Sept. 2, 2000
NORMAN, Okla. - Josh Heupel threw two touchdown passes and ran for a score, and freshman Renaldo Works scored three fourth-quarter touchdowns as No. 19 Oklahoma beat Texas-El Paso 55-14 on Saturday night in the hottest home game in Sooner history.
The temperature was 106 at kickoff, but that didn't keep 74,761 from turning out, making it the largest home-opening crowd since 1988.
Heupel and the Sooners' wide-open passing game appeared rusty, but Oklahoma took advantage of great field position and UTEP mistakes - the Sooners scored 35 points off turnovers.
Safety Roy Williams returned an interception 35 yards for a score and two of Works' touchdowns came after turnovers.
Heupel set school and Big 12 records with 3,460 yards and 30 touchdowns a year ago, leading the Sooners to their first bowl game since 1994. He scored on a sneak and threw scoring passes of 4 and 31 yards, but also had seven straight incompletions during one stretch, was intercepted once and lost a fumble. He wound up 18-of-36 for 274 yards.
Works scored on runs of 19, 6 and 5 yards.
UTEP coach Gary Nord, who was Oklahoma's offensive coordinator in 1995, tried a little bit of everything to keep the Sooners off balance. In the first quarter alone, the Miners attempted two onside kicks, ran an end around and converted a fake punt.
They also failed on a fake field goal in the third quarter after reaching the 13-yard line, and converted on fourth-and-1 to keep their second touchdown drive alive.
A fumble recovery on the Miners' first play gave Oklahoma the ball at the UTEP 17, and three plays later Heupel scored from 1 yard out.
The Miners tied it nine minutes later, keeping the drive alive with the fake punt, but Oklahoma later capitalized on a failed onside kick to take over at the UTEP 46. A 36-yard completion to Quentin Griffin set up Heupel's 4-yard TD pass to tight end Trent Smith that gave the Sooners the lead for good.
After their first touchdown, the Miners netted 10 yards or fewer on four of their next six possessions, including the one in which Williams intercepted Rocky Perez's pass and returned to the end zone for a touchdown that made it 24-7.
Perez threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Paul Tessier in the first quarter. The Miners' other TD came on a 19-yard run by Chris Porter one play after reserve quarterback Wesley Phillips gained 9 yards on fourth-and-1.
By OWEN CANFIELD
AP Sports Writer