Aug. 29, 2000
PDF Formatted Notes
The Game Setup
Oklahoma (0-0 overall, 0-0 Big 12),Texas-El Paso (0-0 overall, 0-0 WAC)
Oklahoma Memorial Stadium (72,762)
Tickets: The game is officially sold out. It's the sixth straight sellout for OU at home.
Television: In association with FOX Sports, this game will be offered as a pay-per-view event to fans in the states of Oklahoma and Texas. Bill Land (play-by-play), Dean Blevins (color) and Gary Reasons (sidelines) will call all the action.
Radio: The Sooner Radio Network for football covers 39 stations throughout Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas. Bob Barry,Sr. (play-by-play) joins former OU Assistant Head Coach Merv Johnson (analyst) in the booth. Veteran radio announcer Mark Mathew will handle sideline reports and the pregame show.
Quickly: This is the first ever meeting between Oklahoma and UTEP...OU enters the game having won 11 of its last 15 home games, including seven straight...Miners' head coach Gary Nord served as the Sooners' offensive coordinator in 1995 under former Head Coach Howard Schnellenberger...UTEP tight ends coach Brian Callahan served as a graduate assistant on the '95 OU staff.
Starting A New Century
The Oklahoma Sooners begin their 106th season of collegiate football this weekend as they play host to the Miners from Texas-El Paso. The contest, which is slated to kick off at 6:38 p.m. inside Memorial Stadium, is the first of six home games on the Sooners' 2000 schedule.
By opening at home on Sept. 2, the Sooners equal the school mark for the earliest season opener inside Memorial Stadium. OU began the 1989 season at home with a 73-3 victory.
Hopes are running high on the Norman campus as the Sooners begin the year ranked 19th in the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today polls. It's the first time OU has begun the season nationally ranked since 1995.
Oklahoma enters this contest after posting a 7-5 record last season and appearing in the Sanford Independence Bowl against Mississippi. For the Sooners, it was their first winning season and bowl appearance since 1994.
Texas El-Paso opens its season this weekend under the guidance of first-year head coach Gary Nord. Nord, who has served as the offensive coordinator for the Miners the past three years, led the UTEP offense last year rank 43rd nationally, including 21st in passing.
UTEP finished last season 5-7 overall and 3-4 in the WAC, however it was the first time the program had won games in 11 years.
The Miners are the first of two WAC teams on the Sooners' schedule this season. OU, which has a 30-11-2 mark against the WAC in its history, will host Rice on Sept. 23.
Just For Openers
Since its first game in 1895, Oklahoma has built a 79-20-6 record on opening day. Despite losing two of their last four season openers, the Sooners are still 27-3 on the first day of the regular season over the last 30 years.
Inside Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, the Sooners are 39-7-5 on opening day, including victories in 23 of the last 27 tries. Since 1989, OU is 6-1 at home in season openers.
This game marks just the second time OU has opened a season inside Memorial Stadium at night.
Speaking of openers, the Sooners kick off the 2000 season with four straight home games in the month of September - a feat accomplish just once in Norman (1995).
Some Home Style Cooking
Since 1960, Oklahoma has built a 36-4 record in its home openers, including victories in 13 of the last 14 seasons. The Sooners extended their impressive record last season with a 49-0 whipping of Indiana State.
When OU lost to TCU in the 1996 home opener, it marked the first time since 1985 that a Sooner squad failed to win the first home game of the season. Here is a quick look at OU's home openers for the last 14 seasons:
|1987||North Texas||W||69-14 |
|1989||N. Mexico State||W||73-3 |
|1991||N. Texas||W||40-2 |
|1992||Arkansas State||W||61-0 |
|1993||Texas A&M||W||44-14 |
|1994||Texas Tech||W||17-11 |
|1995||San Diego State||W||38-22 |
|1998||North Texas||W||37-9 |
|1999||Indiana State||W||49-0 |
2000 Sooner Captains
Elected by their teammates at the end of spring practice, these six players will represent OU as captains this season:
|QB||Josh Heupel (Sr., Aberdeen, S.D.)|
|RB||Seth Littrell (Sr., Muskogee, Okla.)|
|TE||Chris Hammons (Sr., Sulphur, Okla.)|
|LB||Rocky Calmus (Jr., Jenks, Okla.)|
|LB||Torrance Marshall (Sr., Miami, Fla.)|
|OL||Bubba Burcham (Sr., Mustang, Okla.)|
Talking About UTEP
Texas El-Paso kicks off its 83rd season of college football this weekend in Norman. Picked by the league media to finish sixth in the Western Athletic Conference race, UTEP has one of the toughest schedules in the league.
