Sooners show balance in win over Mizzou

Updated: October 19, 2003, 3:45 PM ET

NORMAN, Okla. -- Brad Smith was running wild and Oklahoma couldn't do much about it.

The Missouri quarterback was giving the Sooners fits Saturday night, just as he did last year when he rolled up nearly 400 yards and three touchdowns as the Tigers nearly pulled off the upset in a 31-24 loss.

But these are not last year's Sooners.

Oklahoma leaned on the nation's highest-scoring offense until its vaunted defense came around and Antonio Perkins tied a Division I-A record with his seventh career punt return for a touchdown as the top-ranked Sooners beat No. 24 Missouri 34-13 on Saturday night.

"That's great -- it shows equal opportunities for an offense to have your back in the first half and then in the second half the defense took over," said defensive tackle Tommie Harris, who had four quarterback hurries. "You don't have that many teams that can do a 50-50. It shows how balanced we are."

With the first BCS standings set to be released Monday, Oklahoma (7-0, 3-0 Big 12) offered more proof of its dominance on an off-night against a Missouri team that had knocked off a Top 10 team the week before.

Smith had 192 yards of offense against the nation's third-ranked defense in the first half, including a 26-yard run early in the second quarter to make it 10-10 -- only the second time Oklahoma has been tied all season.

The homecoming crowd of 83,327 -- which broke the OU attendance mark for a fourth-straight game -- sat in stunned silence as the Tigers (5-2, 1-2) looked poised to follow up on last week's 41-24 upset of Nebraska.

Then, the Sooners' offense took over.

In the final seven minutes of the first half, White threw both of his touchdown passes and Perkins ran back a punt 69 yards with 1:02 left to give Oklahoma a 31-10 lead.

That score left Missouri noticeably deflated as the Sooners whooped their way into the locker room for halftime while many of the Tigers slowly jogged off the field.

"We didn't handle the emotion and the intensity of an impact play," Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. "They can strike fast and hard. Most teams they put 60 (points) on."

The touchdown return was Perkins' fourth this season and seventh of his career, both equaling Division I-A records. The junior cornerback broke a single-game mark against UCLA earlier this season with three returns for score.

"What a special young man," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. "He just has an incredible ability and showed it again tonight. You just hold your breath every time he has (the ball)."

White, the nation's leader in pass efficiency, also got the Sooners going.

His first touchdown pass was an up-for-grabs toss into the end zone that Mark Clayton wrestled away from safety Nino Williams. The other went to Jejuan Rankins on a fourth-and-6 play from Missouri's 30 with 2:40 left in the half.

"We were kind of hanging in the balance and going back and forth," said Clayton, who finished with eight catches for 110 yards. "We needed a big play and a spark or something."

The big plays eventually stopped for Smith and the Tigers -- the Sooners held them to just 84 yards and five first downs in the second half.

Smith was battered around so much -- he was sacked five times, including three straight on his final series -- that he was taken out for Missouri's final two possessions of the game.

"We couldn't do anything against their defense," Pinkel said. "Standing on the sidelines, you really get a feel of just how good and just how much speed they have. They're a team without weaknesses."

Here's how good the Sooners have been this season: Oklahoma won by 21 points over a ranked team and Stoops had to answer questions about a "letdown."

"Everything isn't going to be perfect all the time," Stoops said. "When you can get a solid win in the Big 12, you take it.

"If that's a letdown, so be it. The idea is to win, and we did that."

This story is from's automated news wire. Wire index