The only thing hotter than the temperature in Norman Saturday night was the Oklahoma Sooners offense. Led by a confident quarterback Trevor Knight and a trio of talented but inexperienced running-backs, the Sooners put 21 points on the scoreboard in the First quarter and cruised to a 48-16 win over Louisiana Tech.
The visitors received the opening kickoff, but a stifling OU defense held them to a three and out, and following the Bulldog punt, the Sooners began play on their own 30-yard line. The tone was set on their first offensive play of 2014 when Knight hit Jenks product Alex Ross on a swing-pass for a 14-yard gain. The eight play, 70-yard scoring drive was capped off by sophomore Keith Ford, who took Knight’s hand-off and scampered 22 yards to score on his first carry of the season.
How dominating was the OU offense? They scored on 7 of their first 8 possessions which included five touchdowns and two Hunnicutt field goals.
Following another Louisiana Tech punt and 17-yard return by Sterling Shepard, the Sooners took over at their own 46-yard line and ended with Shepard hauling in a 16-yard touchdown pass from Knight. (5 plays, 54 yards 2:20)
The Bulldogs drove into Sooners territory on their next possession, aided by a 15-yard personal foul for targeting on Jordan Evans, who was also ejected. Video replays showed Evans didn’t launch himself into quarterback Cody Sokol, but there was helmet to helmet contact.
After the call on the field was confirmed, the drive stalled. However, Bulldogs kicker Jonathan Barnes’ long field goal attempt was blocked by a streaking Zach Sanchez. The ball was scooped up by linebacker Eric Striker and returned to the visitors 42-yard line. Operating with the short field, the Sooners marched down the field and Keith Ford earned his second rushing touchdown of the evening, this time a 5-yard dash. On the drive, Louisiana Tech’s Adarius Barnes was flagged for a 15-yard face mask penalty on Shepard. The first quarter came to a close with the Sooners leading comfortably, 21-0. Total yards for the quarter were 145-28.
Louisiana Tech’s first possession of the second quarter ended when Cornerback Zach Sanchez picked off Sokol’s pass at the OU 46-yard line. OU drove deep into Lousiana Tech territory, but had to settle for a Michael Hunnicutt 39-yard field goal, to stretch the lead to 24-0. The sooner lead swelled to 31-0 after an 11-play drive that began at their own 28-yard line, capped off by an Alex Ross one-yard run, the first rushing touchdown of his OU career.
First half scoring was completed when Bulldogs kicker Jonathan Barnes drilled a 36-yard field goal with four seconds left on the clock, finishing a drive that started on their own 25-yard line.
The rout continued in the third quarter, with OU picking up huge chunks of yardage on passes from Knight to Ford and Durron Neal, the 75-yard drive when Ross crossed the goal line for his second touchdown of the contest; this time from four yards out.
The Sooners next points came in the form of a 37-yard field goal, which came after Shepard was ruled out of the end zone while attempting to catch a pass from Knight.
The Bulldogs mounted a touchdown drive of their own which began in the third quarter, and with 14:49 lef to play, Sokol hit running back Kenneth Dixon on a six-yard touchdown pass, in which Dixon broke two tackles to reach the end zone.
Alex Ross fielded the Bulldogs kickoff and returned it 80 yards to the Lousiana Tech 13-yard line. Two plays later, freshman phenom Samaje Perine got into the scoring act, barreling his way in from four yards out.
Louisiana Tech closed out the scoring when Sokol found Trent Taylor on the last play of a 13-yard drive with just over a half-minute left on the clock.
Up next for the Sooners is a trip up the turnpike to face the University of Tulsa at H.A. Chapman Stadium. Kickoff is slated at 11:00 a.m.
Photos by Greg Duke.