Oct. 21 - Like most college coaches, Bob Stoops is usually reserved and humble when asked about the merits of his team.
THIS YEAR, HOWEVER, the Oklahoma coach can’t deny how strong his top-ranked Sooners look heading into Saturday’s showdown with Big 12 rival Colorado.
“Overall, we have more quality depth, more players ready to play and far and away our most experienced team,” Stoops said after his squad disposed of Missouri 34-13 last weekend to improve to 7-0, including 3-0 in conference play.
“It’s hard to explain ... but there seems to be a special quality about these guys, a genuine humility to them and a hunger to them in wanting to play well. I just felt in the last few years we were a little bit short in some areas.
“But it’s like we’re stronger this year overall. And you have the leadership with the seniors and juniors.”
Ranked eighth in the nation in defense, the Sooners have shown a balance that has been sorely lacking since Stoops guided them to the 2000 national championship. The Oklahoma offense, led by senior quarterback Jason White, is more than holding its own in Norman.
The Sooners are second in the country in scoring at 45.7 points per game.
White leads the nation in pass efficiency rating at 174.2, going 149-for-221 for 2,040 yards and 22 touchdowns. He’s thrown just four interceptions.
“I guess we expected Jason to be very good, and he’s turned out to be more than great the way he’s played. So that’s been such a plus, just his execution,” Stoops said.
“It’s a positive indicator that we’ve played awfully well for seven games,” Stoops said. “We’ve earned that position and have played well through this part of the season. Now, it’s our job to continue it, finish it and keep it.”
Against Missouri, White threw for 278 yards and two touchdowns, and Antonio Perkins tied a Division I-A record with his seventh career punt return for a score.
The Sooners averted a letdown following their 65-13 rout of archrival Texas two weeks ago. Now they must gear up for a visit to Boulder, where the struggling Buffaloes (3-4, 1-2) would like nothing better than to derail the Sooners’ championship hopes.
Colorado opened the season with impressive wins over Colorado State and UCLA, but has lost four of five since, including last weekend’s 49-20 drubbing at Kansas State.
Jeremy Bloom’s 98-yard kickoff return provided the Buffaloes with some hope just before halftime, but Colorado was outscored 34-7 after the intermission.
Colorado has allowed 40 or more points in five straight games for the first time since 1980, when the Buffaloes yielded a school-record 451 points in 11 games.
While Stoops harbors hopes of another national title, Colorado coach Gary Barnett is just looking to get his team a bowl date come December.
“We’ve got to get ourselves bowl-eligible,” Barnett said. “That’s what you look for (now). This team, if we keep each other together, we’re getting better at a lot of things each week.”
Oklahoma and Colorado met in last year’s Big 12 title game, with Oklahoma cruising to a 29-7 victory behind two touchdown passes from Nate Hybl and 188 rushing yards by Quentin Griffin.
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