Coverage: ABC Regional coverage
3:30 PM ET, November 22, 2003
Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, TX
LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) -- It was billed as a showdown between the nation's top-ranked offense against the stingiest defense.
B.J. Symons and Texas Tech never had a chance.
Life was good all day for Brandon Jones and the Sooners.
Jason White threw for 394 yards and four touchdowns, Kejuan Jones scored five TDs and Oklahoma's defense intercepted five of Symons' passes, keeping the top-ranked Sooners on track for a berth in the national championship game with a 56-25 victory Saturday.
"Sometimes I thought we were able to confuse him with our coverages," Oklahoma cornerback Derrick Strait said of Symons. "We knew it was going to be a long day of work. It's a game where it's up to you to try to stop them."
The Sooners (12-0, 8-0 Big 12) finished off its 10th unbeaten regular season in 65 years and need only to win the Big 12 title game on Dec. 6 in Kansas City to assure a Sugar Bowl bid.
Oklahoma, which last went unbeaten during its national championship season in 2000, has won 13 straight games -- the longest current streak in Division I-A.
Tech (7-5, 4-4) entered the game as the nation's top offense by more than 80 yards, and Symons was poised to break Ty Detmer's 13-year-old NCAA Division I-A single-season record for passing yards.
Oklahoma hadn't allowed a touchdown in three straight games and boasted the nation's top-scoring offense.
An intriguing matchup on paper turned into yet another Sooners' rout.
Whether it was the swirling West Texas wind or Oklahoma's relentless pass rush, Tech couldn't keep pace with the high-scoring Sooners, who surpassed the 50-point mark for a school-record seventh time this season.
Oklahoma co-defensive coordinator Mike Stoops, who's rumored to be front-runner for the head coaching job at Arizona, put the clamps on Tech's pass-happy offense for the fourth-straight year.
Symons broke Detmer's mark in the second quarter, but finished with a season-low 230 yards on 31-of-53 passing. The 6-foot-1 senior, hobbled by a knee injury, threw 10 interceptions in his final two home games.
"He, along with 12 other people failed to make routine plays," Tech coach Mike Leach said. "Apparently he wasn't coached well enough to do that, at least not this week."
Texas Tech has been held to an average of 16 points and 293 yards in four straight losses against the Sooners, well below its averages of 36 points and 465 yards over that four-year span.
"Not everyone can run the zone as effectively as Oklahoma," Symons said. "They run the zone to perfection. If everyone could run zone against us like OU, they probably would."
The Red Raiders trailed 14-10, the crowd of 53,135 was buzzing over the potential for a huge upset and Symons had finally found his groove.
From then on, little else went right for Symons or Tech.
Oklahoma scored three touchdowns -- two following Symons interceptions -- in less than 2½ minutes to turn the game into yet another rout for the Sooners.
White threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Jones to give the Sooners a 21-10 lead with 2:45 left in the half.
Then Symons was intercepted on consecutive plays deep in his own territory, with each turnover followed by Kejuan Jones touchdown runs to give Oklahoma a 35-10 halftime lead.
"Those turnovers were huge," White said. "Anytime you don't have to go very far to get in the end zone, it's great. (The defense) really came up with some big plays right before halftime."
On Tech's first possession of the third quarter, the Red Raiders marched down the field on a 13-play drive before facing fourth-and-9 from the 13.
Symons was then picked off in the end zone by Strait, who zig-zagged his way through would-be tacklers for a 97-yard return down to the Tech 3.
"We probably did get a little greedy at times," Symons said. "You can always second guess."
A few plays later, Jones rushed for his third touchdown of the day.
Tech, however, got off to a surprisingly fast start against Oklahoma.
The Sooners were forced to punt on its opening possession, and the ball got caught up in the wind gusts swooping through Jones SBC Stadium, going out of bounds at the Oklahoma 45.
Tech went up 3-0 on Keith Toogood's 31-yard field goal about six minutes into the game, only the second time the Sooners have trailed this season.
But Oklahoma responded with an 80-yard, seven-play drive capped by White's 28-yard touchdown pass to Travis Wilson.
On their next possession, the Sooners extended their lead to 14-3 on Clayton's 14-yard over-the-shoulder catch from White.
This season, Oklahoma beat its five Big 12 South foes -- Texas, Texas A&M, Tech, Baylor and Oklahoma State -- by a combined score of 291-50.