KANSAS CITY, Mo. — If this was an audition for the national title game, then get that contract out of the drawer and sign Oklahoma right away.
The Sooners obliterated Colorado, 42-3, in what was advertised as the Big 12 Conference championship game Saturday night, but evolved instead into nothing more than a showcase for Sooner power. It amounted to an impressive look at what's possible if Oklahoma meets USC as expected in the BCS title game at the Orange Bowl on Jan 4.
Something like a close score could have hurt the Sooners' stature in the AP and USA Today/ESPN polls, but the blowout the 62,130 mostly red-clad fans saw at Arrowhead Stadium must have cemented Oklahoma's place in the polls and might have pulled them a little closer to the Trojans when the final BCS standings are announced today.
The Buffaloes had ruined Texas' chance for a national championship by upsetting the Longhorns in the 2001 Big 12 title game, and last year, Kansas State blasted the Sooners in the same setting, but Oklahoma wasn't going to have any part of that history lesson.
Halfback Adrian Peterson ran 28 times for 172 yards and scored three times, the last one inflating the score to 35-0, a twisting, 32-yard dash into the end zone, breaking Colorado tackles and Colorado hearts with almost every step.
On the ground or in the air and even when they didn't have the ball, the Sooners were utterly dominant.
Colorado, which was 11th in the Big 12 in total defense, showed why. Oklahoma piled up 498 yards of total offense, made 26 first downs and held Colorado to 46 yards and three first downs. The Buffaloes' total of minus-four yards rushing was the worst in school history.
"Our team's embarrassed," said Colorado Coach Gary Barnett. "We were inept at best. We played a very, very good football team and we were just not prepared to play that team today. We weren't even close."
Quarterback Jason White did little to tarnish his hopes for a second consecutive Heisman Trophy, completing 22 of 29 passes for 254 yards and three touchdowns. By the end of the third quarter, Sooner fans were hurling oranges from the stands to celebrate the trip to Miami that they expect to be taking.
"This is about as complete a game as we've had," said Sooner Coach Bob Stoops. "There wasn't much for a coach to complain about."
Oklahoma was up, 28-0, at the half and had outgained the beleaguered Buffaloes, 281 yards to 13.
After two quarters, Colorado had minus-14 yards rushing and the Buffaloes didn't get a first down other than by an Oklahoma penalty until midway through the third quarter.
White put the Sooners (12-0) into the end zone the first three times they had the ball, and seven seconds into the second quarter the score was already 21-0.
Peterson carried five times for 52 yards on Oklahoma's 11-play opening drive that covered 80 yards and ended with White's five-yard scoring pass to Will Peoples. Less than five minutes later, White threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Mark Clayton for a 14-0 lead that grew to 21-0 with another 22-yard scoring pass from White to Clayton, who made an acrobatic catch in the left corner of the end zone.
After an interception by Oklahoma's Antonio Perkins, the Sooners needed eight plays to make it 28-0. When Peterson scored on a one-yard run with 6:06 to go in the second quarter, he not only surpassed 100 yards for the game, but also signaled the rout was on.
The Sooner defense virtually shut down Colorado, which had won its last three games. Buffalo quarterback Joel Klatt completed only eight of 26 passes for 52 yards and tailback Bobby Purify rushed 12 times for seven yards. Colorado (7-5) may be headed for the Champs Sport Bowl Dec. 21 in Orlando, Fla., against Georgia Tech.