Originally created 11/24/03

Stoops has probably created last game plan for the Sooners



LUBBOCK, Texas -- Oklahoma will miss co-defensive coordinator Mike Stoops should he decide to head west. Texas Tech sure won't.

For the fourth straight year, Stoops came up with another masterful game plan that baffled the nation's most prolific offense in the No. 1 Sooners' 56-25 rout of Texas Tech on Saturday.

Oklahoma's relentless defense intercepted five of Tech quarterback B.J. Symons' passes, held him to a season-low 230 yards and, though it registered no sacks, kept the record-setting senior on the run all afternoon.

"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 Sooners (12-0, 8-0 Big 12) finished off their 10th unbeaten regular season in 65 years and need only to defeat No. 14 Kansas State in 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.

That's a credit to the nation's top-ranked defense and Stoops, who has emerged as the top candidate for the University of Arizona head coaching job. Stoops is one of five candidates Arizona plans to interview.

After the game, he admitted the speculation about a job change had muddled an already difficult week.

"You have to separate it, but I'm not going to say it wasn't a long week," Stoops said. "And the magnitude of the game, the stress they put on your defense, that just added to it."

No team probably wants to see Stoops go to Arizona like the Red Raiders (7-5, 4-4).

Texas Tech has been held to an average of 16 points and 293 yards in four straight losses against the Sooners, well below its average of 36 points and 465 yards over that four-year span.

"What we did to them the last (four) years was pretty remarkable," Stoops said.

Symons broke Ty Detmer's 13-year-old NCAA Division I-A record for passing yards in a single season on a 15-yard pass to Nehemiah Glover midway through the second quarter.

Three plays later, Symons threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Wes Welker that cut Oklahoma's lead to 14-10.

Little else went right for the Red Raiders after that.

Oklahoma scored three touchdowns in less than 2 1/2 minutes to turn the game into yet another rout for the Sooners. In fact, Oklahoma quarterback Jason White and the high-scoring Sooners completely upstaged the vaunted Tech offense.

White threw for 394 yards and four touchdowns, Kejuan Jones scored five TDs and Mark Clayton caught eight passes for 130 yards and a score.

White's 27-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Jones gave Oklahoma 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."

Mike Stoops, though, has probably created his last game plan for the Sooners.

The committee indicated it would like to make a hire by Dec. 1, meaning Stoops likely wouldn't play a major role in preparing the Sooners for the Big 12 title game. Stoops has said that if he took a new job, he'd likely start working for his new school rather than stay on through the bowl season.

It's a day that his older brother and coaching partner for nine seasons - four years at Kansas State and five at Oklahoma - has reluctantly been preparing for.

"I'm smart enough to know there's a chance we'll lose him," OU head coach Bob Stoops said. "He's more than ready and capable."

The Red Raiders can testify to that.