3:30 PM ET, October 12, 2002
Cotton Bowl, DALLAS, TX
DALLAS (AP) -- Just as the Red River shootout started to slip away from the Oklahoma Sooners, Quentin Griffin ran to the rescue -- and all over the Texas Longhorns.
Andre Woolfolk snares this interception for the Sooners.
Griffin scooped up a loose ball and scored the go-ahead touchdown, ran 17 yards for the game-clinching score with 3:02 left and finished with a career-high 248 yards to carry the Sooners (No. 3 ESPN/USA Today, No. 2 AP) to a 35-24 victory over the Longhorns (No. 2 ESPN/USA Today, No. 3 AP) on Saturday.
"Quentin had an incredible day. I think he really likes to play Texas,'' Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said, referring to Griffin's six-TD day against the Longhorns in 2000.
Oklahoma (6-0, 2-0 Big 12) beat its Red River rival for the third straight time, but this one was the toughest yet.
The Sooners trailed by 11 in the second quarter and were behind at halftime for the first time since the 1999 Independence Bowl, but they rallied with 24 unanswered points.
"I knew if we kept executing, something would give,'' Sooners tight end Trent Smith said. "This is what we prepared for all week long. We had the confidence.''
Texas (5-1, 1-1) got its first three scores, and a 17-11 lead, by making the most of Nate Hybl's interceptions. Otherwise, the Longhorns couldn't do much.
Coach Mack Brown fell to 2-7 against top-10 teams, and quarterback Chris Simms lost his fourth straight. Simms was 12-of-26 for 156 yards with three interceptions and four sacks, including one on the game's final play. He's committed 15 turnovers in games against top-10 teams.
"It has nothing to do with Chris and I; it's about the team,'' Brown said. "Any time you lost to OU, it's disappointing.''
What hurt the Longhorns more than Simms' interceptions was his inability to get the offense going in the second half.
Texas got a first down on its second play of the third quarter, then didn't get another until there was 2:43 left. In between, the Longhorns went from being ahead 14-11 to trailing 35-17.
The Sooners' big rally got going in earnest following Simms' third interception.
Hybl threw a third-and-goal pass from the 6 to Will Peoples in the right flat. Linebacker Reed Boyd forced the ball out just shy of the goal line, but Griffin was right there. He scooped it up and walked in for an easy touchdown that put OU ahead for the first time, 21-17, early in the fourth quarter.
The Sooners scored again on their next possession, getting a 3-yard TD run by Kejuan Jones after Hybl and Peoples connected on another clutch play.
Then it was back to Griffin. On OU's next drive, he carried on all four plays for 59 yards, capped by his 17-yarder that made it 35-17. When the Longhorns got the ball back, Sooners fans greeted them with chants of "Over-rated.''
Griffin, who had a school-record six TDs in OU's 63-14 victory two years ago, was wonderful from the start. He ran nine times for 117 yards in the first quarter against a Texas defense that hadn't allowed a 100-yard runner all season.
He was held to 29 yards in the middle two quarters, then had 102 in the final period.
His success should've made things easier for Hybl, but the senior struggled.
After not throwing an interception on his last 148 passes, he was picked off on his fifth, 13th and 19th throws. He finished 12-of-29 for 131 yards.
Simms wasn't any better.
Simms scored on a 1-yard plunge following Hybl's first interception, and the second was returned 73 yards by Rod Babers for a 14-3 Texas lead.
The Sooners looked likely to go into halftime trailing by that margin, but Antwone Savage returned a kickoff 81 yards to the Texas 16. The Longhorns helped keep OU's drive alive with a false start on fourth-and-2, then Hybl threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Trent Smith. Hybl then lobbed a 2-point conversion pass to Curtis Fagan to make it 14-11.
Hybl again proved to be Texas' best offensive weapon as his third interception put the Longhorns on the Oklahoma 21. They settled for a 36-yard field goal by Dusty Mangum to go up 17-11. A 37-yard field goal by DiCarlo got the Sooners back within three. He also had a 29-yarder in the first half.
Simms scored Texas' final touchdown on another 1-yard dive, but it was too little, too late.
The Sooners have their first three-game win streak in the 97-game rivalry since winning four in a row from 1985-88. Texas leads overall, 55-37-6.