Nov 17, 2001
Video Courtesy of ESPN
Oklahoma's Nate Hybl finds Antwone Savage in the back of the end zone.
Nate Hybl goes deep over the middle to Mark Clayton for the 48-yard strike.
By JAIME ARON
AP Sports Writer
LUBBOCK, Texas - The Oklahoma Sooners know that before they can defend their national championship, they first must repeat as winners of the Big 12. And they can't do that without winning the Big 12 South.
That's why No. 3 Oklahoma was so relieved Saturday after beating Texas Tech 30-13 behind three touchdown passes by Nate Hybl.
Now Oklahoma (10-1, 6-1 Big 12) needs only a victory next Saturday at home against woeful Oklahoma State to win the division and seal a spot in the conference title game Dec. 1. The North champion will be the winner of Friday's game between No. 2 Nebraska and No. 15 Colorado.
"All our goals are still there," linebacker Rocky Calmus said.
The Sooners won by keeping the Red Raiders' potent offense off the field and stuffing them when they did.
With Roy Williams leading the OU defense, Tech (6-4, 4-4) gained only 247 yards, 178 below its average, while managing just nine first downs. Kliff Kingsbury threw for a season-low 234 yards and the Red Raiders finished with negative-7 yards rushing.
Kingsbury was intercepted on the opening drive and again in the third quarter, then lost a fumble midway through the fourth quarter. The Sooners got a 42-yard field goal off the first turnover and a 48-yard touchdown pass to Mark Clayton following the last one.
"You run out of words to describe how we are playing defensively," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. "They just dominated. They take people out of their rhythm."
The OU offense helped make the Tech offense get stale by keeping them on the sidelines. Oklahoma held the ball for 40:27, including 21:07 in the first half. The Red Raiders helped the Sooners keep several first-half drives alive with penalties such as roughing the passer (twice) and roughing the punter.
Hybl was 33-of-55 for 274 yards and ran 15 times for 17 yards. He completed passes to eight receivers, with three different players catching touchdowns. Chris Toney's 8-yard TD reception made him the 17th Sooner to score this season.
Hybl threw two interceptions in the third quarter, both to Ricky Sailor, with the first coming in the end zone on the opening drive of the second half and Oklahoma leading only 13-10.
But the Red Raiders couldn't sustain their newfound momentum. Tech went three-and-out and the Sooners regained control with Hybl running for 21 of 53 yards on the next possession, capping it with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Antwone Savage.
"I thought Nate was exceptional," Stoops said. "People are going to disagree with me, I'm sure, but they are not realizing how difficult it is sometimes out there."
Trent Smith caught four passes and Curtis Fagan had three, cracking the 100 mark for their careers. Savage and Quentin Griffin also have that mark, giving OU four on the current roster after having only two in program history going into this season.
The last time the Sooners came to Lubbock, they went home losers. Their offensive coordinator then was Mike Leach, now the Tech coach. His squad had won three straight, including an emotional victory over Texas A&M in their last home game.
He chose to blame their loss in part on officiating.
"Since it's a crucial part of the game, then they are important," he said. "Any thoughts you have about it, make them know it. Write your local congressman if you feel like it."
Tech running back Ricky Williams caught 12 passes for 88 yards, including a 40-yard touchdown receptions. His 82 catches this year set a school record. The Red Raiders' other points came on field goals of 42 and 31 yards from Robert Treece.
"I think OU is the best defense we've played against this season," Kingsbury said. "They had everything covered and did a good job stopping our runs."
Tech was rooted on by some unusual allies: Texas quarterback Major Applewhite and several teammates who trekked out to Lubbock to boo the Sooners. The Longhorns need Oklahoma to lose for them to have a shot at winning the Big 12 South.
"It's going to be a long trip home for them," Calmus said.
The Sooners countered with some sideline karma of their own: Barry Switzer. His presence was meaningful because Oklahoma reached 10 wins for the second straight season, something they hadn't done since 1986-87, near the end of his long, successful coaching tenure.