Oklahoma and Miami meet for first time since 1987 national championship game.
NORMAN, Okla. -- Oklahoma and Miami, both
fresh from convincing season-opening victories, meet
in an early-season intersectional classic on Saturday
in Norman. ABC has the national telecast (check your
local listings) beginning at 11 a.m. Central. The game
is the 51st-consecutive sellout of the Stoops' era
(every home game). 84,472 set a record for season openers
last Saturday at Owen Field.
These two programs are meeting for the sixth time.
After Oklahoma won the first two, Miami has reeled
off three straight. They last met on New Year's
Day of 1988 in Miami when the No. 2 Canes, took down
the No. 1 Sooners in the Orange Bowl, 20-14. The two
teams have split the previous two games in Norman
Oklahoma: Bob Stoops (Iowa `83) is 87-19 in his
ninth season with the Sooners. He is 4-4 in bowls,
3-3 in January Bowls, 2-3 in BCS games, 56-11 vs. the
Big 12, 31-8 vs. the Big 12 South, 25-3 vs. the Big
12 North,4-1 in the Big 12 title game, 30-8 vs. non-conference
opponents, 48-2 at home, 25-9 on the road, 13-8 on
neutral fields and 25-10 vs. ranked opponents.
Miami: Randy Shannon (Miami `89) is in his first
season as the Hurricanes' head coach.
Oklahoma's all-time record stands at
The Sooners own seven national championships
(1950, 1955, 1956, 1974, 1975, 1985, 2000).
40 bowl appearances (No. 7 nationally) with 24 victories
(No. 3 nationally).
Oklahoma has won 40 conference
titles. n Since WWII, Oklahoma is the most success
college football program with 525 victories.
142 All-Americans and four Heisman Trophy winners have
come from the Oklahoma program.
This Week's Opponent
Miami visits Oklahoma this weekend and represents
the Sooner's first Atlantic Coast Conference
opponent since North Carolina was here for the 2001
opener. OU won that game 41-27.
The Hurricanes are under first-year head coach
Randy Shannon. The UM grad was an assistant at the
school from 2001 until assuming the top job after last
Miami returns 17 starters from last year's
team, which was 7-6.
The Hurricanes opened with a 31-3 home win
over Marshall last Saturday.
Ties with This Week's Opponent
Miami defensive coordinator Tim Walton was
the defensive backs coach at LSU in 2003 when the Tigers
clipped OU, 21-14, in the BCS Championship Game (Sugar
Miami running backs coach Tommie Robinson was
on the Oklahoma State staff in 2001.
There are no Oklahomans on the Miami roster.
The only Floridians playing for Oklahoma are defensive
back Brett Bowers (Jacksonville) and linebacker Mike
Reed (Vero Beach).
Both OU and Miami were coached by Howard Schnellenberger,
who's Florida Atlantic team will also be in the
Sooner State Saturday taking on Oklahoma State. Schnellenberger
was 41-16 at Miami from 1979-83. He was 5-5-1 in his
lone season with OU, 1995.
The OU-Miami Programs
They have combined for 12 national championships
(OU 7, Miami 5).
Since 2000, they have a combined record of
152-30 (OU 80-14, Miami 72-16). Oklahoma is No. 1 in
that span for wins, while UM is No. 4.
The two programs have produced six Heisman
winners (OU 4, Miami 2).
Three of the last seven Butkus Award winners
(best linebacker) came from these two schools -- UM's
Dan Morgan in 2000 and OU's Rocky Calmus (2001)
and Teddy Lehman (2003).
Each school had a recent double-digit NFL Draft
day. Miami 11 in 2002, OU 10 in 2005.
The OU-Miami Series
October 6, 1973 - No. 6 Oklahoma 24, No. 17
Oklahoma stormed from behind as QB Steve Davis posted
267 total yards, including 144 on the ground and two
touchdowns. After OU took a 7-0 lead, Miami reeled
of 20 unanswered points, the first of which came when
Eldridge Mitchell intercepted a Davis pitch and ran
it back 79 yards for the score. Miami was able to add
one more touchdown and took a 20-7 lead at halftime.