With a wide-open offensive attack, the Miners gained more than 400 yards of total offense in the last five games of last season. The offense will be led by senior quarterback Rocky Perez, who threw for 1,198 yards and four touchdowns while splitting time last season. He completed 56.8 percent of his passes (100-176) and ended the year ranked fifth in the WAC in passing efficiency.
His main targets will be junior receiver Lee Mays (60 catches for 881 yards and nine TDs) and senior tight end Brian Natkin (59 catches for 648 yards and four TDs.)
UTEP Versus The Big 12
Texas-El Paso has a history with teams of the Big 12 Conference that dates back to 1930. The Miners' game with OU is the first of two contests with Big 12 programs this year. UTEP will face Texas A&M two weeks after visiting Norman.
In its history, UTEP has faced Big 12 squads 29 times and holds a 7-21-1 record.
Standing Near The Top
Despite an overall record of 56-46-2 in the decade of the '90s, the Oklahoma Sooners rank among the winningest programs in college football history.
By percentage, OU stands seventh all-time with a winning percentage of .701 (689-278-53), just ahead of Penn State (.699), Tennessee (.698), Southern Cal (.694) and Florida State (.670). Here is how the Top 10 stands at the beginning of this season:
A Tough Road Ahead
Following Saturday's contest with UTEP, the Sooners will play three more home games during the month of September. OU will host Arkansas State (next Saturday) and Rice (Sept. 23) before diving into Big 12 Conference action against Kansas (Sept. 30).
Once the calendar flips over to October, the Sooners will go through one of the toughest stretches of any team in the Big 12. In one month alone, OU will square off against seventh-ranked Texas (in Dallas), at eighth-ranked Kansas State and top-ranked Nebraska. Overall, OU will face four teams ranked in the 2000 preseason top 25 and that participated in bowl games last season.
With a schedule that posted a .550 winning percentage a year ago, the Sooners' 2000 slate rates as the fifth strongest in the Big 12 and second toughest in the Southern Division.
Here's how the league's 2000 schedules break down:
|Team||1999 Winning Pct.||2000 Ranked Teams|
|1. Colorado||.608 (79-51)||5|
|2. Missouri||.589 (76-53)||5|
|3. Kansas||.578 (74-54)||5|
|4. Baylor||.562 (72-56)||4|
|5. Oklahoma||.550 (72-59)||4|
|6. Texas A&M||.519 (67-62)||4|
|7. Texas Tech||.508 (66-64)||5|
|8. Iowa State||.488 (62-65)||4|
|9. Texas||.484 (61-65)||3|
|10. Kansas State||.464 (64-74)||4|
| Oklahoma State||.464 (59-68)||5|
|12. Nebraska||.432 (54-71)||3|
The Sooners' Head Coach
It didn't take long for Bob Stoops to win the hearts of Sooner fans across the country. Considered to be one of the brightest young rising stars in college football, Stoops used his vast knowledge of football and his tremendous ability to relate with players to lead OU to its first winning season since 1993 and bowl appearance since 1994. For his efforts, Stoops was recognized as the Big 12 Conference Coach of the Year by The Dallas Morning News and The Sporting News.
Stoops is just the fourth Oklahoma head coach to lead his team to a bowl appearance in his first season. Only Jim Tatum (1947 Gator), Gomer Jones (1965 Gator) and Chuck Fairbanks (1968 Orange) have accomplished this feat.
Stoops was introduced as the Sooners' 21st head football coach on Dec. 1, 1998, after playing a key role in the nationally ranked football programs at both Kansas State and Florida. During his time as defensive coordinator at both schools, the defense ranked among the best in the nation and was instrumental in Florida winning the national championship in 1996.
