Sooners move one step closer to the Big 12 South title
OU forces Baylor Bears into hibernation
WACO, Texas -- The OU football team can clinch the Big 12 South championship Saturday as the Sooners will face Texas Tech for the division title. The winner will play Colorado in the Big 12 Championship game in Houston on Dec. 7.
Tech will come in to Norman after upsetting Texas 42-38 in Lubbock, Texas, on Saturday. OU (9-1, 5-1 Big 12) defeated Baylor saturday 49-9 in front of a half-empty Floyd Casey Stadium.
OU scored first after a 42-yard punt return from sophomore defensive back Antonio Perkins gave OU the ball at the Baylor 43-yard line. A 13-yard run by senior tailback Quentin Griffin and an 18-yard pass to Griffin from senior quarterback Nate Hybl brought the ball to the Baylor 12. Four plays later, Griffin followed the offensive line and found the end zone on a 1-yard touchdown run.
Baylor kicked a field goal to make it 7-3 after the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Hybl again found Griffin on a screen pass that the shifty tailback took for 35 yards and a touchdown.
"We don't run that many screens," Hybl said. "I think we used to be known for running screens, but we don't do it much anymore. What it comes down to, is if they're blitzing, I just need to be patient and wait for the blitz, then I can find Quentin outside."
On OU's next posession, redshirt freshman running back Kejuan Jones added to the score with a 14-yard touchdown run.
Late in the first half, the problems that had plagued the OU defense last week in its loss to Texas A&M came back to haunt them. Baylor quarterback Aaron Karas led a quick drive all the way down to the Oklahoma 6-yard line with two consecutive deep passes to wide receiver Robert Quiroga.
Cornerback Derrick Strait bailed the defense out with an interception in the end zone with less than 25 seconds left in the half. Strait looked like he might take it all the way before Karas was able to get an angle and bring him down.
"I was hoping that he could do it," co-defensive coordinator Brent Venables said. "I was just wishing that that quarterback didn't have such a good angle on him. But it was a big play anyway."
The Sooners struck quickly in the second half after senior receiver Antwone Savage returned the opening kick-off 54 yards to the Baylor 43-yard line. Then, on third and 7, Hybl found the wide receiver Savage for a 40-yard touchdown pass to put Oklahoma up 28-3.
"Nate played well," head coach Bob Stoops said. "He was solid. The deep one he threw to start the second half was really good, a nice throw under pressure."
Griffin struck again on the ground in OU's next posession with a 25-yard touchdown run to make it 35-3 Oklahoma. Then, on the next OU posession, Griffin broke a run to the left side and down the sideline for 61 yards, setting up another 1-yard touchdown run for the tailback, his third rushing touchdown of the game.
"We finally learned that when he has a 60-yard run down to the 1-yard line, let's give him a bone and let him finish it," Stoops said. "We should have done that all year."
In the fourth quarter, with Oklahoma up 42-3, Baylor quarterback Greg Cicero came in the game to try and jump-start the reeling Bears. On their first drive of the fourth quarter, Cicero led the Bears to the OU 23 yard line. Then, on the next play, Strait intercepted a screen pass from Cicero at the 25 and took it 75 yards for OU's final score. The 75-yard return gave Strait a new OU record for interception return yardage in a single game.
OU's defense again seemed to break down late in the fourth quarter when Cicero ran the ball into the end zone from the OU 14-yard line for a touchdown. Cicero's pass on the two-point conversion was incomplete and the Sooners went on to win 49-9.
"It was a good solid win," Stoops said. "It's another step closer to winning the south and the Big 12."
Griffin finished the day with his sixth-straight 100-yard game. He rushed for 154 yards on 17 carries and three touchdowns and had two receptions for 53 yards and another touchdown.
Although OU again looked good offensively, the defense showed that it was still struggling.
"We didn't play particularly well," Venables said. "They moved the ball at will between the chains. They held the ball for 37 minutes. That's not the style of defense that we play."
The Sooners have another big challenge awaiting them when Texas Tech (8-4, 5-2) and quarterback Kliff Kingsbury come to Norman on Saturday.
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