Perkins: Three punt returns for TDs


NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- Antonio Perkins needed just five more yards
on punt returns to go into the NCAA record book. UCLA was
determined not to let him get the ball anymore.

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops made sure he let Perkins' teammates
know it.

"We had a talking to," Stoops said of his huddle with the punt
return unit late in the second half. "(Perkins) has an incredible
knack, and the guys really hustled for him."

Perkins returned his final punt of the day 65 yards for a
touchdown late in the fourth quarter, giving him 277 yards and
three scores on seven returns to break two NCAA records as
Oklahoma (No. 1 ESPN/USA Today, No. 1 AP) routed UCLA 59-24 on Saturday.

Perkins, who came into the game with only 80 yards on 13 punt
returns, also had returns of 74 and 84 yards to become the first
Division I-A player to score on three returns in a game.

Perkins also broke the mark of 219 yards on punt returns set by
BYU's Golden Richards against North Texas in 1971.

"It's great to help the team win and it means a great deal to
me, too," Perkins said. "Only my name goes down in the record
book but I wish that the whole punt return unit could go down in
the books also."

Jason White threw two touchdown passes, and Renaldo Works ran
for two more scores as Oklahoma (4-0) completed a sweep of its
nonconference schedule for the fourth straight season, the first
time that's happened in school history. The Sooners have won 18
straight nonconference games.

Late in the first quarter, UCLA (1-2) silenced the school-record
crowd of 83,317 when linebacker Spencer Havner intercepted White's
pass. Havner ran the ball 72 yards to the Oklahoma 6, and Manuel
White scored on an 11-yard run on the next play following a

The Bruins led 10-7 -- the first time Oklahoma has trailed all

But the momentum shifted on Perkins' electrifying 74-yard return
for a touchdown early in the second quarter.

Perkins caught the ball at the 26, spun away from the first
defender, cut up the middle, then outran the punter to the left
sideline and sprinted to the end zone.

His second touchdown came after punter Chris Kluwe kicked the
ball well ahead of the coverage. Perkins slipped a few tackles and
had nothing but open field ahead the last 40 yards.

Perkins did it again late in the fourth quarter, sprinting 65
yards down the right sideline and into the record book.

Kluwe tried kicking away from Perkins after his second
touchdown, eliciting a chorus of boos from the crowd. The Bruins
also tried other tactics: Mil'Von James hit Perkins as he fielded a
punt late in the third quarter, drawing a 15-yard penalty.

"We tried to make adjustments," first-year UCLA coach Karl
Dorrell said. "Our directional kicking wasn't far enough to the
sides of the field and we got caught. We made (Perkins) look like a
great player today."

The Bruins couldn't make much of a dent in an Oklahoma defense
that was missing starters Lance Mitchell and Derrick Strait.
Mitchell is out for the season with a knee injury, while Strait had
his streak of 43 consecutive starts snapped because of a pulled
left thigh muscle.

Sophomore quarterback Drew Olson, making only his third career
start for UCLA, stuck mostly to dumpoffs and screens to slow down
the Sooners' pass rush. Olson finished 18-of-34 for 144 yards with
two interceptions.

"We were messing up our assignments," Manuel White said.
"They also made plays to stop us. It was very demoralizing how
they controlled the game on defense and special teams."

UCLA was still within striking distance after halftime, down
only 28-10.

But on UCLA's first play of the second half, Olson fumbled the
ball on a thunderous hit by Oklahoma cornerback Eric Bassey. The
ball popped up into the hands of Sooners defensive tackle Tommie
Harris, who rumbled 14 yards to the 30.

"I really felt like I was dreaming," Harris said. "I tried to
do the best I could have done with it, but it didn't turn out the
way I wanted it to."

Three plays later, White hit reserve tight end Lance Donley for
a 22-yard touchdown pass that all but sealed the win.

Later in the third quarter, UCLA freshman Maurice Drew scored on
1-yard touchdown run and a 91-yard kickoff return.

Dorrell's return to Norman as a Bruin went about as well as his
last trip in 1986. As a senior receiver at UCLA, Dorrell and the
Bruins were held to 155 yards of offense in a 38-3 loss to a No. 1
Oklahoma team coached by Barry Switzer and led by Brian Bosworth.

UCLA still hasn't beaten a top-ranked team since 1976, when the
Bruins beat Ohio State in the Rose Bowl. The Bruins are 4-8 overall
against No. 1 teams.

Oklahoma ran its home record to 31-0 when ranked No. 1. The
Sooners are off next week and don't play in Norman again until Oct.
18 against Missouri.


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