In his first season as a head coach, Stoops and his staff made vast improvements in the Sooner offense, defense and special teams. Offensively, OU ended the regular season ranked 13th nationally in total offense (427.2), ninth in passing (321.7) and eighth in scoring (36.8). On defense, OU proudly held the 18th-best scoring defense in the nation, however, the largest improvement came from the special teams where the Sooners ranked inside the top 10 nationally in punting (8th) and kickoff returns (7th). They also stood 15th in punt returns.
Stoops, who has already added his name to the list of winningest coaches at OU, spent the previous three seasons as the assistant head coach, defensive coordinator and secondary coach at the University of Florida. During his tenure with the Gators, Stoops helped Florida to a combined 30-5 record, a national championship, one SEC championship and three bowl games. In each of his three seasons, the Gators ranked among the nation's top 15 teams in total defense and top 20 in rush defense.
Prior to Florida, Stoops spent seven seasons (1989-95) at Kansas State University, assisting in one of the most impressive turnarounds in college football history. During his final four seasons in Manhattan, KSU posted a 35-12 record and played in three bowl games.
His 1995 defensive unit led the nation in total defense, ranked second in scoring and had all four defensive backs named to the All-Big Eight Team.
Career Coaching Record
|1988||Kent State||Asst. Coach||5-6|
|1989||Kansas State||DB Coach||1-10|
|1990||Kansas State||DB Coach||5-6|
|1991||Kansas State||Def. Coord.||7-4 |
|1992||Kansas State||Def. Coord.||5-6|
|1993||Kansas State||Def. Coord.||9-2-1|
|1994||Kansas State||Def. Coord.||9-3|
|1995||Kansas State||Def. Coord.||10-2|
|1996||Florida||Def. Coord.||12-1 |
|Totals||17 years in coaching||135-64-2|
OU's All-Time Winningest Coaches
(by percentage over .500)
|Bud Wilkinson||145-29-4 ||(.826)|
|Vernon Parrington||9-2-1 ||(.792)|
|Tom Stidham||27-8-3 ||(.750)|
|Chuck Fairbanks||49-18-1 ||(.728)|
|Jim Tatum||8-3-0 ||(.727)|
|Bennie Owen||122-54-16|| (.693)|
|Gary Gibbs||44-23-2 ||(.652)|
|Fred Roberts||3-2-0 ||(.600)|
|Jim MacKenize||6-4-0 ||(.600)|
|Mark McMahon||11-7-0 ||(.595)|
|Biff Jones||9-6-3 ||(.583)|
|Fred Ewing||4-3-1 ||(.563)|
|Ad Lindsey||19-19-6 ||(.500)|
|H. Schnellenberger||5-5-1 ||(.500)|
Let The Race Begin
In his first season at Oklahoma, quarterback Josh Heupel recorded the best single-season passing performance in school history. The holder of 21 school and Big 12 passing records, Heupel is a serious contender for the Heisman Trophy and the Davey O'Brien Award.
In 11 regular season games as a Sooner, Heupel set single-game school marks for completions (37), passing attempts (58), passing yards (429) and total offense (410). He also recorded school marks for touchdown passes in a single game (5), back-to-back games (8), three games (13) and season (30). In the Independence Bowl, he set school and Big 12 standards for passing yards (390), completions (39), attempts (53) and total offense (387).
Here's a quick rundown of the records set by Heupel last year:
Single-Game (OU & Big 12 Records)
Passing Yards - 429 vs. Louisville
Total Offense - 410 vs. Louisville
Touchdown Passes - 5 vs. Indiana State/Louisville
Passing Attempts - 58 vs. Colorado
Completions - 37 vs. Baylor
Bowl Game (OU & Big 12 Records)
Passing Yards - 390 vs. Mississippi
Completions - 39 vs. Mississippi
Passing Attempts - 53 vs. Mississippi
Touchdown Passes - 3 vs. Mississipi (Ties)
Total Offense - 387 vs. Mississippi
Single Season (OU & Big 12 Records)
Passing Attempts - 500
Completions - 310
Passing Yards - 3,460
Touchdown Passes - 30
Passing Percentage - .620
Total Offense - 3,362
Passing Attempts Per Game - 45.4
Completions Per Game - 28.2
Passing Yards Per Game - 314.5
300-Yard Passing Games - 7
400-Yard Passing Games - 2 (OU record only)
There are very few programs with the history of OU that has a player post numbers so great that career records are threatened in just one season. However, that's just what Heupel did. In just 11 games, he posted numbers so large that it took past OU signal callers a career to compile. Take a glance at where the Heupel stands against the best OU has ever offered.
