Coming into tonight's game South Florida had scored in every game in their brief school history.
The Oklahoma defense didn't end that streak with a shutout, but they did shut down USF's offense for over three quarters, before giving way to the reserves and two late fourth quarter touchdown passes in the Sooners' 31-14 win Saturday night in Norman.
In all, OU's defense forced three turnovers (two fumbles and one interception) and gave the Oklahoma offense excellent field position all night long.
"They played great," said redshirt freshman Kejuan Jones on Oklahoma's defense. "You can't ask for anything more than what they did which was basically go out and pitch a shutout for us."
"It's a win, that's about all the positive that we'll take out of it," said Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops. "Give South Florida a lot of credit. They played extremely well. I knew they were a good football team. Jim (Leavitt) did an excellent job coaching them."
"Defensively, we made some good plays. On the last couple of drives, they outplayed us and put the ball in the end zone," said Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops. "It's good to get turnovers. To me, probably the most important statistics are turnovers and scoring in offense and defense."
Despite the success of Oklahoma's defense, Stoops was not happy with the offense, which sputtered in the second half picking up only five first downs and gaining only 45 yards of total offense.
"They just didn't get anything going at all in the second half," said Stoops. "I don't want to hear any excuses why. The bottom line is they stopped us. We'll re-evaluate everything we're doing, the way we're practicing, the attitude and toughness of our team and see if we can't make some improvements."
"We were very average, and I think I'm being polite and nice."
The Oklahoma offense started off slow in the first quarter but rebounded in the second quarter after Antonio Perkins' 81-yard punt return gave the Sooners a 7-0 lead with 11:18 to go in the half.
Nate Hybl helped Oklahoma extend the lead to 14-0 with 4:46 to go in the half with a 3-yard pass touchdown pass to J.D. Runnels, and later capped an impressive seven-play, 82-yard drive with a 23-yard touchdown pass to a diving Will Peoples in the end zone that put the Sooners up 21-0 at the half.
Hybl, who threw for 140 yards in the first half, finished 19-of-30 for 177 yards.
"We didn't play very well offensively," said Hybl. "I felt like we took a step backwards. Give South Florida credit, they have some athletes. Those guys came in ready to play and I knew they would."
"We have to be tougher overall," Hybl continued. "The passing game was good but the decision-making on the running game on my part was bad. That is something that I will have to work on."
After scoring 21 second quarter points, the Oklahoma offense came out looking like they would blow the game open early in the third quarter.
Kejuan Jones capped an eight-play, 45-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to give Oklahoma a 28-0 lead at the 9:44 mark of the third quarter, but that would be the last time the Sooners would see the end zone on this night.
Trey DiCarlo would later add a 39-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter to put OU up 31-0, before the Bulls added two late touchdown passes to cut the lead to the eventual final score of 31-14.
"In our offense we need to get some things ironed out and make improvements," said Stoops. "The QB isn't the problem. Nate is playing well. He's executing well. He's very smart with the football. We need to execute better in all parts of our offense. Everything we're doing needs to improve."
"There's too much out there today that isn't good enough if we're going to be the kind of team that we hope to be this year," said a disappointed Stoops at the postgame press conference. "We've got a lot that we need to get better at if we want to compete in the Big 12."
OU-South Florida Box Score
'Q' strikes again
With Quentin Griffin's 25 yards receiving against South Florida, he becomes the first running back in Sooner history to go over 1,000 yards in receptions. He has 1,004 reception yards in his OU career with 121 receptions. He also extended his school record for consecutive games with a reception to 31.
Sophomore Antonio Perkins' 82-yard punt return for a touchdown in the second quarter was the sophomores second of the season. Perkins had a 91-yard return for a score in the season opener at Tulsa. Perkins became only the sixth player in Sooner history to have two or more returns for a touchdown in a single season.
And his 150 punt return yards by Antonio Perkins tonight ties the second-best all-time mark, set by Brandon Jones in 2001 vs. Tulsa. With tonight's total, Perkins' season total moves to 332 yards in four games. That ties him for fifth place for most OU punt return yards in a season.
Climbing the charts
With 177 passing yards tonight, Nate Hybl (3,089 career passing yards) moved past Jack Mildren into fourth on the OU career passing yards list. Only Josh Heupel (6,852), Cale Gundy (6,142) and Bobby Warmack (3,517) remain ahead of him on the all-time list.
Bob Stoops improved to 35-7 overall and 20-1 at home with the 31-14 win over South Florida. Coming off the bye week, his Sooners moved to 10-1 in games played with more than the standard six days of preparation. The record includes season openers, bowl games and games after off weeks.
Sooners Illustrated Top Stories
Video: Bob Stoops after Tech, heading to KUWatch OU coach Bob Stoops' full opening statement trying to reconcile what happened vs. Tech and looking ahead to Kansas.
Sooners Illustrated11:33 AM
Przybylo: Back to drawing board for OU's DOU's defense must find its heart, soul and identity pretty quickly because things will only get tougher for Sooners down stretch run of Big 12 play.
Sooners Illustrated7:02 AM
Video: Joe Mixon with historic outing for OUOU coach Bob Stoops talks about the huge performance running back Joe Mixon had in Sooners 66-59 win at Texas Tech.
Sooners IllustratedYesterday at 2:50 PM
Home sweet home in Lubbock for Baker MayfieldA sweeter reunion there couldn't have been for OU quarterback Baker Mayfield in his return to Lubbock.
Sooners IllustratedSaturday at 11:23 PM