No. 3 Oklahoma 31, Texas A&M 10

Saturday, November 10th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) _ Oklahoma's offense took a while to get going against Texas A&M. As well as the Sooner defense is playing, what's the hurry?

Oklahoma's defense didn't allow a touchdown for the second straight week on Saturday, limiting A&M to 132 yards and five first downs in a 31-10 victory that kept the Sooners in the hunt for the conference and national titles.

``Really exceptional. They just continue to play outstanding football,'' said coach Bob Stoops, whose team beat Tulsa 58-0 last week. ``They were sound, disciplined, rarely out of position, made plays, tackled well. Really a solid game. We gave all the starters on defense a game ball.''

The Sooners (9-1, 5-1 Big 12) overcame a 10-0 first-quarter deficit to win their 19th straight at home. Nate Hybl threw two touchdown passes and ran for a score, and special teams played a big role.

Oklahoma scored one touchdown after tackling the punter deep in Aggies territory, then got the go-ahead score on a fake field goal in the third quarter.

The Sooners gained nearly 230 of their 361 yards in the second half, and sealed the outcome with two fourth-quarter touchdowns. But given how well the defense was playing, there wasn't any doubt about the outcome once Oklahoma took a 17-10 lead with the fake field goal.

``Oklahoma's defense is not a team to make a comeback against,'' said coach R.C. Slocum, whose offense has gone eight quarters without a touchdown. ``I knew it would be a challenge. Other teams I'd seen play them had trouble moving the ball. We did also.''

The Aggies (7-3, 4-3) made three of their first downs in the first quarter, then didn't make another until early in the fourth. By that time, the score was 24-10.

``I think deep down they knew if we got rolling (on offense), they couldn't really play with us,'' linebacker Rocky Calmus said.

Hybl threw scoring passes of 13 and 8 yards and scored on a 2-yard scramble. He wound up 25-of-38 for 195 yards with one interception.

The interception resulted in A&M's only touchdown. Linebacker Everett Smith picked off the pass, then fumbled as he was being tackled. But teammate Brian Gamble scooped up the ball and took it 18 yards for a touchdown and a 10-0 lead.

The Sooners drove to the A&M 15 on their first possession of the second quarter, but settled for a field goal.

A special teams play set up the tying touchdown just before halftime. Two Sooners tackled punter Cody Scates before he could get his kick away, giving Oklahoma the ball at the Aggies 14. Three plays later, Hybl hit Antwone Savage on a 13-yard TD pass.

Oklahoma resorted to trickery for the go-ahead score six minutes into the third quarter.

After getting first and goal at the 9, the Sooners netted minus-1 yard on the next three plays, and Stoops sent out the field goal team.

Instead of kicking the ball, Tim Duncan caught a lateral pass from holder Matt McCoy and headed for the end zone. Duncan was tripped up by a defender just inside the 5, but managed to stretch and get the ball across the goal line.

``It's a good thing I'm 6-2 instead of 6-1, because it took every inch to get there,'' Duncan said.

Hybl scored on the third play of the fourth quarter to make the score 24-10, then led a 16-play drive later in the quarter that ended with his 8-yard TD pass to Mark Clayton.

Aggies quarterback Mark Farris was 10-of-20 for 59 yards. His longest completion went for just 14 yards.