|1. Cale Gundy ('90-93)||751|
|2. Josh Heupel ('99)||500 (-251)|
|1. Cale Gundy ('90-93)||420|
|2. Josh Heupel ('99)||310 (-110)|
Career TD Passes
|1. Cale Gundy ('90-93)||35|
|2. Josh Heupel ('99)||30 (-5)|
Career Completion Percentage
|1. Hugh McCullough ('37-38)||.642|
|2. Josh Heupel ('99)||.620 (-.22)|
Career Passing Yardage
|1. Cale Gundy ('90-93)||6,142|
|2. Bobby Warmack ('66-68)||3,527 (-2,615)|
|3. Josh Heupel ('99)||3,460 (-2,682)|
Checking Out More Heupel Hype
- Heupel and former Colorado quarterback Koy Detmer are the only Big 12 Conference quarterbacks to ever record more than 400 yards passing twice in a season. Detmer posted 400 or more yards three times during the 1996 season.
- As far as Big 12 quarterbacks and the number of 300-yard passing games in their careers, Heupel currently ranks first with seven. Right behind him are Major Applewhite (Texas) with six and Koy Detmer (Colorado) with four.
- His 30 touchdown passes last season broke the Big 12 Conference record (23) set by Michael Bishop of Kansas State in 1998.
- Last season Heupel completed touchdown passes to 17 different receivers, another school record. The previous school record was nine different receivers in 1996.
- Heupel is the only player in the history of OU football to pass for more than 3,000 yards and collect more than 3,000 yards of total offense in a single season.
Plenty Where They Came From
How many football programs this year can say that their receiving corps could be better than last year's after losing their top two receivers? Well, Sooner coaches could make that case even though OU's top two receivers Brandon Daniels (50 catches, 572 yards, three TDs) and Jarrail Jackson (44 catches, 583 yards, six TDs) have been lost to graduation.
OU returns a cast of talented young receivers who accounted for 138 catches, 1,637 yards and 14 touchdowns. Heading the cast is sophomore Antwone Savage (31 receptions for 426 yards), who was named 1999 Big 12 Conference Freshman of the Year by The Sporting News. Also back are sophomores Curtis Fagan (30 catches for 382 yards) and Damian Mackey (28 catches for 319 yards). Together last year, Savage, Fagan and Mackey ranked as the top three freshmen receivers in OU history.
Add to the list sophomore tight end Trent Smith (18 catches, 175 yards), senior tight end Chris Hammons (17 catches, 163 yards), junior running back Josh Norman (16 catches, 180 yards), sophomore receiver Andre Woolfolk (11 catches, 129 yards) and sophomore running back Quentin Griffin (11 catches for 107 yards), and OU is the only team in the nation with at least seven players returning with 10 or more catches last year.
Getting A Piece Of The Rock
Sooner junior linebacker Rocky Calmus has been one of OU's defensive leaders the past two seasons and now he's grabbing national attention. Named to the 2000 Butkus Award Watch List, Calmus was named to every preseason All-Big 12 team and several preseason All-America squads. Calmus was a starter in 10 games last year and led the team with 114 total tackles.
Playing through a broken wrist and leg fracture, Calmus recorded 10 or more tackles in all but four games. Against Colorado, he tied the school record (also held by Brian Bosworth vs. Miami in 1986) for tackles in a game with 22 (12 solo).
