Oklahoma's High Octane Offense Might Meet Its Match In Colorado

Friday, September 28th 2007, 4:00 pm
By: News On 6

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) _ Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops isn't counting on his Sooners piling on the points this weekend like they've been doing for the last month.

The third-ranked Sooners (4-0) lead the nation in scoring with a whopping 61.5 average and have scored 50-plus points in four straight games for the second time in school history.

Quarterback Sam Bradford, a redshirt freshman and the nation's second-rated passer, leads the way with 15 TD passes and just two interceptions.

The Buffs (2-2) have stifled their last two opponents, limiting Florida State to 221 yards of offense and Miami of Ohio to 139. Their last three opponents have completed just 43.7 percent of their passes against Colorado, which is led by inside linebacker Jordon Dizon, the nation's leading tackler.

``They're one of the better defenses last year that we played against and one of the better ones we've seen again all this year,'' Stoops said. ``They're solid and physical. I think Dizon is one of the better 'backers, for sure, in the league.''

Colorado is stout against the run. The last opponent to rush for more than 100 yards in Boulder was Kansas State's Alan Webb in 2004. Colorado State's Kyle Bell gained 135 yards on the Buffs at Invesco Field in Denver this season, yet it took him 40 carries to do it (3.4 yard average) and 25 of the carries went for 3 yards or less.

``This isn't the rhetoric talk. They're going to be one of the best defenses we play all year,'' Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson said. ``Allen (Patrick) had 100 yards last year. It took him 35 carries. They don't give up a lot of big plays.

``They bring some pressure, but they try to keep everything in front of you, make you snap it again, make you go the distance. They're very physical, good tackles. This will be a four-quarter, to-the-wire defensive struggle on our part.''

Yet, the Buffs haven't faced the likes of the high-octane Sooners, either.

``There are no real weaknesses; they can throw it, they can run it, they are big up front, they've got speed, they've got receivers, running backs,'' Buffaloes coach Dan Hawkins said, returning the compliments of his Oklahoma counterparts.

``Same thing on defense, big and fast. Very good in the kicking game, all the way around: kickers, punters, returners, very solid.''

And the Buffs can't count on the Sooners looking past them to the big showdown with Texas next week, either.

``It's not hard for us'' to keep the focus on the Buffs with Texas on the horizon, said Sooners center Jon Cooper. ``Colorado has a great defense and if we overlook that, they are going to come and hit us in the mouth and give us all we want. So we have to focus every bit of energy on them this week.''

They're good at that. The Sooners are 7-0 since 2000 in games leading up to their game with the Longhorns.

``To beat Texas and do nothing else the rest of the year, do you think anyone at Oklahoma is getting patted on the back? Heck no,'' Stoops said. ``We're about winning them all, winning championships, winning the Big 12. That's the only reason around here you get a championship ring, you get patted on the back or you've done something good. You've got to beat Colorado to have a chance to keep doing that.''

Hawkins said he's not necessarily scheming to rattle Bradford. After all, his own son, Cody, is a redshirt freshman quarterback who displays poise in the pocket more often that he shows his inexperience.

``I don't know if you can always bank on that,'' Dan Hawkins said. ``I look at Cody and I wouldn't assume that against him. He's a young guy, but I don't know if you're going to rattle him or going to confuse him too much. He's pretty dialed in, and so I think Bradford is the same way.''

This will, however, be the first game Bradford and Sooners running back DeMarco Murray will have played outside the state of Oklahoma.

``It's going to be fun being at someone else's house,'' Murray said.

Not if Colorado's defenders have anything to say about it.