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Forcing Weinke's fumble one key play

MIAMI -- The Sooners said this was just their regular defense.

The scoreboard said something entirely different.

Chris Weinke
The game turned decidedly in OU's favor when Rocky Calmus forced Chris Weinke to fumble at the FSU 10-yard line.

Oklahoma won the national championship in the FedEx Orange Bowl thanks to a defense that did the unthinkable, shutting out the Florida State offense for the first time since 1988.

"I was shocked," said FSU coach Bobby Bowden. "They whipped us on the running game and whipped up bad. I would have never thought they could do it."

No one did. Except Oklahoma, 13-2 winners when the night was over.

That's why even though the Sooners were winning 6-0 midway through the fourth quarter and the Seminoles were on their own 10-yard line, it seemed like any minute they would make the play to take control of the game.

The play was made, but it was by the Oklahoma defense. Cornerback Ontei Jones blitzed, leapt and narrowly missed FSU quarterback Chris Weinke, who took off running up the middle of the field. OU linebacker Rocky Calmus then tackled Weinke from behind, popping the ball loose and Roy Williams jumped on it for Oklahoma.

Two plays later, Quentin Griffin ran 10 yards for the back-breaking touchdown.

"It was our regular defense. I blitzed, came free and jumped, but Weinke made a good play to get free, but my teammates took over from there," Jones said. "It went good for us."

Just like everything else did Wednesday night for Oklahoma. The Sooners shut down the offense that was ranked No 1 in passing and total offense and No. 3 in scoring offense in the nation. This is an offense that does the intimidating, not the other way around.

"They started getting confused after we hit them in the mouth. They're not used to that," said defensive back J.T. Thatcher. "They usually scare other teams, so they weren't used to that."

And while the Sooners defense won't say they played the perfect game -- modesty or fear of coach Bob Stoops prevents that -- don't think they didn't know what was going on.

"Every call we had on defense went according to plan," Thatcher said. "It's a great feeling to know they can't stop you if you execute. We focused on the prize and that was the national championship. We wanted it more and did what we had to do."

And that was nothing new to the Sooners.

Unbeaten Sooners end No. 1 debate at Orange Bowl

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