NORMAN, Okla. - Oklahoma entered Saturday night's game ranked as high as No. 3 and the Sooners showed why, rolling up 436 yards of offense in a 48-16 win over Louisiana Tech in front of 85,063 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman.
In his first career start, LA Tech's Cody Sokol threw for 191 yards and two touchdowns in a 22-for-36 performance, throwing only one interception. The Bulldogs ended up winning the turnover battle as Oklahoma's Trevor Knight was intercepted by Houston Bates while Vontarrius Dora recovered an OU fumble.
The Sooners were paced by five touchdowns scored on the ground by three Oklahoma running backs while Knight was 19-for-34 for 253 yards with one touchdown pass.
The Sooners often controlled the line of scrimmage, racking up 183 yards on the ground while a tough defense held Tech's talented running backs to a total 54 yards on 29 attempts on the ground.
Oklahoma scored on its first drive of the game but needed a 4th down conversion to keep its initial drive alive. Keith Ford ran for a 22-yard score with 10:22 left in the first quarter after Trevor Knight's pass to Dimitri Flowers bailed the Sooners out of a 4th-and-short situation in Tech territory.
On its next possession, OU drove 54 yards in five plays in a drive that was capped off by a Sterling Shepard 16-yard touchdown catch from Knight to give OU the 14-0 lead.
In his first field goal attempt on the collegiate level, LA Tech's Jonathan Barnes had a 51-yard attempt blocked by Oklahoma as the Sooners ran it back to the Tech 42-yard line. That eventually set up a five-yard touchdown run by Ford to give OU the 21-0 advantage with 33 seconds left in the first half.
A Sokol interception early in the second quarter gave Oklahoma the ball at midfield and the Sooners would drive to the Tech 22-yard line but a big hit by Xavier Woods at the line of scrimmage followed by an incomplete pass by Knight would force Oklahoma's Michael Hunnicutt to kick a 39-yard field goal for the 24-0 Sooner lead.
Near the end of the half, Oklahoma would drive down again and score, this time the touchdown coming off of a one-yard run by Alex Ross.
Tech would finally get on the board with eight seconds left as Jonathan Barnes connected on a 36-yard field goal.
Oklahoma struck quickly in the second half as Alex Ross scored on an eight-yard run. The Sooners reached the end zone in only 1:29, driving 75 yards in five plays.
Tech's defense had held OU to 4th-and-long with the Sooners set to punt but an illegal substitution flag on the Bulldogs gave OU 4th-and-3 instead of 4th-and-8. The short distance prompted Oklahoma to pull its punter off the field and the Sooners converted the fourth down. The Bulldogs would still hold OU to a field goal as Hunnicutt connected on a 37-yard kick, giving the Sooners the 41-3 lead.
LA Tech mounted a nine-play, 59-yard drive in a four-plus minute time span that straddled the third and fourth quarters with Kenneth Dixon breaking a tackle and back flipping into the end zone for a touchdown with 14:49 left in the game.
The Sooners would respond with Ross running the kickoff back 80 yards to set up the seven-yard touchdown run by Samaje Perine three plays later as OU extended its lead to 48-10.
The Bulldogs added one more score as Trent Taylor caught a diving 22-yard touchdown pass from Sokol with less than a minute to go in the game while Oklahoma blocked Jonathan Barnes' extra point attempt;
Louisiana Tech will next play at Louisiana-Lafayette next Saturday, Sept. 6 with a 6 p.m. kickoff broadcast on EPSN3.com.
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