By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
NOVEMBER 20, 2010
WACO, Texas (AP) -- DeMarco Murray caught the pass coming out of the backfield, cut up the left sideline and sprinted 76 yards untouched to the end zone. He ran for another touchdown only a few minutes later.
That quick, and that easy, Oklahoma was on its way to a lopsided win over Baylor, 53-24 on Saturday night -- keeping the No. 16 Sooners in contention for another Big 12 title.
"We worked on it all week so we knew it was going to be open. We took a shot at it and it was open," Murray said of the short pass that became his longest play of the season. "We knew what we had to do."
The Sooners (9-2, 5-2 Big 12), who have won six of the last 10 Big 12 titles, play their regular season finale next Saturday at 12th-ranked Oklahoma State. The Bedlam rivalry could determine who will represent the South Division in the league's last scheduled championship game, or set up a three-way tie.
Murray had another all-around big game (13 carries for 62 yards, six catches for 120 yards), Ryan Broyles became the first Oklahoma receiver with more than 100 catches in a season, and Landry Jones completed 26 of 39 passes for 325 yards and three touchdowns while playing only the first three quarters.
"We had an opportunity to come down here and give ourselves a chance to stay in the championship hunt and that's what we did," coach Bob Stoops said. "I was really pleased with the overall work habits through the week and with our team coming in."
Oklahoma has won all 20 games in its series against the Bears (7-5, 4-4), who wrapped up their first winning regular season since 1995, the year before the Big 12 began, despite losing all three of their November games -- all to ranked teams.
"You never want to go out like that," Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin said.
If Oklahoma State wins next Saturday, the Cowboys win the South title. But if Oklahoma wins and Texas A&M beats Texas, the three-way tie will be settled by which team is higher in the BCS standings. Right now, Oklahoma State is 10th, Oklahoma 14th and Texas A&M 19th.
Broyles, already Oklahoma's career leader in receptions and touchdowns, had 12 catches to push his season total to 106. He had 113 yards receiving, including a 5-yard TD.
Jimmy Stevens kicked three field goals for Oklahoma and Ronnell Lewis returned an interception 12 yards for a score -- the Sooners' first defensive touchdown this season -- in the opening minute after halftime. They also forced a safety on a kickoff return and led 53-10 after three quarters.
"When you're sitting there in that position in the fourth quarter, that's a good day in all parts of the game," Stoops said.
While Texas A&M edged North Division-leading Nebraska 9-6 about 90 miles down the Brazos River in College Station, Oklahoma had it pretty easy even after Jones threw an interception on the opening series and the Bears took some early chances.
The Sooners had won the previous 14 Big 12 games against Baylor by an average of 25 points.
Facing fourth down at midfield on its first drive, Baylor ran a fake punt that likely would have picked up the first down, but was penalized for a false start and punted the ball away.
On the second play after that, Jones hit Murray out of the backfield and it was 7-0 only 5 minutes into the game.
Baylor was stopped on fourth-and-1 from its own 33 on the next drive when linebacker Austin Box hit running back Jay Finley (17 carries for 82 yards) in the backfield. That set up a 13-yard TD run by Murray, who wasn't touched by a defender until he shoved cornerback Tyler Stephenson out of his way when crossing the goal line.
The Sooners made it 21-0 before the end of the first quarter after Krys Buerck botched a punt return they recovered at the Baylor 8. Roy Finch scored on the next play when, after tumbling forward and being almost parallel to the ground, he put his hand down and stayed on his feet before scampering into the end zone.
After Jones threw a 49-yard TD pass to Kenny Stills midway through the third quarter, the Sooners made it 50-10 when Ahmad Dixon bobbled the ensuing kickoff and was stripped when he ran it out of the end zone. The Bears swatted it out of the back of the end zone for a safety.
Griffin, the first 3,000-yard passer in Baylor history, threw for a season-low 124 yards on 20 of 33 passing, and ran 12 times for 83 yards.
Jarred Salubi ran for two TDs in the fourth quarter for Baylor, which will have to wait two more weeks before likely getting its first bowl bid since 1994. That would snap a 15-season bowl drought that matches the longest for a team from a BCS conference.
"Like I told the players, we're not going to let this deal beat us," third-year coach Art Briles said of the three-game losing streak. "We're going to be proud and look back at what happened over the season. ... You're looking at a man that's proud of his football team and anxious about the days ahead."