Sept. 30, 2000

  • By THOMAS MULLEN
    Associated Press Writer

    NORMAN, Okla. (AP) - Oklahoma took full advantage of Kansas' mistakes.

    Kansas turned the ball over seven times, six of them leading to Oklahoma scores, as the No. 14 Sooners beat the Jayhawks 34-16 on Saturday.

    Oklahoma (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) trailed 16-10 early in the second quarter, but Kansas (2-2, 0-1) self-destructed and did not score again.

    Kansas's Dylen Smith threw five interceptions, three of them to J.T. Thatcher. Smith also fumbled once.

    "Obviously the turnovers were our demise," Kansas coach Terry Allen said.

    "We thought we had to put some points on the board offensively because we knew defensively - even as well as we could play - with (Oklahoma quarterback Josh) Heupel back there they were going to get theirs."

    Kansas came into the game allowing a nation-best 84 yards passing per game, but Heupel threw for 346 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for a score and led the Sooners to two third-quarter scores, including a 22-yard touchdown pass to Andre Woolfolk with 3:59 left in the quarter that put Oklahoma up 34-16.

    While Heupel soared, Smith suffered.

    He was sacked six times - his first sacks of the season - and was off-the-mark on several long passes.

    With a first-and-10 at the Kansas 42 and the Jayhawks down 24-16 in the third quarter, Smith had Harrison Hill wide-open on a streak toward the end zone, but threw the pass just out of reach.

    "We had some chances and even at a stage when we had five turnovers if we don't overthrow a guy who's wide-open in the end zone we've got a chance to tie the game in the third quarter," Allen said. "But we did not do that. So consequently we got beat."

    Oklahoma led 24-16 at halftime after receiver Antwone Savage took a handoff from running back Quentin Griffin and ran 40 yards around the left end for a TD with 2:50 left in the second quarter.

    "We worked through that all week," Savage said. "We knew that Quentin (Griffin) was going to run around the corner and they were going to key on him."

    The Sooners were efficient in the first half, gaining 232 yards and scoring when they had to.

    But it was the Kansas offense that was surprisingly slick, racking up 284 yards before halftime. It faltered in the second half, managing just 93 yards.

    "You can keep up with total yards or this or that all you want, but the biggest statistic to me is your turnover ratio," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. "If you win that battle, you're usually going to come out on the better side of things."

    Smith had 216 yards by halftime and burned the Sooners on several long passes, including a 77-yard TD pass to Hill that put Kansas up 6-3 early in the first quarter. Joe Garcia missed the extra point.

    After an 80-yard Sooner drive ended with a 1-yard Heupel dive that put OU up 10-6, Kansas swapped fruitless drives with the Sooners before Kansas' David Winbush ran through a huge hole in the middle of the field for a 29-yard touchdown run that put Kansas up 13-10 with 3:05 left in the first quarter.

    On the next Kansas series, a punting situation at the Sooners' 37 became a field goal try after a 5-yard penalty on Oklahoma for tying to draw a false start. Garcia made the 49-yarder to give Kansas a 16-10 lead.

    Kansas had the ball three more times in the first half, but its drives ended on an interception, a fumble and a punt.

    Oklahoma scored on two of its final three first-half possessions with a 13-yard TD run by Griffin and Savage's reverse TD.

    Tim Duncan kicked a 39-yard field goal to cap Oklahoma's second drive of the second half.

    The Jayhawks did not score in the second half, and Stoops credited a defense that he said regrouped at halftime.

    "The players did a better job almost maturing in the locker room in 20 minutes and played in the second half defensively much better," Stoops said.

    Smith finished 12-of-29 for 258 yards, while Hill caught eight passes for 144 yards, and Roger Ross finished with three catches for 117 yards.

    Josh Norman caught five passes for 98 yards for the Sooners, and Griffin ran for 55 yards and a touchdown.