Oklahoma found out Saturday that it can play with the big boys.
The 17th-ranked Sooners owned the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and defeated fifth-ranked Texas A&M;, 44-14, for their first victory against a top-five team in six seasons.
“It’s a big win. I don’t think we can understate it,” Oklahoma Coach Gary Gibbs said. “It’s a big win against a top-notch football team.”
Cale Gundy passed for two touchdowns and ran for another, Scott Blanton kicked three field goals and the defense came up with five interceptions to hand the Aggies their worst loss since 1988, when they were defeated by Oklahoma State, 52-15.
“To be a dominant team, you not only have to play a half or three quarters, but you have to play four quarters,” Gundy said. “To win big games like this, to beat big teams, powerhouses, that’s what you’ve got to do.
“Overall what our coaches wanted us to do was be tougher than the other team.”
Texas A&M; (1-1) had won 22 consecutive regular-season games and had rushed for at least 200 yards in seven consecutive games. Both those streaks came to an end during a mistake-filled afternoon.
“OU stopped us dramatically, I would say,” Aggie Coach R.C. Slocum said. “It was a thorough win for them. We had a chance to play defense with them, but our defense was on the field too long.”
Oklahoma got two field goals from Blanton and an eight-yard touchdown pass from Gundy to Corey Warren to take a 13-0 lead. Texas A&M; made the first big play of the day, recovering a fumble at the Sooners’ 23-yard line midway through the first quarter, but Corey Pullig’s pass was intercepted three plays later.
It proved to be a harbinger. Pullig wound up completing nine of 20 passes for 84 yards, with three interceptions.
In the first half, the Aggies were outgained, 260 yards to 71.
“Offensively, we started off poorly,” Slocum said. “We had difficulty running the football.”
Rodney Thomas, who rushed for 201 yards during a 24-0 victory over Louisiana State last week, ran for only 31 in the first half against Oklahoma. He finished with 106 and two touchdowns in 22 carries, but he wasn’t able to break out until after the Sooners had gone ahead, 20-0.
“In the second half, Rodney made a couple individual runs and kind of got them back in the ballgame,” Gibbs said. “But we just continued to answer the challenge.”
Oklahoma hadn’t defeated a top-five team since 1987, when it beat then-No. 1-ranked Nebraska.