In the second half, Davis scored on a 13-yard run and
tossed a 52-yard TD to Tinker Owens.
1975 at Miami - No. 1 Oklahoma 20, Miami 17
Elvis Peacock and Joe Washington had short touchdown
runs and Tony DiRienzo booted two field goals as OU
held off Miami. The Hurricanes posted 10 fourth-quarter
points, but were stymied over the final 7:09. Miami
had 289 yards of total offense to just 176 for the
Sooners, but turned over the ball three times. The
Sooners went on win their second National Championship
in as many years, while Miami would end up unranked.
October 19, 1985 - Miami 27, No. 3 Oklahoma
The outcome of the game was less important than what
happened during the contest. After hitting his first
six passes, OU's Troy Aikman was lost for the
season with a broken leg. Freshman Jamelle Holieway
was inserted at QB, the Sooners reverted to the Wishbone
and set sail on national championship No. 6. Miami
QB Vinny Testaverde completed 17-of-28 passes for 270
yards and two TDs to give Jimmy Johnson, who was 0-5
vs. Oklahoma while at Oklahoma State, a victory over
January 1, 1987 at Miami - No. 2 Miami 20,
No. 1 Oklahoma 14
A Sooner offense that led the nation in six categories
was limited to 179 yards, but scored on a 29-yard fumblerooski
by OG Mark Hutson in the fourth quarter. It wasn't
enough. Miami's Steve Walsh completed 18-of-30
passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns. OU never led.
September 27, 1986 at Miami - No. 2 Miami 28,
No. 1 Oklahoma 16
Vinny Testaverde completed 21-of-28 passes for 261
yards and four touchdowns, including two to Michael
Irvin. Oklahoma rushed for 186 yards, but lost two
fumbles and two interceptions. It was the only loss
OU suffered as it won the Big 8 title and crushed Arkansas
in the Orange Bowl, 42-8. Miami missed a national championship
when it dropped a 14-10 decision to Penn State in the
Fiesta Bowl. Both OU and UM finished 11-1.
Oklahoma's Most Recent Game
Oklahoma roared past an out-manned North Texas team,
79-10, last Saturday in Norman ...
Oklahoma used 64 players and scored its final
points on a safety with 9:32 remaining in the game.
OU's last three touchdowns came on an INT return
and a pair of one-yard plunges.
In his first start, QB Sam Bradford completed
21-of-23 passes for 363 yards and three touchdowns
with no interceptions. He tied Jason White's
school record by completing 18 straight (his last 18).
Bradford threw for 350 yards in the first half, the
highest one-half total in school history (the previous
mark of 313 was held by Bradford's coach, Josh
Redshirt freshman running back DeMarco Murray
rushed for five touchdowns, the most by any OU player
in a debut game. The single game record for most touchdowns
is six. It was set by Quentin Griffin against Texas
The 79 points represented the second-highest
total of the modern era for OU, topped only by the
82 scored against Colorado in 1980.
Oklahoma had eight first-time starters against
UNT, including the entire defensive front four.
the sooners briefly
Oklahoma was tabbed for a second-place finish
in the Big 12's South Division in a preseason
polling of league media. Defensive back Reggie Smith
was named the league's preseason defensive player of
There are 34 players on this team with previous
experience as a starter for OU. That's up from
10 from the same time last season.
Oklahoma is 48-2 at Gaylord Family - Oklahoma
Memorial Stadium under Bob Stoops and has won its last
12 in a row there and 32 of its last 33. During Stoops's
tenure, which included home winning streaks of 19 and
17 games, OU has registered six shutouts on Owen Field.
The last 56 Oklahoma games have been televised.
A very small number of those were carried on a pay-per-view
or tape-delayed basis, but the vast majority were either
over the air or on cable through widely recognized
Bob Stoops is 30-8 vs. non-league foes, 25-4
in regular season non-league games and 21-1 in non-conference
Oklahoma has played exclusive Football Bowl
Subdivision (formerly I-A) opposition since Bob Stoops' opener
in 1999 (a 49-0 win over I-AA Indiana State). The entire
2007 schedule is comprised of FBS competition.
