3:30 PM ET, September 13, 2003
Memorial Stadium (Norman, OK), Norman, OK
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- Oklahoma quarterback Jason White has come a long, long way since he crumpled to the field last year with his second major knee injury in two seasons.
"He just had a great day. He was executing in an excellent way," coach Bob Stoops said after the No. 1 Sooners rolled to a 52-28 win over Fresno State on Saturday.
"Hopefully he is playing to the level of a Heisman Trophy winner. We just need to keep winning."
White threw for 338 yards and a career-high four touchdowns and Renaldo Works ran for two more scores as the Sooners (3-0) seized control early, scoring on all six of their first-half possessions en route to a 38-0 halftime lead.
There would be no upset on a day when No. 6 Texas lost and No. 3 Ohio State escaped in triple overtime -- a fact not lost on the Sooners when a scoreboard displayed archrival Texas' surprising loss to Arkansas. The school-record crowd of 83,091 roared with approval.
Fresno State (1-2) had nearly twice as many penalty yards (80) than offensive yards (43) in the first half. By then, the Bulldogs had only two first downs, one by penalty.
With his offense clicking and his defense dominating, Stoops obviously didn't need any tricks to pull this game out. He still used a few anyway.
A week after a fake punt helped the Sooners edge Alabama, Oklahoma converted two fourth downs in the first quarter and scored on a 2-point conversion run by holder Matt McCoy.
That's the kind of day it was -- almost everything worked for the Sooners.
In the first half, Oklahoma scored on drives of 57, 65, 71, 82, 87 and 32 yards, with White going 18-of-25 for 256 yards and three touchdowns. The Sooners had 370 yards of offense by halftime.
"I thought we looked like deer in headlights," Fresno State coach Pat Hill said. "Everything they touched in the first half turned to gold. Their execution was awesome."
That's in large part due to White.
He's come quite a long way for a guy who was considered a long shot to recover from his second knee surgery, let alone reclaim his starting spot.
Through three games, White has completed 69 of 107 passes (64 percent) for 845 yards and nine touchdowns. He's only thrown one interception.
"Beautiful, isn't he?" said receiver Mark Clayton, who caught five passes for 110 yards and a touchdown. "As the weeks go on and we start to jell, when we finally hit our stride, it's going to be exciting."
Oklahoma's runners got involved in the rout, too, with Works scoring the Sooners' first two rushing touchdowns of the season. He finished with 88 yards on 18 carries.
The Sooners had 556 yards of total offense, the most in Stoops' five seasons in Norman.
Still, Oklahoma's postgame joy was tempered by the loss of preseason Butkus Award nominee Lance Mitchell, who left the field clutching his left knee in the second quarter. He didn't return.
"It looks severe and it's a knee" was all Stoops would say after the game.
Fresno State, which opened at Tennessee and faced Oregon State at home last week, was obviously weary after such an arduous schedule. Coach Pat Hill had said earlier in the week that last Saturday's 16-14 victory over Oregon State was "as violent a game as I've been a part of."
Jeff Grady, nursing a bruised left shoulder and hip, finished 20-of-31 for 142 yards with two touchdowns. He also threw an interception.
"I was not as nervous as I thought I would be," said Grady, a fifth-year senior starting only his fifth career game. "I just couldn't get any of my receivers open."
There were a few bright spots for Fresno State, though.
The Bulldogs blocked an extra point and two punts, the third straight game in which they've had a block on special teams.
"Our punt protection is atrocious," Stoops said. "I'm trying to find a word negative enough to describe it."
It was Fresno State's first-ever game against the nation's No. 1 team.