Archive for Saturday, November 17, 2001

Sooners face challenge in Tech quarterback

November 17, 2001

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— Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops should have a pretty good idea on how to slow down the high-octane aerial attack of Texas Tech.

After all, both offenses were installed by the same man: Mike Leach, who became Tech's coach two years ago after spending one season as Stoops' offensive coordinator with the Sooners.

Stoops would prefer for his defense to dominate the game. But he knows it will be hard for the No. 3 Sooners (9-1, 5-1 Big 12) to duplicate their effort of the last two weeks, when they held both Texas A&M and Tulsa to less than 100 yards passing.

Texas Tech (6-3, 4-3) is the Big 12's top passing team, and ranks sixth nationally. Junior Kliff Kingsbury has thrown for 2,902 yards and his 19 touchdown passes are only three less than Texas' Chris Simms.

Naysayers claim Kingsbury's numbers are skewed because of Leach's incessant aerial attack. Stoops doesn't think so.

"I think he's a very good quarterback," Stoops said. "He's a talented guy who can move as well as throw, so I'm sure he'd fit in about any system there is. He's a quality player a good athlete and a good arm."

Leach agrees with his former boss.

"I think it's unfortunate he's not a sung hero," he said.

The Red Raiders have won three straight Big 12 games for only the second time ever.

"I think they are catching us at a bad time since we're on a roll," said Tech running back Ricky Williams, who leads the Big 12 with 1,148 all-purpose yards. "I think they would be kind of vulnerable in this position."

But while Texas Tech is just trying to get into another bowl game and possible break into the Top 25, the Sooners want to keep alive their chances to defend their national championship.

The Sooners can survive a loss and still win the Big 12 South Division and advance to the league's championship game. But it can't make it to the Rose Bowl with another loss.

Oklahoma needs a win to match idle No. 5 Texas at 6-1 in the South. If the two teams end tied, the Sooners get the spot in the Big 12 championship game by virtue of their 14-3 win over the Longhorns in October.

The Sooners end their regular season Nov. 24 against Oklahoma State. Oklahoma ranks second in the Big 12 in total defense (257 yards per game), and has allowed opponents inside the 20 only 17 times.

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