Stoops Era Yielding Record-Breaking Attendance
Oklahoma has drawn 3,989,501 for Bob Stoops' 50
home games (started in 1999).
All 50 have been sold out and the Sooners have
prevailed 48 times.
Last year's average home attendance of
84,561 was the largest in school history. The top seven
seasons for OU home attendance have come on Stoops' watch.
The crowd of 85,313 for the `06 Texas
Tech game was the largest ever to see a sporting event
in the state of Oklahoma. The 84,472 for this year's
North Texas game was the largest ever for an OU opener.
OU has exceeded its listed capacity of 82,112
in 24 consecutive games.
Stoops, Oklahoma has produced its career leader in
passing and receiving, while turning out the No. 3-
and No. 4-ranked rusher in school history and the school
record holder for single-season rushing.
OU has scored at least one touchdown in every
game dating back to Nov. 7, 1998.
Under Stoops, OU has rushed for 200 yards 33
times, including 27 over the last five seasons.
Also under Stoops, OU has 106 touchdowns of
25-plus yards and 227 scoring drives that took less
than two minutes.
OU's 2006 team missed perfect offensive
balance by just 202 yards (2,682 passing, 2,480 rushing).
The 2005 team missed it by just one yard and the 2003
squad was off by only 160.
Bradford has Special Ties to OU and State
Three players competed through the spring and first
three weeks of August before redshirt freshman Sam
Bradford earned the starting QB job. His back-ups are
junior Joey Halzle and true freshman Keith Nichol.
Bradford is the 53rd QB at OU (dating back in records
era to 1938) and the 20th to make his first start in
Bradford is a certified Cherokee Indian. His
great, great grandmother (father's side) was
Susie Walkingstick. Oklahoma is home to more Native
Americans (250,000+) than any other state.
Bradford's father, Kent, was an offensive
lineman at OU. He lettered in 1977 and 1978.
Scoring or Shaving, Which Came First?
Including the safety registered by DE Alan Davis, 13
Sooners scored points in the season opener against
North Texas. Only two of them were seniors -- running
back Jacob Gutierrez, who scored the last touchdown,
and kicker Garrett Hartley.
Of the 17 players that had rushing, passing
or receiving yards in the game, only two were seniors
-- Gutierrez and TE Joe Jon Finley.
The five offensive linemen that started the
game were all juniors, while the backfield of QB Sam
Bradford and DeMarco Murray were both redshirt freshmen.
Murray would have been the sole leading rusher in the
game if not for another redshirt freshman, Mossis Madu,
who, like Murray, also rushed for 87 yards.
Century Mark Times Two
When Juaquin Iglesias (7-128) and Malcolm Kelly (4-118,
2 TD) both eclipsed the century mark for receiving
yards in the opener, it marked just the fourth time
in school history that it had happened. It was the
second time during Bob Stoops' tenure.
Kelly has 99 career receptions and is trying
to become the 11th in school history to record 100.
With 1,582 career receiving yards, he ranks No. 8 at
OU, nine yards behind Stephen Alexander. The career
leader in receptions and yards at Oklahoma is Mark
Clayton, now of the Baltimore Ravens, who had 190 grabs
for 3,241 yards. Kelly is No. tied for No. 5 in touchdown
receptions with 14. Clayton is the leader there, too,
Tight End Tandem
Oklahoma features one of the top tight end tandems
in the nation in 6-6, 261-pound Joe Jon Finley and
6-5, 263-pound Jermaine Gresham. Last season, the two
combined to average 1.9 receptions per game. In the
2007 opener, they combined for four. Another tight
end, Brody Eldridge, who often lines up as the H-back,
is on the preseason list for the Mackey Award.
O-Line of Historical Proportions
With an average height of nearly 6-5 (76.6 inches)
and 322.4 pounds this is one of the biggest offensive
lines in Oklahoma history. During the Stoops era (since
1999) this is the heaviest line. The 2004 line tipped
the scales at 307.8 pounds. By height, this is the
third-tallest line of the Stoops era. The 2002 and
2003 lines both measured 77.2 inches.
At 6-8, Phil Loadholt is tied as the tallest
football player on record at Oklahoma, and the tallest
starter. The only previous player at 6-8 was Chris
Watkins, recruited in 1988 from Amarillo (Texas) HS.
