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Sooners Are Developing a Sugar Craving

No. 1 Oklahoma stifles B.J. Symons in a 56-25 rout of Texas Tech. One more win means a shot at national title.

November 23, 2003|From Associated Press

LUBBOCK, Texas — It was billed as a showdown between the nation's top-ranked offense and the stingiest defense.

B.J. Symons and Texas Tech never had a chance.

Jason White threw for 394 yards and four touchdowns, Kejuan Jones scored five touchdowns and Oklahoma's defense intercepted five of Symons' passes, keeping the top-ranked Sooners on track for a berth in the national-championship game with a 56-25 victory Saturday.

"Sometimes I thought we were able to confuse him with our coverages," Oklahoma cornerback Derrick Strait said of Symons.

"We knew it was going to be a long day of work. It's a game where it's up to you to try to stop them."

The Sooners (12-0, 8-0 in the Big 12) finished their 10th unbeaten regular season in 65 years and need only to win the Big 12 title game on Dec. 6 in Kansas City, Mo., to assure a Sugar Bowl bid.

Oklahoma, which last went unbeaten during its national-championship season in 2000, has won 13 consecutive games -- the longest current streak in Division I-A.

Texas Tech (7-5, 4-4) began the game as the nation's top offense by more than 80 yards, and Symons was poised to break the 13-year-old NCAA Division I-A single-season record for passing yards, set by Ty Detmer of Brigham Young.

Oklahoma hadn't given up a touchdown in three games and boasted the nation's highest-scoring offense.

An intriguing matchup on paper turned into yet another Sooner rout.

Whether it was the swirling West Texas wind or Oklahoma's relentless pass rush, Texas Tech couldn't keep pace with the Sooners, who surpassed the 50-point mark for a school-record seventh time this season.

Oklahoma co-defensive coordinator Mike Stoops, who's rumored to be the front-runner for the head coaching job at Arizona, put the clamps on Texas Tech's pass-happy offense for the fourth year in a row.

Symons broke Detmer's mark in the second quarter but finished with a season-low 230 yards, completing 31 of 53 passes. The 6-foot-1 senior, hobbled by a knee injury, threw 10 interceptions in his final two home games.

"He, along with 12 other people, failed to make routine plays," Texas Tech Coach Mike Leach said. "Apparently he wasn't coached well enough to do that, at least not this week."

Texas Tech has been held to an average of 16 points and 293 yards in four consecutive losses against the Sooners, well below its averages of 36 points and 465 yards over that four-year span.

Midway through the second quarter, Symons set the record on a 15-yard completion to Nehemiah Glover that set up a five-yard touchdown pass to Wes Welker three plays later.

The Red Raiders trailed, 14-10, the crowd of 53,135 was buzzing over the potential for a huge upset and Symons had finally found his groove.

From then on, little else went right for Symons or Texas Tech.

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

Taking the Good With the Bad

Texas Tech's B.J. Symons passed for a season-low 230 yards in Saturday's 56-25 loss to Oklahoma but became the all-time Division I-A leader in passing yards for a season:

*--* Season Player School G Comp-Att Yards Int Yds/Att. TD 2003 B.J. SYMONS Texas Tech 12 429-666 5,336 21 8.01 48 1990 TY DETMER Brigham 12 361-562 5,188 28 9.23 41 Young 1990 DAVID Houston 11 374-643 5,140 20 7.99 54 KLINGLER 2002 KLIFF Texas Tech 14 479-712 5,017 13 7.05 45 KINGSBURY 1998 TIM RATTAY Louisiana 12 380-559 4,943 13 8.84 46 Tech

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