Archive for Saturday, October 13, 2001

Sooners won’t look past Jayhawks

OU will carry nation’s longest winning streak 18 games into today’s clash with Kansas

October 13, 2001


For those Kansas University football fans hoping No. 3 Oklahoma will overlook the lowly Jayhawks in tonight's game, think again.

"Going up there this week to Kansas, we will be prepared to play," OU coach Bob Stoops said. "Our players understand the importance of every game and we will be prepared to go up there and compete with them."

Kickoff for the homecoming game is 6:13 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.

Oklahoma (5-0 overall, 2-0 Big 12), the defending national champion, is coming off back-to-back emotional victories over Kansas State which the Sooners defeated twice last season and Texas in the annual Red River Shootout. OU also owns the longest current winning streak in the nation at 18.

But don't think the Sooners will be sleepwalking against KU (2-2, 1-1), which led last season's game at OU in the second quarter before falling.

"We have never been an up-and-down team, at least in our years here," said Stoops, in his third season at OU. "We stick to our routine and how we prepare, how we practice. I think a big part of that is our players' respect for everyone that they're playing. Our players understand those (opposing) players work hard, they're coached well, they practice.

"Our players respect them and that helps our players understand that we need to be at our best to have an opportunity to win against anybody."

Oklahoma's defense dominated in last week's 14-3 victory over the then-No. 5 Longhorns. The Sooners held the ground game to a mere 27 yards on 25 carries and swarmed UT quarterback Chris Simms, earning five sacks and snagging four interceptions.

"Defensively was again, whatever word you want to use to describe it spectacular, outstanding, just exceptional to watch," Stoops said. "The pressure we were able to get, not only with five sacks, we continually were in position to force bad throws, continually were in the quarterback's face making him make quick decisions and had great pressure all day."

OU senior All-America and All-Big 12 linebacker Rocky Calmus receives the headlines, but the Sooners aren't a one-man show. All-Big 12 junior strong safety Roy Williams is second on the team in total tackles with 46, trailing Calmus' 56. Williams also has six tackles for losses, three interceptions, a sack and a recovered fumble.

"Roy Williams there aren't enough words. We've all run out of words to describe Roy and his play," Stoops said. "He steps up and makes big plays. He's just around the ball all the time."

The same could be said of junior cornerback Andre Woolfolk, who also had been playing wide receiver prior to last week.

"Andre Woolfolk was a major presence in the game, a major factor in our defensive performance," Stoops said. "Big interception, lot of great tackles, blocked field goal."

On the other side of the ball, most of the talk surrounds the quarterback position. Sophomore Jason White came off the bench during last weekend's win when junior Nate Hybl injured his shoulder.

Hybl, who is expected to start tonight, leads the Sooners in total offense with 992 yards 981 of which are through the air. He's completed 83 of 148 passes with six touchdowns and six interceptions.

OU's wide receiving corps could be one of the deepest in the nation, with six wideouts having double-digit catches after five games. Junior fullback Quentin Griffin leads OU with 90 carries for 395 yards and 26 receptions for 234 yards.

Other top receiving threats are junior wide receivers Curtis Fagan (15 receptions for 152 yards), Josh Norman (11 for 171) and Antwone Savage (10 for 203).

Kansas won the first eight games in the series, which began in 1903, but Oklahoma has the edge overall with a 62-27-2 record. The Jayhawks had won three straight against the Sooners, including a 20-17 victory at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence in 1997, until last season's 34-16 defeat.

"We're excited now to be going to Kansas, also a very good team coming off a big overtime win away from home at Texas Tech," Stoops said. "A team I believe is coached very well. They've got good players. Everything that they do, they're a very solid, very sound football team."

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