Oklahoma cornerback ready for Texas

Updated: October 9, 2003, 7:32 PM ET

NORMAN, Okla. -- Derrick Strait grimaced, then shook his head and started laughing.

The Oklahoma cornerback hasn't provided bulletin board material in four years and wasn't about to start now.

"Man," he said, furiously rubbing his hand across his brow. "I don't know why he would say that. I'd rather go out on the field instead of talking."

Strait was referring to comments made by Texas receiver Roy Williams, who said this summer that Oklahoma's secondary is "the weakness of their whole defense."

The answer will come Saturday at the Cotton Bowl, when No. 11 Texas (4-1, 1-0 Big 12) plays No. 1 Oklahoma (5-0, 1-0) in their annual grudge match.

Strait, from Austin, Texas, doesn't really need to say anything. He hasn't lost to the Longhorns since starting as a freshman. He has a national championship ring; Williams doesn't.

And Williams has been virtually shut down by the Sooners in the previous three games -- 11 catches, 148 yards and no touchdowns-- with Strait shadowing him much of the time.

Still, "we don't have too much to say to each other," Strait said, still shaking his head at Williams' comments.

In other Top 25 games Saturday, it's No. 2 Miami at No. 5 Florida State, No. 3 Ohio State at No. 23 Wisconsin, Syracuse at No. 4 Virginia Tech, Florida at No. 6 LSU, Auburn at No. 7 Arkansas, No. 8 Georgia at No. 13 Tennessee, Stanford at No. 9 USC, and No. 10 Nebraska at Missouri.

Also, it's Notre Dame at No. 15 Pittsburgh, No. 16 Northern Illinois at Central Michigan, Penn State at No. 18 Purdue, No. 21 Michigan State at Illinois, No. 22 Kansas State at Oklahoma State, and No. 25 Virginia at Clemson.

On Friday, No. 20 Michigan plays at No. 17 Minnesota and No. 18 TCU at South Florida.

Strait spurned hometown Texas, even though his high school was just eight miles from the campus.

"It wasn't tough to get away at all," Strait said. "I just felt comfortable at OU. I knew I could play for four years here."

He did, redshirting his first season and eventually becoming a freshman starter on Oklahoma's national title team in 2000.

Since then, the 5-foot-11, 195-pounder has established himself as one of the nation's top cornerbacks. He was an All-Big 12 pick and Thorpe Award semifinalist last season after intercepting six passes and making 68 tackles.

He's started 44 games at Oklahoma, just four starts shy of breaking the school record for all-time starts set by offensive lineman Anthony Phillips from 1985-88.

One NFL draft analyst lists Strait as the top senior cornerback prospect in next year's draft.

Even on a team full of stars and future pros, Strait stands out without talking much. He's been invited to the team's media luncheon every week and hasn't shown up for one. Despite his reluctance to be a vocal leader, Strait commands plenty of respect among his teammates.

"He's been our backbone for four straight years," co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach Mike Stoops said. "He's a great player everytime he steps on the field. The thing you love about him is that you know he's going to be there in the big games."

Though he says it's no bigger than any other game, Strait has always been at his best against the Longhorns.

He had 10 tackles against Texas as a freshman; eight tackles the next year; and five tackles and an interception in last year's 35-24 win.

"He's had to play against their best receivers," Stoops said. "He's been consistently great."

With a win Saturday, Strait could become one of just 25 Sooners lettermen in the history of the program to go 4-0 against Texas. It's a safe bet he won't brag about that to his family and friends in Austin, let alone anyone in burnt orange.

"It's easy to go home. No one gives me a hard time," Strait said. "I don't pay attention to any of that stuff. I hope I've come a long way since my high school days in Austin." ^No. 2 Miami at No. 5 Florida State<

A rare underdog, the Hurricanes (5-0) will try to find a way to hold off the Seminoles (5-0) without running back Frank Gore, out for the year with a knee injury. Jarrett Payton, whose fumble late in the game almost coast Miami a win over West Virginia, takes over.

"Normally, I go in the week just trying to figure out if I'm going to go in and get some carries," said Payton. "Now, I have to get out here and be the man."

Brock Berlin better have his arm warmed up. Last week, the Miami quarterback attempted a school-record 54 passes in the win over West Virginia.

Florida State has the nation's top scoring defense (7.4 ppg) and has held all five opponents under 300 yards total offense.< ^No. 3 Ohio State at No. 23 Wisconsin<

The Buckeyes (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten) hit the road for the first time this season when they visit the Badgers (5-1, 2-0).

Ohio State has a 19-game winning streak, including a narrow 19-14 escape against Wisconsin last year. Buckeyes quarterback Craig Krenzel, who missed the last two games with an elbow injury, is expected to play.

Wisconsin has injury woes to top tailbacks Anthony Davis and Dwayne Smith. Davis, who sprained his ankle three weeks ago, played only the first half in last week's win over Penn State. Ohio State leads the nation against the run, allowing just 217 yards rushing in five games.

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