In the category of tackles for loss by a linebacker, Calmus moved into impressive company in the OU record book with 12 for -27 yards last season. He currently ranks fifth on the single-season list and is tied for third with 22 for -53 yards on the career list. Here's a glance at both charts:
Season Tackles For Loss (Linebackers)
|1. Brian Bosworth ('86)||17||79|
|2. Ontei Jones ('98)||16||45|
|3. Torrance Marshall ('99)||15||39|
|4. Rocky Calmus ('99)||14||29|
|5. Tyrell Peters ('94)||13||46|
|6. Brian Bosworth ('84)||11||66|
| Brian Bosworth ('85)||11||46|
| Rocky Calmus ('98)||11||38|
Career Tackles For Loss (Linebackers)
|1. Brian Bosworth ('84-86)||39||191|
|2. Tyrell Peters ('93-96)||27|| 88|
|3. Rocky Calmus ('98-)||25|| 67|
Marshall Leaves His Mark
While Josh Heupel left an ever-lasting impression on the OU offensive record book, senior linebacker Torrance Marshall did the same in his first season with the Sooner defense.
Also a Butkus Award Watch List member, Marshall started all but one game and finished as OU's third-leading tackler (97), however it was his tackles for loss that everyone noticed.
Marshall ended the year with 17 tackles for loss for 49 yards, tying the school single-season record set by Brian Bosworth in 1986.
Marshall also led the squad in sacks with seven for -31 yards, just one sack shy of having his name added to the school single-season list.
Oklahoma Memorial Stadium
If the 1999 season was any indication, the Sooners have once again made Memorial Stadium one of the toughest places to play in college football.
Since Memorial Stadium opened in 1925, the Sooners have built a 288-78-15 record (.775). Heading into this weekend, OU has won seven straight home games over the past two years, the longest home winning streak for the Sooners since winning 19 straight at home between 1985-88.
OU won all five home games in impressive fashion last year, giving OU its first undefeated home season since 1987 and 29th all-time. How dominant was OU last year inside Memorial Stadium? The biggest proof came on the scoreboard as the Sooners outscored the visitors 232-23.
Not In Our House
In five home games last season, the Oklahoma Sooners totally dominated their opponents. In the midst of a seven-game home winning streak, the following numbers are representative of the five wins under Bob Stoops.
|First|| Rushing|| -----------Passing----------||Total Offense||OU||Opp.|
|Opp.||65||462|| 92.4|| 146-66-11|| 681||136.2||1,143||228.6|
Showing Their Support
There's no question that Sooner fans believe in their program. With the sellout already announced for this weekend, OU has played in front of a full Memorial Stadium in six straight games dating back to last year. Additionally, the Sooners recently surpassed the 63,000-mark in season ticket sales for 2000, the highest total since 1988 and second most in the Big 12 Conference behind Nebraska.
Currently three of the Sooners' six home games (UTEP, Nebraska and Texas Tech) are sold out, while the remaining three (Arkansas State, Rice and Kansas) are well on their way to being sold out.
Last season Oklahoma ranked third in the Big 12 Conference for increase in average attendance (+3,085). Here is the average attendance (percentage of capacity) for OU since 1990:
1990 - 70,778 (94.4%)
1991 - 69,066 (92.1%)
1992 - 66,250 (88.6%)
1993 - 65,520 (86.7%)
1994 - 62,648 (83.5%)
1995 - 70,969 (94.6%)
1996 - 68,225 (90.9%)
1997 - 69,616 (96.1%)
1998 - 70,777 (97.4%)
1999 - 74,664 (102.6%)
Everyone Has An Opinion
When the preseason magazines hit the newstands and mailboxes throughout the nation this summer, Sooner fans were excited to see OU ranked in almost every single one. In the polls that matter most, OU stands 19th (AP) and 20th (ESPN/USA Today) nationally, but here's a quick look at where the Sooners stand according to several publications before playing a game.
2nd Big 12 South
2nd Big 12 South
3rd Big 12 South
Street & Smith's
2nd Big 12 South
The Sporting News
2nd Big 12 South
2nd Big 12 South
Sooner Football 2000
Sooner Sports Properties, in conjunction with SoonerVision (the athletic department's in-house video production unit), produces and syndicates Sooner Football 2000, the highly popular 60-minute replay/game highlight show.
