NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- Having taken yet another brutal hit, Brad
Smith was left sprawled on the turf.
The Missouri quarterback slowly picked himself off the ground
and limped for the sideline. He didn't come into the game again.
The Oklahoma Sooners had finally caught up with Smith.
Smith gave Oklahoma a scare in the first half, but Jason White
threw for 278 yards and two touchdowns and Antonio Perkins tied a
Division I-A record with his seventh career punt return for a
touchdown as the top-ranked Sooners beat No. 24 Missouri 34-13 on
"We wanted him to beat us with his arm and not his feet and I
think we were successful," said Oklahoma defensive end Dan Cody,
who had one of the five sacks of Smith. "We're in such good shape
that we knew we'd wear him down."
The Sooners (7-0, 3-0 Big 12) looked a little sluggish at the
start, a week after their 65-13 dismantling of Texas.
Many of Oklahoma's early struggles were caused by Smith, the
multitalented Missouri quarterback who rolled up nearly 400 yards
of offense and three touchdowns against the Sooners last year as
the Tigers nearly pulled off the upset in a 31-24 loss.
But Oklahoma scored three touchdowns in the final seven minutes
of the first half to turn the game into a rout.
"We didn't handle the emotion and the intensity of an impact
play," Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. "They can strike fast and
hard. Most teams they put 60 (points) on."
Perkins' 64-yard punt return with 1:02 left in the first half
gave Oklahoma a 31-10 lead. The score left Missouri noticeably
deflated as the Sooners whooped their way into the locker room for
halftime while many of the Tigers slowly jogged off the field.
The touchdown return was Perkins' fourth this season and seventh
of his career, both equaling Division I-A records. The junior
cornerback broke a single-game mark against UCLA earlier this
season with three returns for score.
"What a special young man," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said.
"He just has an incredible ability and showed it again tonight.
You just hold your breath every time he has (the ball)."
The record-breaking -- and back-breaking -- return came near the
end of the half.
Perkins caught the ball off a hop, juked a couple of defenders
and sprinted down the left sideline and into the NCAA record book.
White, the nation's leader in pass efficiency, also got the
Sooners going with two touchdown throws in the second quarter.
The first was an up-for-grabs toss into the end zone that Mark
Clayton wrestled away from safety Nino Williams. The 39-yard throw
gave the Sooners a 17-10 lead.
Clayton, who set a school record with 190 yards receiving
against Texas, finished with eight catches for 110 yards.
Jejuan Rankins had the other touchdown grab on a fourth-and-6
play from Missouri's 30 with 2:40 left in the half. Rankins,
generously listed at 5-foot-11, 172 pounds, caught the ball just
shy of the first-down marker and broke four tackles on his way to
Before that, Smith raced all around Oklahoma's vaunted defense
to complete long passes or rip off big runs.
The sophomore's first-half performance was remarkably similar to
last year's against Oklahoma.
He scored on a 26-yard run early in the second quarter to make
it 10-10 -- only the second time Oklahoma has been tied all season.
The homecoming crowd of 83,327 -- which broke the OU attendance
mark for a fourth-straight game -- sat in stunned silence as the
Tigers (5-2, 1-2) looked poised to knock off their second
consecutive Top 10 team following last week's 41-24 upset of
At that point, Smith had 192 yards of offense against the
nation's third-ranked defense.
But the Sooners eventually caught up with Smith and the Tigers,
holding them to just 84 yards and five first downs in the second
"We couldn't do anything against their defense," Pinkel said.
"Standing on the sidelines, you really get a feel of just how good
and just how much speed they have. They're a team without
Smith was battered around so much -- he was sacked three straight
times on his final series -- that he was taken out for Missouri's
final two possessions of the game. He was 15-of-31 for 180 yards
with one interception and ran for 50 yards on 17 carries.
"That's a great quarterback. At first, our mind-set wasn't
where it was supposed to be," Oklahoma defensive tackle Tommie
Harris said. "But we went back to the drawing board at halftime
and started clicking like we're supposed to."
Since Stoops arrived in Norman in 1999, the Sooners have easily
managed to avoid a post-Texas hangover. The Sooners are 5-0 in
games following the Red River Shootout, winning by a combined score
Missouri hasn't won in Norman since 1966, a skid of 16 straight
games. The Tigers are also 0-10 against No. 1-ranked teams.