Watkins lettered in 1991, but never started. There
have been 17 OU players at 6-7 (for research, only
measurements from a player's final season at
Oklahoma were used).
Oklahoma has forced at least one turnover in
95 of Bob Stoops' 106 games and has at least
one interception in 71 of the last 93 games. The Sooners
have multiple picks in 27 of their last 62 outings.
Opponents completed 50 percent or more of their
passes in less than half of their games against Stoops-coached
OU teams -- 51 times in 106 games.
Foes scored less than 14 points in 49 of the
Oklahoma has nine shutouts under its current
head coach. Opponents failed to score more than seven
points 28 times and scored less than 14 in 53 games.
Last season, only two of the 14 opponents reached
their scoring average in games against Oklahoma and
just two were able to exceed their average total yardage
figure. After game three, only one team exceeded its
scoring average and none met their yardage number.
OU in the NCAA Stats
Oklahoma consistently ranks among nation's best
in the key NCAA statistics of total defense and scoring
defense. Here is a look at those Sooner rankings under
its current head coach ...
2006: No. 16 in total defense (287.1), No. 20 in scoring
2005: No. 13 in total defense (306.7), No. 37 in scoring
2004: No. 13 in total defense (299.0), No. 11 in scoring
2003: No. 3 in total defense (259.6), No. 5 in scoring
2002: No. 10 in total defense (293.1), No. 6 in scoring
2001: No. 4 in total defense (262.8), No. 4 in scoring
2000: No. 8 in total defense (278.9), No. 7 in scoring
1999: No. 39 in total defense (344.4), No. 16 in scoring
Last year, Oklahoma defenders touched the ball 93 times
in the form of 61 pass deflections, 18 interceptions
and 14 fumble recoveries. Over a 14-game schedule,
a Sooner defensive player touched the ball an average
of 6.6 times per game and claimed 2.3 takeaways per
Players who accounted for 13 of the team's
18 interceptions last season return for 2007. The same
is true for 11 of the 14 fumble recoveries.
Stoops Era Staple: Run Defense
Nineteen times, Bob Stoops-coached Oklahoma teams have
held opponents under 40 rushing yards in a game. Four
times the total has resulted in negative yards. Last
season, thanks in part to five sacks, the Sooners limited
Baylor to -48 yards on the ground. That was the best
single-game rushing defense performance by any team
in the nation in 2006 and the best by an Oklahoma team
during the Stoops Era.
OU has ranked no worse than 23rd in national
rushing defense over the last seven seasons. Three
times in that span it ranked among the top 10 and six
times it was among the top 20.
Secondary Improvement was Primary
Oklahoma made substantial improvement in the defensive
secondary as a young group from 2005 remained relatively
young in 2006, but much more experienced. In 2007,
10 of the 11 defensive backs who saw action, including
six of the seven who drew starts, return. The only
one who is not back is Jason Carter, who started one
game last season. Here are some examples of how the
defensive backs improved from 2005 to 2006 ...
In 2005, Oklahoma defensive backs accounted
for 23 of 47 pass break-ups, or 48%. In 2006, that
number jumped to 35 of 61 for 57%. In 2005, the Sooner
secondary had six of the team's 13 interceptions
for 46%. In 2006, it had 14 out of the 18 for 78%.
Oklahoma's special teams under Bob Stoops ...
There have been 24 special teams TD, including
17 in the last 55 regular season games. Those 17 came
via five different kinds of plays -- 10 punt returns,
two faked FGs, two blocked punts, two kickoff returns
and a faked punt. The special teams also own one safety
in that span.
In total, OU has returned six kickoffs and
14 punts for TDs on Stoops' watch (since 1999).
The Sooners have blocked 20 kicks.
K Garrett Hartley tied a school record when he made
11 extra point kicks in the opener (11-of-11), but
he also kicked off 12 times, which means he had 23
kicks during the game.
Hartley averaged 68.1 yards on 12 kickoffs.
The average kick landed at the two. He had three touchbacks,
and enough hangtime that North Texas averaged a mere
Many Happy Returns
Information on returns during the Stoops era ...
