AMES, Iowa, Oct. 5 - If Bob Stoops wants to brag a little, let him. The way his football team and quarterback Jason White are playing, the Oklahoma coach has a right to crow. The top-ranked Sooners are scoring at a staggering clip, White has been sensational and the defense is fast, tough and aggressive.
InsertArt(2032893)ALL OF THAT WAS EVIDENT in Oklahoma’s 53-7 rout of Iowa State in its Big 12 opener on Saturday night.
“We’re probably peaking at the right moment,” Stoops said. “We’re getting into the Big 12 schedule and looking forward to next week.”
Ah yes, next Saturday. That would be the annual Red River Shootout with Texas in Dallas. All last week, Stoops brushed aside questions about the Longhorns as he tried to keep the focus on Iowa State. Now, bring ’em on.
“It can’t get here quick enough,” Stoops said.
With team Stoops has, no wonder he’s eager to face the Longhorns. Here are some numbers to consider:
Oklahoma (5-0) has topped 50 points in each of its last three games, outscoring those opponents 164-59.
The Sooners rolled up 613 yards on Iowa State, the most ever under Stoops, and held the Cyclones to 234 while coming up with six sacks, two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
White tied a school record with five touchdown passes and threw for 384 yards, the fourth-best total in OU history. For the season, he has completed 67.5 percent of his passes for 1,472 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Heisman? Why not, Stoops said.
“I don’t know how anyone could argue,” he said. “His numbers to this point are probably better than most others and he’s directed a team that’s playing pretty well and is the No. 1 team in the country. That should count for something.”
White, who has battled back from torn anterior cruciate ligaments in both knees, shrugged off the Heisman chatter.
“It’s more the team,” he said. “The team played a great game. That’s up to you guys to decide.”
Mention Texas, though, and White’s eyes brighten.
“Anytime Texas comes up,” he said, “everybody gets excited.”
Iowa State (2-3, 0-1) managed to keep punt returner Antonio Perkins under control, holding him to minus 1 yard on three runbacks. In his previous game, Perkins had set an NCAA record by returning three punts for touchdowns against UCLA.
The Sooners still found a way to score on a kick, however. Mark Bradley, who caught one of White’s touchdown passes, returned a fourth-quarter kickoff 100 yards for a TD.
Bradley’s return came right after JaMaine Billups returned an interception off reserve Paul Thompson 77 yards for the Cyclones’ lone touchdown, preventing Iowa State from being shut out for the first time since 1991.
“We had to have a big play there,” Bradley said. “I caught the ball and got upfield and there was a hole you could drive a truck through. I give all the credit to the blockers.”
Speaking of blocking, the offensive line was good enough to keep White’s uniform clean and clear the way for the backs to rush for 199 yards, well above the team’s season average of 125.5.
If the Sooners can get that part of their offense going and White stays hot, that can’t be a comforting thought for a defensive coordinator.
“They’re really playing great,” Stoops said of his offense. “What you see is the run blocking, the complement of the pass, the play action pass, the receivers catching everything. That moves the chains and scores points.”
Are you ready Longhorns? It certainly appears the Sooners are.
© 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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