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Texas coach declares Oklahoma is better than last year
Oct. 10, 2004
SportsLine.com wire reports
DALLAS -- Texas coach Mack Brown thinks this Oklahoma squad might just be better than the one that dominated his team a year ago.
The reason wasn't the score -- the second-ranked Sooners beat the Longhorns 12-0 on Saturday, compared with a 65-13 blowout last season. Rather, it was the abundance of talent for Oklahoma (5-0, 2-0 Big 12) that made the biggest impression on Brown.
Quarterback Jason White, last year's Heisman Trophy winner, threw for just 113 yards and no touchdowns while getting picked off twice. And it was more than enough for the Sooners, thanks to 225 yards rushing on 32 carries by dynamic freshman running back Adrian Peterson.
"Jason's such a great player and he's been around so long, we felt like we had to give him a lot of different looks and try to change up," Brown said. "Where they're so much better in some ways than they even were last year is they have the ability to run the ball now, so it's really hard to get pressure on him."
At the end of last season, pressure was the best strategy to beat Oklahoma. Kansas State and LSU blitzed White endlessly and it cost the Sooners the Big 12 title and the national championship.
But with Peterson in the backfield, it's no longer possible for teams to forget the run and focus on White. While Peterson never made it into the end zone against the Longhorns (4-1, 1-1), he put the Sooners in scoring position.
"I guess he was the difference maker," Longhorns cornerback Michael Huff said.
With Peterson emerging as Oklahoma's primary back, coach Bob Stoops is able to use Kejuan Jones as a change of pace. The junior, who bulked up to 200 pounds in the offseason, once excelled as a goal-line back for the Sooners but inherited the starter's role when Quentin Griffin departed.
Jones had 63 yards and a touchdown against Texas.
"We expected to be able to run the football, and it wasn't just Adrian," Stoops said. "I think our offensive line and the way they played are all part of running the ball. We're improving with it."
The Sooners' defense also had its best performance of the season, holding Cedric Benson to 92 yards and shutting out a Texas team that hadn't been held scoreless since 1980.
Oklahoma came up with three turnovers, including two in its own territory, and twice sacked Texas quarterback Vince Young to knock the Longhorns out of field-goal range.
"I thought defensively, maybe not too many people recognize or give those guys much credit," Stoops said. "I felt all along we were on the verge of really playing well defensively."
Stoops said he believed the rivalry game in the past had been a helpful boost and helped the Sooners eliminate some mistakes. In each of the past four seasons, the Sooners have followed wins against Texas with at least two double-digit victories.
"Hopefully that'll keep happening," Stoops said.
The Associated Press News Service
Copyright 2004, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved
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