No. 8 Oklahoma beats Cincinnati 31-29By JOE KAY, AP Sports Writer Saturday, Sep 25, 2010
CINCINNATI (AP)—Landry Jones’ only mistake left eighth-ranked Oklahoma sweating one out at the end.
Nothing new about that for the unbeaten Sooners.
Jones ran an Oklahoma offense moving so fast that Cincinnati couldn’t even line up at times, throwing for 370 yards and two touchdowns, and the Sooners withstood a late Bearcats rally for a 31-29 win on Saturday.
Jones’ only interception set up a Cincinnati touchdown that kept it close right to the end, following a season-long pattern. The Sooners (4-0) have won three games by a touchdown or less.
“I felt like every time they made a big play, we came out and answered,” said Jones, who completed a career-high 36 passes in 51 attempts for 370 yards and a pair of touchdowns. “I had one pick in fourth quarter that hurt us pretty bad and could have cost us the game, but it didn’t. We’re a tough team. When things get close, we buckle down and make plays.”
Cincinnati (1-3) made way too many bad ones.
Jones’ interception set up Zach Collaros’ 36-yard touchdown pass to D.J. Woods, cutting it to 24-22 with 9:45 left. Woods then fumbled a punt at Cincinnati’s 7, setting up Jones’ clinching touchdown pass.
“D.J. Woods gets injured and comes back,” coach Butch Jones said. “His heart has a competitive nature. D.J. also made a couple big plays for us. We stress ball security. He knows that. I’ll live and die with D.J. Woods.”
Woods also fumbled at the 5-yard line at the end of a long run-and-catch in the first half, part of a self-destructive showing by the two-time defending Big East champions. Cincinnati is off to its worst start in four years.
“We had some definite good fortune, especially at the end,” coach Bob Stoops said. “We didn’t have any lead that you felt was comfortable. We just got outplayed at times.”
Again, they were just good enough. The Sooners are 4-0 for the first time in two years, heading into their next game Oct. 2 against No. 7 Texas, which lost on its home field to UCLA 34-12 on Saturday.
“It was a good win, it’s nice to be 4-0, but we’ve got to play better,” defensive end Jeremy Beal said.
Ryan Broyles had his seventh straight 100-yard receiving game, looking good on the NFL field where favorite Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco—who wears the same No. 85—struts his stuff. He also recovered an onside kick that sealed it after the Bearcats drove for a touchdown with 58 seconds left. third touchdown pass with 58 seconds left.
Collaros finished 23 of 38 for 305 yards. He also threw an interception in the end zone—his first this season—and fumbled as part of the Bearcats’ four-turnover game.
“I knew we could play with these guys,” said Cincinnati’s Isaiah Pead, who ran for 169 yards. “We need to stop beating ourselves. As a team, we left everything out there. We gave them our best punch. I think we took their will early. I think we were the better team today. Instead of beating them, we beat ourselves.”
Oklahoma hit the road for the first time this season, trying to shake out of its troubles away from home. The Sooners have been nearly invincible in Norman, winning 33 in a row, but had been ordinary when out of town, dropping five of their last seven.
Jones broke the streak with an extraordinary performance.
He completed 13 consecutive passes on two early touchdown drives, getting Oklahoma’s offense moving in overdrive. Twice, the Bearcats failed to get lined up before Jones called for the snap. His 5-yard touchdown pass to Broyles— uncovered in the back of the end zone—made it 14-3.
Looked awfully familiar to Cincinnati.
Broyles got his stellar career started against the Bearcats. He made his collegiate debut during a 52-26 win over Cincinnati in Oklahoma in 2008, setting a school freshman record with 141 yards on seven catches.
“That guy’s amazing,” Stoops said. “He’s an amazing player and a special player.”
The Sooners moved the ball consistently but self-destructed in the first half as well. Jimmy Stevens missed a field goal, and uncovered receiver Cameron Kenney had a pass slip through his hands in the end zone, forcing the Sooners to settle for a field goal.
Oklahoma’s defense had a lot of good moments that offset the bad ones.
Cincinnati drove to a first-and-goal at the 2 on its opening drive, but had to settle for a field goal, starting some grumbling in the less-than-capacity crowd of 58,253 at Paul Brown Stadium.
Safety Jonathan Nelson had two huge plays in the opening half. He ran down Woods at the end of a 73-yard catch-and-run, punching the ball loose at the 5-yard line. It rolled into the end zone and the Sooners recovered.
Nelson also intercepted a pass in the end zone late in the first half, the first time that Collaros was picked off this season. The two heady plays helped the Sooners take a 17-9 lead into halftime.