Kickoff Returns -- 50 returns of 25 yards or
more with six TD.
Punt Returns -- 45 returns of 15
or more yards with 14 TD.
Interception Returns --
60 returns of 10 or more yards with 18 TD.
Returns -- Three returns of 15 or more yards with three
Over the last three seasons, Oklahoma's
average rank in NCAA kickoff return coverage was No.
10. Oklahoma's "worst" season-ending
national ranking in that category came in 2005 (No.
15). The 2004 team ranked No. 4. Last season, the Sooners
ranked 13th and gave up just 17.4 yards per return.
The longest return by an opponent was 34 yards. Prior
to Bob Stoops' arrival, opposing teams had averaged
at least 22 yards per kickoff return in five straight
seasons. Since he arrived, the best opposing average
was 18.9 in 2001.
OU has ranked among the top 10 in punt return
defense in five of the last seven seasons. Last season,
the team ranked No. 9 at 4.2 yards per punt return.
The longest punt return by an opposing player was 14
yards. The 2006 campaign marked the third in a row
in which the Sooners held their opponents to less than
5.0 yards per punt return.
Oklahoma used two punters last season and both return.
Michael Cohen handled the long kicks and averaged
41.0 yards on 51 attempts. He had a long of 75 yards
and another of 72. Nine of his kicks traveled at least
50 yards and he spread those long boots over six games.
Mike Knall kicked on a short field and averaged
39.7 yards per boot with nine of his 11 tries downed
inside the 20. He had only one touchback.
Sooners Have Hart-ley
K Garrett Hartley was one of three finalists for the
Lou Groza Award and is on the watch list for that award
again this year ...
Hartley was 19-of-20 on field goals and 49-of-50
on PATs in 2006. His lone field goal miss was a blocked
kick at Oregon. He kicked off 78 times with 31 touchbacks.
His field goal made percentage of .950 was
tops in the nation among kickers with at least 10 makes.
He made his last 11 attempts of the season.
Hartley ranked No. 20 nationally in field goals
made per game with 1.36 and was No. 21 in scoring with
7.57 points per game.
Hartley made a career-high four field goals
Hartley has three career makes of 50 yards
or longer. His long last season was 46 yards, which
he accomplished twice.
History is one tough customer at Oklahoma. The tradition,
so rich and so long-standing, is as daunting as it
is impressive. To be among the best at Oklahoma is
to be among the best in college football.
Such dramatics are lost on Bob Stoops. The Sooner
head coach befriended the would-be albatross of OU's
successful past from his first day on campus and remains
steadfastly focused on tomorrow and the championship
It falls then to the observers and experts of the
game to define Stoops' impact. Rarely have the
pundits had it so easy.
Under Stoops, Oklahoma has won 87 games (87-19),
been ranked for 119 weeks in the AP Poll (69 consecutive
at one point) and 118 in the USA Today Coaches Poll,
played in seven bowl games, four of the BCS variety,
and captured three Big 12 crowns. His 2000 team won
the national championship. On a playing field leveled
by scholarship limits and parity, this era stares down
the Oklahoma standard and does not blink.
The achievement dulls the memory of what Stoops
inherited. When he arrived in Norman, the proud Sooner
program was five years removed from a winning record,
four from bowl play. Those atypical days of angst are
so forgotten now that they might as well be mentioned
with the land rush and dust bowl.
Stoops has been characterized as a grounded family
man, brilliant big-game coach, relentless recruiter,
disciplined leader and a person with uncommon perspective.
His success emanates from a disciplined style true
to his roots in the Steel Valley of Ohio, but he is
far from inflexible. The principles to which he holds
are the tried and true axioms of the sport ... mixed
with cutting edge strategy and an appreciation for
the calculated risk.
During his time, OU has produced record-setting
passers and receivers, three 1,000-yard rushers, suffocating
defense and special teams units that rank among the
most dynamic in the land. Every facet has been impacted.
His players have snagged 16 national awards, including
the 2003 Heisman Trophy won by Jason White. There have
been 58 academic honorees, 53 All-Big 12 players, 22
All-Americans and 32 NFL draft choices.
