Jones scores five times in OU's rout of Texas Tech

Oklahoma's Kejuan Jones (20) scores the last of his five touchdowns on a 77-yard touchdown pass from White during the Sooners' 56-25 rout of Texas Tech Saturday in Lubbock. Jason White threw four touchdown passes and the OU defense intercepted Texas Tech QB five times as the Sooners improved to 12-0 with the win. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

LUBBOCK, Texas — Coming into today's game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders, the Oklahoma Sooners knew that win or lose they were guaranteed a spot in the Big 12 Championship in Kansas City. But with a perfect season, and the opportunity to control their own destiny Stoops' Troops weren't about to look past an upset-minded Tech team with big dreams of knocking the Sooners off of their lofty perch high atop the college football world.

This game had all the trapping of a tough battle, being on the road with the nations leading passer in B.J. Symons leading the high-powered Tech offense against a dominant OU defense. This game featured two of the nation's best punt returners in Antonio Perkins and Tech's Wes Welker in a battle of playmakers. One side had to give: Would the Tech offense allow OU to dominate, as they did in 2002, or would the OU defense let Tech pass all over the field?

The final regular season game for the 2003 Oklahoma Sooner ended just as the other 11 games did...with a win, as well as another statement game for a team that seems to come out each week just as hungry as the previous one and with something to prove. But despite a perfect 12-0 regular season, the Sooners are far from finished and have only begun to scratch the surface of what this team is after and that is championships.

"This is a special group; they have a good attitude in the locker room," Head Coach Bob Stoops said. "They know that even though we are a perfect 12-0 in the regular season we have not achieved our goal of winning the Big 12 Championship and that they have a chance to achieve even higher goals."

The Sooners proved it on both sides of the ball today in another dominating performance. In fact it was so dominating, that at one point ABC announcer Brent Musberger was quoted as saying, "This is one hellacious football team."

Texas Tech Head Coach Mike Leach expressed both his admiration for this special Sooner team, but also his frustration that his team did not show up and play the kind of football that they are capable of playing.

"Oklahoma is a great football team, and I hope they win the national championship," Leach said. "This game was different from the Texas game. The Texas game was the closest we have come to playing our best game. Against Texas I really think that we did a good job of having 12 people doing their job and we failed to do that today. I think we spend way too much time worrying about what is written, what is in the newspaper, and what is on the internet rather than worrying about what we talked about and we discussed in practice. What you do everyday in practice and what you teach, and I'm talking about myself, the coaches, and players, that's where they emphasis is. You are in the best position to win when you do your job and make routine plays, and do it to the best of your ability. Today we didn't do that."

On offense, the Sooners racked up 472 yards on only 68 plays, outgaining Tech's offense, which had 359 yards on 81 plays. Sooner QB Jason White had yet another Heisman worthy performance going 22 for 32 and passing for 389 yards, 4 TD's and no interceptions. That improves his season totals to 3,441 yards with 40 TD's and only six interceptions. White's TD to INT ration is almost exactly 8:1, which is about as good as it gets. The Sooner offense also got it done on the ground as Kejuan Jones had a career game with 160 total yards and five TD's. Another familiar name, wide receiver Mark Clayton, was his usual spectacular self with another 100-plus yard receiving performance, pulling in eight catches for 130 yards and one TD.

Tech Assistant Coach Lyle Setenchich came away from today's game impressed with Clayton.

"He is the best receiver I've seen this year," Setenchich said. "I know that from what I have seen on film and so forth that he works hard when the ball is away and works hard when the ball is near him. I don't know how good in terms of NFL he is but he really works hard all the time."

This was the seventh game this season in which the Sooners eclipsed the half century mark, breaking the previous school record of 552 points in a season.

Speaking of records, Tech QB B.J. Symons also broke a 13 year-old record as he surpassed Ty Detmer's record for passing yards in a season. However, after throwing for a season low 227 yards, with only one TD and five interceptions, (one to an ever-ready Mike Stoops on the sideline), Symons had a day that he would most likely want to soon forget.

Symons also came away quite impressed with the Sooners' zone defense, and their ability to execute and essentially shut down the Tech offense.

"Not everyone can run the zone as effectively as Oklahoma, they run the zone to perfection," Symons said. "If everyone could run zone against us like OU, they probably would."

OU Linebacker Teddy Lehman gave a nod to the Tech offense in his post game comments.

"They have a very good offense. They have good offensive linemen and great receivers who came out and made some plays, but we found ways to hang in there and win."

The Sooner defense did indeed step up again today, bending but not breaking under a seemingly endless amount of balls being sprayed all over the field by Texas Tech. The Sooners came down with five picks on the day: two by super sophomore Brodney Pool, one by safety Brandon Everage, and another by linebacker Gayron Allen. But the highlight of them all was brought down by none other than Senior cornerback Derrick Strait, who intercepted the ball on a key fourth down play, inside the OU redzone after pressure from defensive end Dan Cody. After catching the ball deep in the end zone, Strait juked his way past some Tech players and then streaking up the Tech sideline for a 97-yard return, leaving Strait only a couple yards shy of the end zone.

Coach Bob Stoops was proud of the way his defense played, bending slightly but never breaking.

"They had times where they moved the ball well, especially in the second half, but what I liked about it is that they were not able to get anything big on us and they had to work and use a lot of time to get what they did."

Tech Coach Mike Leach also gave high praise for the Sooner defense.

"I thought they played significantly better than our offense," Leach said. "Every time you talk about this play or that play I think nine times out of 10 the answer is going to be failure to make routine plays. That is the key. Our offense didn't see anything new today and certainly their players deserve a significant amount of credit for their talent."

This 97-yard interception return by Strait broke another school record, as the 2003 Sooner defense has now taken their 12 interceptions on the season back for a total of 297 yards, which is more return yardage than any Sooner team in history has ever had.

Today's game didn't start in typical fashion for the Sooner offense, as the Sooners were forced to punt on their opening possession for only the second time this season after going three and out against the Tech defense.

Tech then took the ball downfield and was forced to kick a field goal and went up 3-0. But after that point it was virtually all OU, as the Sooners took the ball down the field led by a familiar combination of Jason White firing to Mark Clayton for a 45-yard connection on third down. Then White scrambled around the pocket, buying time, and found Travis Wilson in the end zone for a 28-yard TD strike to take the Sooners ahead 7-3. OU never looked back and never trailed again.

The next big play was forced by the Sooner defense. B.J. Symons was forced to make a bad throw, right into the arms of a diving Brodney Pool.

OU took the ball down the field again and Jason White found Mark Clayton in the end zone again, making the score 14-3.

The Sooners then went on cruise control and dominated the rest of the first half, picking Symons off two more times and heading into the locker room with a 35-10 lead.

The Sooners came out of the locker room, barely alive, with only 15 total yards of offense in the third quarter. However, the Sooners did score again, on a short TD run by Kejuan Jones to pull ahead 42-10. Tech would also score on a short TD run by Tech Johnny Mack making the score 42-18.

The fourth quarter started with a short TD run by Tech running back Taurean Henderson, but that was the last time that the Red Raiders visited the end zone. The Sooners then took the ball, trying to run the ball and take some time off of the clock and were able to go for a 13-play, 80-yard drive, which took 7:29 off of the clock and was capped by a short TD run to Kejuan Jones. The defense forced a punt and then on the following OU possession, Jason White flipped the ball out on a little screen play to Kejuan Jones that ended up going for 77 yards and ending with Jones strolling into the en zone.

OU-Texas Tech Stats

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