing helped save the Sooners from a potential loss.

Alabama closed within 13-10 on Brodie Croyle's 20-yard touchdown pass to Triandos Luke with 6:53 left in the third quarter.

Oklahoma's next drive appeared stalled, but punter Blake Ferguson's 22-yard pass on a fake gave Oklahoma some momentum, and White quickly followed with a 46-yard touchdown pass to Mark Clayton.

The Tide couldn't match the big plays.

"I think it was an evenly matched game," Alabama linebacker Demeco Ryans said. "It was just their team made big plays at the right time."

The Sooners finished with 355 total yards despite gaining just 74 on the ground.

"We knew coming in here would be hard, and we know we have a long way to go," said Oklahoma receiver Brandon Jones, who caught a 47-yard touchdown pass. "But we learned how to take control of the ball and how to take control of the offense.

"We didn't make stupid turnovers or stupid penalties."
 

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