No. 4 Oklahoma defeats Louisiana Tech 48-16

NORMAN, Okla. -- Oklahoma left the impression it desired in a season-opening blowout over Louisiana Tech.

Trevor Knight passed for 253 yards and a touchdown and Keith Ford had 116 yards from scrimmage and scored two touchdowns to help the fourth-ranked Sooners beat the Bulldogs 48-16 on Saturday night.

The Sooners got everyone's attention with their Sugar Bowl win over Alabama to end last season, and they wanted to make it clear that they really are that good. The Sooners rolled to a 31-0 lead in the second quarter.

"That's what we want to do," receiver Sterling Shepard said. "We want to come out and make a statement. A lot of people thought we were flukes, so we want to come out this season and show everybody that we're the team that we looked like (against Alabama)."

Ford ran for 51 yards and caught four passes for 65 yards for the Sooners. Samaje Perine ran for 77 yards and a touchdown and Alex Ross rushed for two scores.

Zack Sanchez led Oklahoma's defense with an interception and a blocked field goal.

Oklahoma linebacker Jordan Evans was ejected in the second quarter for targeting when he tried to make a play against quarterback Cody Sokol. Big 12 referee Dan Romeo explained the call after the game.

"The official that made the call felt like the quarterback was sliding, was giving himself up as a participant in the play, which made him defenseless," Romeo said. "The defender lowered his head. He initiated forceful contact by leading with the helmet and contacting the quarterback's helmet."

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops wasn't ready to say whether he agreed with the call.

"That was tough," he said. "That's a tough part of the game. I'll have to see it and replay it. It was different. I'll visit with the league and our officials. Our officials do a great job. I'll get some clarification and have it be a learning point for our players. Some are tough, thought. It's a bang-bang thing sometimes how they happen."

Sokol, an Iowa transfer, passed for 191 yards and two touchdowns.

"We had a quarterback making his first collegiate start," Louisiana Tech coach Skip Holtz said. "I thought it showed early. I thought he was a little bit nervous, very uncharacteristic of the way he's played in camp. He missed some open receivers."

Knight, on the other hand, looked like the Sugar Bowl MVP. On Oklahoma's first drive, he bought time and flipped an 8-yard completion to Dimitri Flowers on fourth-and-2, then Ford rumbled 22 yards down the left sideline on the next play to open the scoring.

Knight found Shepard for a 16-yard touchdown on Oklahoma's second possession to put the Sooners up 14-0. Shepard, who finished with four catches for 49 yards, passed his late father, Derrick Shepard, on the school's career receiving yardage list.

Late in the first quarter, after Evans was ejected, Sanchez blocked a field goal to give the Sooners good field position. Oklahoma took advantage with a 5-yard touchdown run by Ford that pushed the lead to 21-0 with 33 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

After Sanchez intercepted Sokol, Michael Hunnicutt's 39-yard field goal pushed the Sooners' lead to 24-0 early in the second quarter.

After Ross scored again, Tech finally got on the board when Jonathan Barnes made a 36-yard field goal with four seconds left in the first half to trim Oklahoma's lead to 31-3 at halftime.

Oklahoma held the Bulldogs to 89 yards in the first half, and Tech got 56 of them on their final possession before the break. The Sooners gained 270 yards in the first half and scored on all but one possession before the break.

Ford hauled in a 28-yard pass and held on after taking a vicious hit.

"He gathered the ball, took care of it, took the big lick," Stoops said. "He can do that. He's got a lot of power to him to take it, too."

Ross capped the possession with an 8-yard touchdown run to push the Sooners ahead 38-3.

"I'm proud of the way we started, and then we kept going and kept going and kept going," Knight said.


Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP


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