Sooners Bounce Back Against Baylor

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
NOVEMBER 15, 2002

WACO, Texas - While continuing his push for serious Heisman Trophy consideration, Quentin Griffin helped Oklahoma rebound from its first loss.

Griffin had his sixth straight 100-yard rushing game, running for 152 yards and three touchdowns, and he also had a 35-yard TD reception to lead the fourth-ranked Sooners to a 49-9 win over Baylor on Saturday.

"One person can't win a game," Griffin said. "If I'm going to be part of this offense, I'm just trying to hold up my end of the bargain."

Against Baylor, Griffin did more than his share.

He scored the first two touchdowns for Oklahoma (9-1, 5-1), then had the last two scores during a three-TD blitz after halftime to extend the Sooners' lead to 42-3.

"It was a good, solid win, and Quentin was exceptional," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said.

The blowout victory probably won't help the Sooners climb back up in the Bowl Championship Series standings. Oklahoma dropped from first to fourth after its 30-26 loss at Texas A&M last week.

Baylor (3-8, 1-6) has been outscored 271-30 while losing six straight games. Texas beat the Bears 41-0 last week and still lost a spot in the BCS standings.

The Sooners are home against Texas Tech next weekend, a game that will decide the Big 12 South Division champion, which plays No. 17 Colorado in the league championship game Dec. 7. Texas Tech (8-4, 5-2) eliminated Texas from contention with 42-38 win Saturday.

"We are another step closer to having a chance to win the South and the Big 12 championship," Stoops said. "That is primary - first and foremost on our mind."

Griffin's 152 rushing yards came on 17 carries in just three quarters. He has 885 yards the last six games and 1,243 on the season.

"Quentin Griffin has amazing speed, and it's hard to get around him," said Baylor defensive lineman Kevin Stevenson. "He's not only speedy, but also strong. He's extremely hard to tackle."

Oklahoma started the second half with touchdowns on its first three possessions - with each scoring drive taking 1:31 or less.

Antwone Savage returned the second-half kickoff 54 yards, and three plays later he raced by defensive back Maurice Lane and caught a 40-yard TD pass from Nate Hybl.

Griffin's only carry on the next drive was a pitch to the right that he took 25 yards for a touchdown.

On the third drive, Griffin took an inside handoff, found a gap at the line and then ran past two defenders along the sideline. He gained 61 yards, getting dragged down by Matt Johnson a foot from the goal line. But he plunged into the end zone on the next play for a 42-3 lead.

"I'm just reacting to the defense. I can't really tell you what I'm doing," Griffin said when asked to explain his elusive running.

Baylor played its final home game under Kevin Steele, who was fired Nov. 3 but stayed on to coach the rest of the season. Steele is 9-35 overall and 1-30 in the Big 12.

Hybl, who like Griffin sat out the fourth quarter, was 12-of-22 passing for 179 yards and two touchdowns to help the Sooners forget about Texas A&M.

"We had no choice. We had to move on," Hybl said. "We're past it."

Derrick Strait had two interceptions, thwarting a Baylor scoring drive right before halftime and then returning his second pick 75 yards for the final Oklahoma touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Baylor drove to the Oklahoma 6 after Aaron Karas completed passes of 14, 15 and 28 yards to Robert Quiroga in the final minute of the first half. But Strait then stepped in front of receiver Marques Roberts in the end zone and returned the ball to midfield.

"Emotionally, I think that was a big factor," Steele said. "That kind of took the wind out of our sails."

In the fourth quarter, Strait intercepted a pass thrown by Greg Cicero, the sixth-year senior and former starter who got to play in his final home game. Cicero later had a 14-yard TD run.

Griffin put the Sooners ahead to stay with a 1-yard TD that capped their opening 43-yard drive. Griffin started the drive with a 13-yard run and an 18-yard reception.

Hybl was scrambling in trouble on third-and-10 early in the second quarter, after Daniel Andino's 43-yard field goal for Baylor. Griffin took the screen toss, stutter-stepped by a defender behind the line and then weaved back and forth between his blockers for his 35-yard TD.

Oklahoma led 21-3 after Kejuan Jones' 14-yard run ended a 14-play, 66-yard drive, on which the Sooners converted three third downs and a fourth down.

Rashad Armstrong ran for 103 yards for Baylor, which has lost all 12 games in its series against Oklahoma.



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