Sooner Football 2000 airs on KSBI-TV 52 in Oklahoma City, KWBT-TV 19 in Tulsa, KSWO-TV 7 in Lawton and KOMI-TV 24 in Woodward. In addition, the show can be seen throughout the southeast on College Sports Southeast. Log on to the Sooners' official web site, www.soonersports.com for an up-to-date broadcast schedule or to watch the show on the Internet.
Broadcast each week following Sooner football games, Sooner Football 2000 features the dramatic plays and highlights of game action, with analysis and comments from Head Coach Bob Stoops.
Inside Sooner Football
This 30-minute video magazine gives fans an insider's look at Sooner football. Inside Sooner Football with Bob Stoops airs on KWTV-9 in Oklahoma City, on KWBT-TV 19 in Tulsa, on KOMI-TV 24 in Woodward and regionally on Fox Sports Net Southwest and College Sports Southeast.
Each week throughout the season, Bob Stoops previews the upcoming game and provides viewers a unique insider's perspective with special features and profiles on Sooner football.
Check local listings for additional air times or log on to the Sooners' official web site, www.soonersports.com for an up-to-date broadcast schedule or to watch the show on the Internet.
Sooners On The Radio
The 2000 Sooner Radio Network is the largest sports network in the state with just under 40 stations from border to border broadcasting the complete University of Oklahoma football schedule. The network also includes several stations in Texas, New Mexico and Kansas.
The broadcast team is headed by veteran Bob Barry, Sr., who is entering his 23rd season as the play-by-play voice of the Sooners. Barry will be joined in the booth each Saturday by former OU assistant head coach Merv Johnson.
Mark Mathew once again returns as the sideline reporter, but he'll also play a large role in the Sooner pregame show which will welcome calls from listeners from around the state or inside the stadium.
|Clayton, N.M. ||(KLMX-AM)||1450|
|Wichita, Kan. ||(KNSS-AM)||1240|
Sooners On The Web
Up-to-date information on the Sooner football team 24 hours a day is available on the Internet at www.soonersports.com. This site is one of the most advanced in college sports and features day-to-day updates on Sooner athletics, including audio and video clips of OU football.
The schedule of recorded interviews, which will be posted by 2 p.m. each day, for the season ahead are:
Monday: Mark Mangino
Tuesday: Replay from Coach Stoops' Tuesday Luncheon
Wednesday: Mike Stoops or Brent Venables
Thursday: Selected Players
Friday: Selected Players
Saturday: Postgame Comments
Sunday: Coach Stoops
The Final Word
Oklahoma allowed its opponents to score in the opening quarter just four times in the regular season last year, however, foes did not score in the first quarter inside Memorial Stadium...At home Oklahoma outscored its opponents 62-0 in the first quarter last season..Oklahoma scored at least 28 points in nine of its 11 regular season games in '99...In its history, OU is 273-9 when scoring at least 28 points in a game, including three losses last year...Sophomore receiver Damian Mackey enters this season with a streak of at least one catch in each of his last 12 games (including last year's bowl game)...Other current catch streaks are by Curtis Fagan (8 games), Antwone Savage (5 games), Quentin Griffin (5 games), Chris Hammons (3 games), Josh Norman (1 game) and Trent Smith (1 game), ...As a matter of fact, running back Quentin Griffin proved that he was also an outstanding receiver with eight catches against Mississippi in the Independence Bowl...His eight grabs stand as the most catches ever in a single game by an OU running back...Griffin recorded 19 catches in the last five games of last season...The Sooners set a school record last year by ending the season with nine players with 14 or more receptions...Sooner punter Jeff Ferguson, who had his best season to date with an overall average of 42.4 last year, is on the watch list for the Ray Guy Punter of the Year Award...Oklahoma allowed its opponents to convert just one of 10 fourth down tries last season, including seven straight stops to end the year...Senior defensive lineman Ryan Fisher leads all OU defenders in games played at 33...Senior Corey Callens stands just one behind him at 32...The most games played by an offensive player goes to running back Seth Littrell with 33...Receivers John Connor and Curtis Fagan will celebrate their birthdays on Sept. 1.