NO. 3 OKLAHOMA 37, North Texas 10

Sunday, September 9th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) _ What was supposed to be the start of an easy stretch for No. 3 Oklahoma didn't exactly go as expected.

The Sooners gained 543 yards Saturday night, but committed 13 penalties and made several other mistakes in a 37-10 victory over North Texas.

The defending national champion Sooners (3-0) were expected to roll over North Texas, which gained only 139 yards in a season-opening loss to TCU last week. But the sloppy play kept things interesting and left coach Bob Stoops seething.

``It's a win, but that's about all it was. I'm just really disappointed in our team's performance,'' he said.

``At this point, we're not very good. Everybody's been talking about our team can be this or be that, and right now we're a long way from that.''

Nate Hybl completed 28 of 40 passes for 350 yards and two touchdowns, and scored once on a sneak. Tailback Quentin Griffin scored on a run and a pass, and finished with 71 yards rushing and 111 receiving.

Renaldo Works and Josh Norman had the two longest plays of the night for Oklahoma. Works scored on a 72-yard run in the first quarter and Norman took a pass in the flat and went 57 yards for a TD in the fourth.

But there were too many mistakes to overlook.

One penalty wiped out what would have been a 76-yard interception return for a touchdown by safety Roy Williams. It was Williams' second interception of the night; he also forced a fumble.

``We've got an interception for a touchdown and we block a 300-yard lineman who's 30 yards from the play,'' Stoops said. ``We are just not playing disciplined and smart football.''

The Sooners were penalized twice on a point-after try following a third-quarter touchdown, and the resulting 35-yard kick sailed wide.

They committed two turnovers _ an interception that set up a North Texas touchdown and a fumble inside the 5. They missed two field goals, got one field goal blocked and botched a punt.

The victory was the 16th straight and the 15th in a row at home for Oklahoma, which plays Tulsa at home next week, then has an open date before Kansas State visits.

``We have a lot to work on, obviously,'' Stoops said.

Hybl was at times exceptional in his third career start, but also gave up an interception on an overthrown ball and cost the Sooners a field goal try when he was penalized for intentional grounding.

Oklahoma's defense, dominant last week in a 44-3 victory at Air Force, gave up a 58-yard pass completion from Scott Hall to Ja'Mel Branch on the first drive of the night, setting up a field goal.

The defense allowed a 39-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter that made the score 14-10, but improved after that. After gaining 177 yards in the first half, the Mean Green had 120 in the final 30 minutes, 31 of those coming on a run by Patrick Cobbs in the closing minutes.

``One thing we pride ourselves on is going and trying to play hard for 60 minutes. Not everybody knows how to do that,'' North Texas coach Darrell Dickey said. ``Oklahoma made some big plays and we made some mistakes, but I never thought our players let up.''

Hybl completed all six of his passes on Oklahoma's first drive, including the 13-yarder to Griffin that made the score 7-3.

Works then went the distance on Oklahoma's second possession, and it appeared the rout might be on.

But Hybl overthrew Antwone Savage early in the second quarter and Ben Miller intercepted at the Sooners 29. Two plays later, on second-and-20, George Marshall got behind defender Jarvis Smith and caught the 39-yard TD pass to make it 14-10.

Griffin scored on a 14-yard run late in the second, a quarter that saw the Sooners miss two field goals, one from just 28 yards.

Oklahoma started third-quarter drives inside the North Texas 35 but came away with only nine points. Two penalties on a point-after kick resulted in a 35-yard try that sailed wide, and a fumble inside the 5 ended one threat.

``It'll be interesting to see the film of this game,'' Hybl said. ``We're disappointed in our effort and there are just a lot of things to improve on.''