7:00 PM ET, September 23, 2006
Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, NORMAN, OK
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- Oklahoma left nothing to the replay officials this time.
Adrian Peterson scored three touchdowns, Malcolm Kelly set a school record for receiving in a brilliant first quarter and the 17th-ranked Sooners scored 45 points in the first half on their way to a 59-0 win against Middle Tennessee on Saturday night.
"Our attitude was to come out and dominate," Peterson said. "That's what we did."
Paul Thompson threw for 257 yards and three touchdowns for the Sooners (3-1), who left nothing to chance after a 34-33 loss last week to Oregon that the Pac-10 Conference later said was affected by an incorrect call.
"That game has been behind us," Peterson said. "We've got to focus. It feels good to come out the next week and put 59 points on the board and a goose-egg."
Not that Middle Tennessee (2-2) did much to help itself.
The Blue Raiders turned the ball over four times in the first half, leading to three of Oklahoma's six first-half touchdowns.
The Sooners had at least a field goal on each of their first four possessions and Zach Latimer intercepted a pass by Clint Marks and returned it 22 yards for a touchdown. They were only stopped when coach Bob Stoops went for it on fourth-and-11 at the Middle Tennessee 29 instead of having kicker Garrett Hartley try a field goal of about 46 yards midway through the second quarter.
"We were excited," Thompson said. "We definitely put what happened last week in the past behind us and we're moving forward. This was definitely a good game to help us move forward and I think it did."
Peterson scored on runs of 3, 2 and 7 yards, with the last one giving Oklahoma its 45-0 edge at halftime. He finished with 128 yards on 27 carries, leaving after Oklahoma went up 52-0 on its first possession after halftime.
"Sure, you'd like to have him have 200 yards in the end. He didn't want to come out, of course. I had to convince him. I said, `Listen. What really matters here is your health, having you here for the next game," Stoops said. "You never know if something freakish could happen."
Oklahoma hadn't scored so many points in the first half since it led Houston 49-7 on its way to a 63-13 win on Sept. 11, 2004. It was the Sooners' largest halftime lead since Nov. 8, 2003, when they were up 49-0 against Texas A&M in a game that ended 77-0.
Reggie Smith added a score on a 61-yard punt return early in the fourth quarter, and most of the Sooners' starters didn't play again after that.
"We understand that we're going to see stiffer and tougher competition as we go, but it's pleasing to go out and to not have penalties, to take care of the football ... and to not have the breakdowns that you can have regardless of who you're playing," Stoops said. "That's what we were shooting for."
Next up for the Sooners is a meeting with No. 7 Texas in two weeks in Dallas.
Middle Tennessee was coming off a 44-0 shutout of Tennessee Tech, its most lopsided win in nearly five years, and followed that with one of the most overwhelming defeats in school history.
The margin of defeat was Middle Tennessee's largest since moving to Division I-A in 1999. Only a 69-0 loss to Vanderbilt in 1926 and a 70-7 loss at Murray State in 1933 were more lopsided.
"We killed ourselves in the first half," Middle Tennessee coach Rick Stockstill said. "We dropped the ball on the opening kickoff. We put the ball on the ground, and you just can't do that against a team like Oklahoma.
"We killed ourselves. I mean, they had a lot to do with it, but we killed ourselves early with turnovers."
Kelly, the player who was interfered with on Oregon's onside kick last week, finished with 164 yards receiving to tie the fifth-highest total in Oklahoma history. He caught an 18-yard touchdown pass and set up Peterson's first score with a 73-yard reception on a play-action pass. He had 134 yards receiving by the end of the first quarter, breaking the school record for receiving in a quarter set by John Flynn against Colorado on Nov. 3, 1962. Flynn had 128 yards receiving in the second quarter.
Kelly had all of his receptions in the first half and was two yards shy of Oklahoma's record for receiving in a half, set by current Baltimore Ravens receiver Mark Clayton in the 2003 game against Texas A&M.
Thompson, making his fifth career start at quarterback, set a career-high with the three touchdown passes -- also connecting with Jermaine Gresham on a 22-yard score and Juaquin Iglesias on a 15-yard throw.
The Blue Raiders had only 95 total yards, with quarterbacks Joe Craddock and Clint Marks combining for 73 yards on 6-for-20 passing.
"This is what we're capable of doing," Latimer said. "We know we're capable of doing it. We just need to have good weeks of practice and stop messing around when we get out there because it's a little here and a little there."
Only two plays were reviewed during the game, and neither one had any bearing on the outcome.
The first went in Oklahoma's favor, confirming a ruling that a tipped pass from Thompson hit the ground before Middle Tennessee cornerback Roy Polite cradled it for a near-interception.
The second confirmed that Nic Harris went out of bounds at the 1-yard line and did not score after intercepting a Craddock pass in the second half.
Oklahoma was unable to capitalize on that turnover, as backup tailback Allen Patrick fumbled.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Before it began. Oklahoma dominated out of the gates, scoring early and often, and holding the Blue Raiders scoreless throughout.
Gameball goes to... Adrian Peterson and Paul Thompson. The duo combined for six touchdowns and 381 yards (OU finished with 455 total yards).
Stat of the game... 7: Middle Tennessee mustered just seven first downs, barely edging out the number of turnovers it accumulated (5).
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||1-11||4-9|
|4th Down Conversions||0-1||1-2|
|FG||10:54||GARRETT HARTLEY 28 YD FG|
Drive info: 7 plays, 27 yards.
|TD||6:37||MALCOLM KELLY 18 YD PASS FROM PAUL THOMPSON (GARRETT HARTLEY KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 48 yards.
|TD||3:28||ADRIAN PETERSON 3 YD RUN (GARRETT HARTLEY KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 76 yards.
|TD||2:58||ZACH LATIMER 22 YD INTERCEPTION RETURN (GARRETT HARTLEY KICK)||0||24|
|TD||14:56||ADRIAN PETERSON 2 YD RUN (GARRETT HARTLEY KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 62 yards.
|TD||5:22||JERMAINE GRESHAM 22 YD PASS FROM PAUL THOMPSON (GARRETT HARTLEY KICK)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 52 yards.
|TD||2:32||ADRIAN PETERSON 7 YD RUN (GARRETT HARTLEY KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 24 yards.
|TD||12:37||JUAQUIN IGLESIAS 15 YD PASS FROM PAUL THOMPSON (GARRETT HARTLEY KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 67 yards.
|TD||12:55||REGGIE SMITH 61 YD PUNT RETURN (GARRETT HARTLEY KICK)||0||59|