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Oklahoma rolls to Big 12 crown

Sooners running back Quentin Griffin sets the championship-game rushing record with 188 yards in the 29-7 rout.

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 8, 2002


HOUSTON -- With no national championship berth on the line, Oklahoma and Colorado didn't pack the house -- 63,332 -- for Saturday night's Big 12 title game.

At least the Sooners are headed for one of the coveted Bowl Championship Series spots, a nice consolation prize for missing out on the Fiesta Bowl.

Nate Hybl threw two touchdowns and Quentin Griffin rushed for a championship game-record 188 yards and two touchdowns as the eighth-ranked Sooners beat the 12th-ranked Buffaloes 29-7 to win the Big 12 title for the second time in three years.

The victory probably will send Oklahoma (11-2) to the Rose Bowl against Washington State (10-2).

The Sooners beat Kansas State for the Big 12 title in 2000 before beating Florida State for the national championship in the Orange Bowl.

Brian Calhoun, starting for injured running back Chris Brown, ran for 122 yards for the Buffaloes, who were trying to become the first back-to-back Big 12 champions after last year's 39-37 victory over Texas.

Hybl threw touchdowns of 3 yards to Trent Smith in the first quarter and 21 yards to Mark Clayton in the second quarter as the Sooners took a 13-0 halftime lead.

Colorado kicker Pat Brougham missed field goals of 41 and 32 in the first half and 33 yards in the third quarter.

Jeremy Bloom gave Colorado brief hope early in the third quarter with an 80-yard punt, cutting Oklahoma's lead to 13-7.

The Sooners then scored 16 straight points to ice it.

Griffin laid the groundwork for the Sooners in the first half. He had 41 yards on six carries leading to Hybl's touchdown to Smith on third down late in the first quarter. Smith caught a perfectly lofted pass in the back of the end zone.

A 15-yard screen from Hybl to Griffin and a 15-yard penalty helped the Sooners take a 13-0 lead with 9:38 to go in the second quarter.

This time, Hyble threw the touchdown to Clayton, running ahead of cornerback Donald Strickland in the end zone. Phil Jackson blocked the PAT attempt by Trey DiCarlo.

Colorado reached Oklahoma's 23-yard line with its first drive before Brougham's 41-yarder was wide right. His 32-yarder also was wide right in the closing minutes of the second quarter.

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