Sooners Upend Cyclones

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
OCTOBER 18, 2002

NORMAN, Okla. - Oklahoma delivered a brutal blow of reality to Iowa State.

Quentin Griffin and Kejuan Jones each ran for two touchdown and No. 2 Oklahoma dealt a setback to Seneca Wallace's Heisman Trophy hopes in beating the ninth-ranked Cyclones 49-3 Saturday.

Oklahoma (7-0, 3-0 Big 12) outgained Iowa State 225-4 in building a 35-0 halftime lead against a team that had been averaging 432 yards and 39 points a game.

"It never seemed it would end," Iowa State coach Dan McCarney said. "We could never get in synch. We couldn't get any first downs. We couldn't get our defense off the field."

Iowa State (6-2, 3-1), in the top 10 for the first time, had been enjoying a dream season until running into a quick, swarming Oklahoma defense that frustrated the Cyclones at every turn on a dreary, rainy afternoon.

A victory would have vaulted the upstart Cyclones into the national championship picture. Instead, they fell to 1-35-1 against Oklahoma since 1962 and are now 0-47-2 against teams ranked in the top 5.

Oklahoma set the tone by blocking a punt for a touchdown on the game's fourth play and kept Wallace from making the kind of big plays that had sparked the Cyclones all season. The Sooners were so tough to crack that Iowa State couldn't score after recovering a fumble at the Sooners' 1-yard line late in the first half.

"We just got on him from the first play of game to the last play," Oklahoma linebacker Teddy Lehman. "We made it a point to not let him many any highlight runs on us."

Wallace, who had emerged as a leading contender for the Heisman with his sharp passing and elusive running, had trouble with the wet football, bouncing throws short of his receivers and overthrowing them on other plays.

Though he often had plenty of time to throw, Wallace didn't complete his second pass until the 13:00 mark in the third quarter and finished 4-of-22 for 43 yards and three interceptions.

In a miserable first half, Wallace was 1-for-12 for zero yards and two interceptions. Those numbers won't help his Heisman hopes, but Wallace said he didn't care.

"I don't give a hoot about the Heisman," he said. "If it damages it, it damages it. Who cares? Move on to the next game."

Iowa State wound up with 60 total yards, the fourth lowest total in school history and the fewest since getting 53 in a 44-0 loss to Nebraska in 1984.

With Wallace and the offense struggling, Oklahoma had excellent field position and took advantage. Nate Hybl bounced back from his four interceptions against Texas a week ago with a solid performance and Griffin and Jones wore down the Cyclones with their power running.

"We just may be hitting our stride at the right time," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. "I hope that's the case. I know we have a lot confidence right now."

Griffin carried 23 times for 111 yards and scored on first-half runs of 15 and 4 yards. On his first touchdown, the 5-foot-7 senior squirted out of a mass of bodies in the middle the field, slipped Ellis Hobbs' attempted tackle at the 7 and dove into the end zone to make it 14-0.

Jones added 86 yards on 25 carries and scored on a pair of 1-yard runs. Hybl was 14-of-24 for 168 yards with no interceptions and a 22-yard touchdown toss to Brandon Jones, who made a leaping catch between two defenders at the goal line for a 42-3 lead.

Things went so well for Oklahoma - and so badly for Iowa State - that when Derrick Strait fumbled after making a leaping interception off Wallace, teammate Tommie Harris recovered at the Iowa State 20.

Four plays later, after Griffin broke three tackles on a 13-yard run, Jones bulled in from the 1 to make it 35-0 with 7:11 left in the half.

"Looking at the stat sheet, it just looks like total domination by our defense. But I don't want to understate how well our offense played today," said Hybl, who was rubbing his red, swollen nose, the result of a hit from an Iowa State defense. "We executed about every facet."

Strait set up Oklahoma's first touchdown when he raced in from the left side to block Tony Yelk's punt less than minute into the game. The ball rolled into the end zone and was on its end spinning when Iowa State's Anthony Forrest ran toward it.

But instead of kicking it out of the end zone or falling on it for a safety, he ran right past it and Oklahoma's Terrance Sims dove on the ball for a touchdown.

"I should have just fell on the ball," Forrest said. "I thought about batting it out of the end zone, but I didn't know how close the defense was pursuing me."

The play touched off an early celebration by the Sooners. There would be many more.

"It was an incredible defensive game against a tremendous player," Stoops said. "We still believe Seneca Wallace is a guy who deserves all of the Heisman attention he has gotten. We approached this game as we needed to play at our level best to do the best we could."




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