No. 2 Oklahoma Blasts Buffaloes, 27-11

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
NOVEMBER 01, 2002

NORMAN, Okla. - Another strong showing by Oklahoma's defense has the No. 2 Sooners another step closer to their goal of a Big 12 title.

Chris Brown became the first back in four seasons to gain 100 yards against Oklahoma, but the Sooners came up with four turnovers and turned back three fourth-quarter drives in a 27-11 victory over No. 13 Colorado on Saturday.

Brown, the nation's leading rusher at 162.9 yards per game coming in, needed 25 carries to gain 103 yards on a cold, sometimes rainy day.

"He's a great player. He deserves his reputation," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. "We were fortunate to make our plays a part of the time. He made his, but in the end to keep them to 11 points is pretty special."

With their third straight victory over a ranked team, the Sooners (8-0, 4-0 Big 12) justified their position atop the Bowl Championship Series ratings, which determine who will play for the national title. Oklahoma also beat then-No. 3 Texas and then-No. 9 Iowa State.

Nate Hybl threw three touchdown passes, all of them after Colorado mistakes left him with a short field. The three TD drives covered just 39, 24 and 9 yards.

Quentin Griffin ran for 128 yards on 21 carries and Kejuan Jones had 82 yards on 20 carries for the Sooners, who had been 0-8-1 against Colorado since 1988.

In the first half, Colorado (6-3, 4-1) lost two fumbles, had a pass intercepted, muffed a pooch kickoff and had a field goal blocked. Oklahoma turned the mistakes into 17 points to lead 20-3 at halftime, and it could have been worse.

Colorado's first possession of the third quarter ended with an interception by linebacker Teddy Lehman, who returned it 31 yards to set up Hybl's third TD pass, making the score 27-3.

"It's the same story all year," defensive tackle Kory Klein said. "No one is waiting on anyone else. Someone steps up and makes the big play. That's the kind of defense we have."

Colorado made it 27-11 late in the third quarter on a 12-yard run by Bobby Purify and a 2-point conversion pass. The Buffaloes came up empty in the fourth after driving to the Oklahoma 23, 8 and 10 - they missed a field goal the first time and turned the ball over on downs twice.

"We dug ourselves in a hole real fast," Colorado coach Gary Barnett said. "It was a hole we couldn't get out of against a good team. We had a chance to be out of that game and we really weren't until the last four or five minutes."

Hybl threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Antwone Savage to complete Oklahoma's first drive, which started at the Colorado 39-yard line after a fumble by Brown. Hybl also hit Mark Clayton on two scoring passes, a 17-yarder in the second quarter and a 12-yarder in the third.

Hybl was 10-of-25 for 105 yards and two interceptions. Robert Hodge of Colorado was 18-of-37 for 174 yards and two interceptions.

Oklahoma couldn't stand prosperity early. The Sooners missed a 31-yard field goal in the first quarter after taking over at the Buffaloes' 32 following a fumble recovery. In the second quarter, they settled for a field goal after Brandon Everage returned an interception 64 yards to the Colorado 14.

Just before halftime, Oklahoma took over at midfield after blocking a field goal. The Sooners eventually had first-and-10 from the 22 but went nowhere and wound up missing a 39-yard field goal.

"I'm sure they felt they had given us some," Stoops said. "We felt we had given them some breaks too, by not maybe capitalizing a little more on some of the field position we got through turnovers."

Brown is the first back to top 100 yards against Oklahoma since Deuce McAllister of Mississippi did it in the 1999 Independence Bowl, a span of 33 games.



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