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Oklahoma Stifles Texas Tech

Big 12: Sooners one victory from South Division title after 30-13 win over high-scoring Red Raiders.

November 18, 2001|ROBYN NORWOOD | TIMES STAFF WRITER

LUBBOCK, Texas — Oklahoma safety Roy Williams paused, letting a little smile play across his face.

"You know, it was funny to see them here," he said slyly. "I was wondering where they went after the game."

There among the throng at Texas Tech's Jones Stadium hoping for an Oklahoma misstep Saturday was a small clutch of Texas players--among them backup quarterback Major Applewhite and the other Roy Williams, a Longhorn receiver.

"You know, it's going to be a long trip home for them," linebacker Rocky Calmus said after No. 3 Oklahoma's 30-13 victory over Texas Tech all but ended the Longhorns' chances of edging the Sooners for the Big 12 South Division title.

After another dominant showing by the Oklahoma defense and a late surge by the offense, the Sooners are a step closer to a possible rematch against No. 2 Nebraska in the Big 12 title game Dec. 1.

The Sooners (10-1) need to beat Oklahoma State (3-7) to clinch the South. They would then play the winner of this week's Nebraska-Colorado game. A victory in the Big 12 title game could put them in the national championship game.

Some saw the makings of an upset Saturday--a tough road game against prolific quarterback Kliff Kingsbury and a team that had won its last three games, including a victory over Texas A&M.

At halftime, the threat still seemed real, with Oklahoma leading, 13-10, despite some Texas Tech mistakes, particularly penalties.

But the Sooners kept up their pressure on Kingsbury, and Oklahoma quarterback Nate Hybl connected on a short third-quarter touchdown pass to Antwone Savage and a 48-yard touchdown pass to Mark Clayton with 6:21 left in the fourth quarter that gave Oklahoma a 27-10 lead.

Still, the show was the defense.

Kingsbury, who last had a pass intercepted on Oct. 27, was picked off on the first possession of the game, when Williams--with his 37-inch vertical leap--jumped up to deflect a ball that Kory Klein intercepted.

Kingsbury finished with 234 yards passing, far below his total of 440 last week against Oklahoma State, and was intercepted twice after throwing only seven interceptions before Saturday. He also had a fourth-quarter fumble that set up Oklahoma's final touchdown.

Oklahoma held Texas Tech to 13 points--only the third time this season they've been held to less than 30.

"The defense, you run out of words to describe how they play, really," Oklahoma Coach Bob Stoops said.

Williams, a safety who often lines up in one-on-one coverage and blitzes frequently, finished with eight tackles, two for losses, one sack and two pass break-ups--one resulting in an interception and another he almost caught himself before it hit the ground.

Texas Tech (6-4) seemed poised to give Oklahoma trouble late in the first half, cutting the lead to 13-10 after Kingsbury completed a short pass to Ricky Williams, who scampered through the middle of the Oklahoma defense for a 40-yard touchdown.

The Red Raiders' momentum suffered on their next possession when Damian Chandler was called for roughing the punter, giving the ball back to Oklahoma.

Hybl finished with 274 yards passing, but was intercepted twice, both times by Ricky Sailor--once in the end zone. Texas Tech didn't capitalize on either possession.

Texas Tech was frustrated by its own penalties--they had several for roughing the passer or kicker--and the officiating.

"Any thoughts you have about it, make [the public] know it," Coach Mike Leach said. "Write your local congressman if you feel like it."

Leach is a former Oklahoma offensive coordinator--and was with the Sooners the last time they played in Lubbock two seasons ago, a Red Raider upset.

"The effort was good, but we fell short on key things," Leach said. "They are an awfully good defense."

The Sooners enjoyed the familiarity of Texas Tech's offense. Knowing the drill helped the Sooners--and they really don't need much help.

"It felt a little like practice out there," Roy Williams said.

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