Stoops has won a total of 10 national coach of the
year awards and has been consensus Big 12 Coach of
the year in three times.
The son of a coach, Stoops was a four-year starter
at Iowa. He began his coaching career in 1983 as a
volunteer in the Hawkeye program under Hayden Fry.
He worked through the ranks until he became co-defensive
coordinator at Kansas State (1991-95) during Bill Snyder
With the Wildcats, he played a key role in an impressive
turnaround. During his final four seasons there, K-State
was 35-12 with three bowl appearances. Eventually,
he left for Florida and a three-year stint as Steve
Spurrier's defensive coordinator. In 1996, he
was part of a national championship team. It was with
the Gators that the spotlight found Stoops and made
him one of the hottest names in the profession.
Stoops, who was born Sept. 9, 1960, in Youngstown,
Ohio, graduated from Iowa in 1983 with a degree in
marketing. He and his wife, Carol, have three children:
daughter, Mackenzie, and twin sons, Drake and Isaac.
LB Lewis Baker: One of the top special teams contributors
and the wedge-breaker on kickoffs.
DT Cory Bennett: In the rotation in the deep defensive
line ... started the 2005 opener.
OT Branndon Braxton: Started the opener at RT.
FB Matt Clapp: Listed a back-up at fullback.
P Michael Cohen: Handles long punting situations
for OU ... averaged 43.5 yards on two punts in the
DT Steven Coleman: In the four-man rotation in the
C Jon Cooper: The starter at center, he is the most
experienced of OU's linemen.
DE Auston English: Played sparingly in 2005, then
redshirted the following season ... got his first career
start against North Texas and responded with four tackles
and one sack.
TE Joe Jon Finley: Has added 41 pounds since coming
to OU ... excellent hands.
DT DeMarcus Granger: Got his first career start
in the opener.
TE Jermaine Gresham: Three grabs for 64 yards and
a touchdown vs. North Texas.
RB Jacob Gutierrez: Went over 500 career rushing
yards in the North Texas game.
QB Joey Halzle: Was 4-of-5 for 40 yards with no
interceptions while playing a back-up role in the opener.
DB Nic Harris: Starter at FS, he returned an interception
24 yards for a TD vs. North Texas.
K Garrett Hartley: Tied a school record with 11
PATs vs. North Texas ... four-year starter.
DB Lendy Holmes: Started at WR, moved to CB and
is now a safety.
WR Juaquin Iglesias: Team highs with seven grabs
for 128 yards vs. North Texas.
WR Manuel Johnson: One catch for five yards in the
WR Malcolm Kelly: Brilliant in the North Texas game
with four grabs for 118 yards and two TD.
P Mike Knall: Handles short field punting situations
... one punt vs. North Texas for 34 yards and it was
inside the 20.
LB Curtis Lofton: Career high 11 tackles vs. North
RB Mossis Madu: Tied DeMarco Murray for rushing
honors against North Texas with 87 yards (1 TD) on
QB Hays McEachern: Holder on OU placements.
RB DeMarco Murray: Scored five touchdowns against
North Texas, all via rushing, to set an OU record for
most TDs in a debut game.
QB Keith Nichol: True Freshman was the No. 3 QB
against North Texas when he rushed once for eight yards.
RB Allen Patrick: Could have played in the opener,
but was held out ... suffered a sprained right ankle
early in the August drills.
LB Ryan Reynolds: Got his first career start against
North Texas and finished with three tackles and one
OL Duke Robinson: Versatile sophomore who could
play guard or tackle ... starter at LG.
CB Reggie Smith: In his first full year at corner
... preseason Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year ...
also a kick and punt returner.
WR Adron Tennell: Silky smooth back-up to Malcolm
Kelly, he had three catches for 35 yards against North
CB Marcus Walker: Has battled back from two shoulder
surgeries to become on of the top corners in the Big
FS Darien Williams: Slowed by leg injury after a
DE John Williams: Got his first career start in
the opener ... was sidelined in 2005 by a knee injury
and in 2006 by illness.
CB D.J. Wolfe: Moved to strong safety during preseason
drills and was so impressive that he won the starting
FB Dane Zaslaw: The former linebacker is now in
his second season as a fullback.