NORMAN, Okla. (AP)—Texas A&M has a tendency to bring out record-breaking performances from Oklahoma. At least this time, the Aggies didn’t head home with the kind of embarrassment the Sooners gave them four years ago.
Jermaine Gresham matched a school record by catching four of Sam Bradford’s five touchdown passes, and No. 5 Oklahoma took sole possession of first place in the Big 12 South with a 42-14 win Saturday night.
Gresham equaled the record for TD receptions in a game set by fellow tight end Trent Smith in 2001 against Kansas. No. 4 came on a 13-yard pass by Bradford in the front corner of the end zone late in the third quarter. That put Oklahoma up 35-0 on its way to another rout of the Aggies in Norman.
“He’s huge. He’s big, he’s fast. That’s pretty much everything you’d want in a receiver,” Bradford said of the 6-foot-6 sophomore.
Four years after Oklahoma (8-1, 5-1) handed the Aggies (6-4, 3-3) their most lopsided loss ever in a 77-0 blowout, Bradford tied the school record for touchdown passes set by 2000 Heisman Trophy runner-up Josh Heupel and matched three times by 2004 Heisman Trophy winner Jason White and once earlier this season by Bradford.
The decisive win, combined with an upset loss by No. 2 Boston College and undefeated Arizona State falling at Oregon, should help the Sooners move up from sixth place in the BCS standings.
“We’ll take a win any way we can get it,” Gresham said. “The easy way, dirty, it doesn’t matter. We want the win.”
Bradford and Gresham hooked up twice, from 3 and 13 yards, before the Aggies even completed a pass and Oklahoma led 14-0 in the second quarter. Bradford found tailback Chris Brown for a 14-yard score late in the first half, and then added TD passes of 38 and 13 yards to Gresham.
“It felt pretty good, just being out there and catching touchdown passes,” Gresham said. “It was pretty fun.”
Bradford finished with 284 yards on 21-for-30 passing, and Gresham had five catches for a career-best 80 yards. Two weeks after struggling to win at Iowa State, the Sooners were superb.
“To me, it’s all about just winning,” Sooners coach Bob Stoops said. “Sometimes, I get tired of hearing that we’re supposed to play perfect all the time. To me, just winning is what you need to do. I’m never going to be dissatisified with winning any way.”
With tailback Michael Goodson, one of the three key parts of Texas A&M’s triple-option offense, held out of the first half despite being apparently healthy, the Aggies couldn’t get going. They managed only four first downs and 63 total yards in the opening half and missed out on their own chance to jump to the top of the Big 12 South standings.
A win would have allowed Texas A&M to tie Texas for first place and avenge a 17-16 loss last season in which the Sooners passed the Aggies in the standings on their way to the conference championship. Instead, Oklahoma moved past Oklahoma State, which lost to the Longhorns 38-35 earlier in the day.
Texas A&M has lost the first two games in a stretch of four straight games against ranked opponents. Their final two games are at No. 9 Missouri next week and at home against No. 14 Texas on Nov. 23.
“They need to feel the pain of this loss,” Aggies coach Dennis Franchione said. “We’ve had two tough ones back-to-back here and I think these guys feel like they can still win these last two games, and that’s the key part of it right there.”
Texas A&M finally got on the board when Stephen McGee scrambled and found Martellus Bennett in the back of the end zone for a 23-yard touchdown reception with 12:36 remaining. Bennett, also a tight end, set a school record of his own by catching a pass in his 27th consecutive game. Terrence Murphy, the school’s all-time receiving leader, held the old record with 26.
After Bennett’s touchdown, Oklahoma drained more than 8 minutes off the clock before DeMarco Murray skied in for a 2-yard TD run. The Aggies were held to about half of their 239-yard rushing average and were outgained on the ground 186-128.
Texas A&M was still only the second team to reach triple digits against Oklahoma’s third-ranked run defense.
The Sooners lost Big 12 sacks leader Auston English, who suffered a hairline fracture in his leg and limped off the field early in the second quarter and did not return. Stoops said English will likely miss one to two weeks.
That still didn’t help the Aggies get a passing game going.
McGee ended up 15-for-28 for 164 yards and also was the Aggies’ top rusher with 71 yards on 16 carries.