Mismatch offered experience for Sooners

Monday, November 5th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) _ Although Tulsa's football team didn't present much of a test for No. 3 Oklahoma, the game wasn't without benefit, coach Bob Stoops says.

``You draw from every game,'' he said Sunday in discussing the Sooners' 58-0 victory. ``Experience is experience, no matter who it's against. We're building for the year and trying to improve. Regardless of who you play, when you get on the field and play you can gain something from it always.''

The Sooners (8-1) did many things well Saturday. They had 541 yards of offense, they scored on seven straight possessions beginning late in the first period, and the defense played another solid game. In addition, freshman Brandon Jones emerged as a threat returning punts _ he had 150 yards on seven tries.

``It was just a good overall game all the way around,'' Stoops said.

Tulsa (1-7) lost its seventh straight. The Golden Hurricane gained just 138 yards, crossed midfield twice and crumbled once the Sooners got going.

Saturday's game featured a return to the starting lineup for quarterback Nate Hybl, who started the first six games before being displaced by Jason White. White got hurt in the Nebraska game, which resulted in Hybl moving back to No. 1 on the depth chart, at least for now.

Stoops said Sunday that Hybl would start this week against Texas A&M, in part because White is still ``very doubtful'' and because Hybl played well against Tulsa. He was 36-of-48 for 347 yards and two touchdowns, with no interceptions.

``He played in a great way, with confidence, played strong, made good decisions,'' Stoops said. ``I thought he was all around good in every part of the game.''

Hybl hurt his non-throwing shoulder in the Texas game, and at times has taken some big hits in the pocket. That resulted in him answering questions last week about his durability.

He said he was healthy and looked it against Tulsa, once scrambling for a first down and lowering his shoulder into the tacklers, losing his helmet in the process.

``I didn't feel like I had anything to prove, but I wanted to come out and let my teammates realize we're healthy,'' Hybl said. ``It was cool to have a blue mark on my helmet. You get back in the huddle, the guys liked that.''

The Sooners drove inside the 5-yard line in the first quarter but failed on a fourth-down play. A field goal late in the quarter started a string in which they scored on seven straight possessions. Five of those were touchdowns, four by tailback Quentin Griffin.

Griffin wound up with 90 yards rushing and 72 receiving. Tight end Trent Smith had nine catches for 104 yards. In all, nine Sooners caught passes.

The surprise of the day was Jones, who set up a fourth-quarter touchdown with a 56-yard return. He also had a 28-yarder, and Stoops said Jones would continue to get more time as a punt returner and receiver, provided he practices well each day.

``Brandon needs to continue to improve in practice and play with consistency and a sense of urgency and do things correctly and completely in how we play,'' he said. ``We've always recognized what a talented young man he is.''