Sooners host Miami Hurricanes on Saturday at 11 a.m. at Owen Field.
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- A 69-point romp is proof Oklahoma
didn't look past its season opener against North Texas,
but there's little doubt the Sooners -- and that number
includes coach Bob Stoops -- are relishing the challenge
that awaits them this week.
Oklahoma, which moved up three spots this week to
No. 5 in The Associated Press poll, will host Miami
on Saturday, renewing a rivalry started in the 1970s
and made famous by three games during the mid-1980s.
Miami, coming off a 7-6 season -- its worst since
1997 -- remains unranked despite a 31-3 win over Marshall
in its season opener. But Oklahoma knows the Hurricanes,
with 17 starters returning, are bigger, stronger, faster
and more athletic than North Texas and figure to give
the Sooners an early barometer about any potential
"The bigger the challenge, the bigger the opportunity," Oklahoma
center Jon Cooper said about the Miami game. Added
wide receiver Juaquin Iglesias, "You dream about
playing against Miami."
Stoops isn't discouraging that attitude of anxiousness,
saying during his weekly news conference Tuesday that
his players "realize it's a challenge. I'm sure
it's the same for Miami. It's challenging, and anytime
it is, it's awfully exciting, too."
For Stoops, watching the Sooners play consistently
in a season opener also proved exciting. The Sooners
have struggled somewhat in recent openers, edging Alabama-Birmingham
24-17 last season, losing 17-10 to Texas Christian
in 2005 and holding off Bowling Green 40-24 in 2004.
But Stoops found little to criticize about his football
team's performance in its 79-10 win over North Texas,
during which the Sooners posted their highest point
total since an 82-42 win over Colorado in 1980.
"I was pleased with the overall clean and solid
play, really in all parts of our game," Stoops
Seemingly everything came easy for the Sooners against
North Texas. Redshirt freshman quarterback Sam Bradford,
making his first career start, passed for 363 yards
and tied the school record for consecutive completions
with 18. Freshman running back DeMarco Murray scored
five touchdowns, one shy of the school record. Receivers
Malcolm Kelly and Iglesias became only the fourth tandem
in school history to have more than 100 receiving yards
in the same game.
"Offensively, everyone wondered how Sam Bradford
would handle the situation, regardless of who you're
playing going out in your first game, I thought (it)
was just remarkable how cool, calm and collected he
was and how he executed," Stoops said.
"He was excellent in the huddle (and) at the
line of scrimmage. I can think back several years,
having new quarterbacks and they're having two, three
fumbled snaps. A lot of things can go wrong, but he
just executed in a wonderful way."
The defense limited North Texas to 247 yards of
offense and scored a touchdown and a safety.
"Defensively, I thought our structure and positioning
on the ball and tackling was very sharp," Stoops
said, noting that hasn't always been the case in early
season games in other years. Mistakes "have happened
in a lot of other games, but it didn't happen the other
Stoops said it was refreshing to see the Sooners
so focused, especially when it could have been tempting
to look ahead to the Miami game.
"We've had some games where we've had lopsided
wins, we've gotten ahead in the second half, and the
second half gives me nightmares," Stoops said. "I
go home just totally aggravated, because guys get in
late, lose their focus (and) have penalties. Their
intensity wanes a little and you break down in coverage
or you miss an adjustment."
Against North Texas, "we didn't have that.
To me, it's just reflective of how these guys have
been. What I keep saying about them is they have a
really great focus to them."
Stoops said starting running back Allen Patrick
will be available for the Miami game after missing
the season opener while continuing to recover from
a sprained ankle. One of Patrick's primary backups,
Chris Brown, will return after a one-game suspension
for breaking team rules.
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Gameday Central for complete information on Oklahoma's
game with Miami. For more information on the Hurricanes,
please view the SoonerSports.com scouting