NORMAN, Okla. —Oklahoma hung half a hundred on Chattanooga with ease before some higher power seemed to suggest it was time to show some mercy.
Sam Bradford threw for 183 yards and two touchdowns, Chris Brown ran for three scores and only an hourlong rainstorm could slow down the fourth-ranked Sooners in a 57-2 victory against Chattanooga on Saturday night.
The Sooners converted their first seven possessions into touchdowns and led 50-0 before a thunderstorm caused a lightning delay that extended halftime by 1 hour and 12 minutes.
Oklahoma seemed to be pulling back on the reins after reaching former coach Barry Switzer’s proverbial “half a hundred,” putting fullback Matt Clapp at tailback for the next series. Dominique Franks also called for a fair catch on what seemed to be a returnable punt.
But after halftime, Oklahoma’s starters were back on the field—even if their production level fell off sharply. They managed only two first downs on their first three drives before backups started filtering in.
Bradford completed 17 of 22 passes, including a 3-yard score to Quentin Chaney and a 7-yard TD to Manuel Johnson on fade patterns. DeMarco Murray had a pair of 1-yard scoring runs, one of them following a 49-yard scamper, and finished with 124 yards on 15 carries.
Brown also had touchdown runs of 10 and 9 yards.
The Mocs scored their only points after Oklahoma’s first drive of the second half, when punter Mike Knall tracked down a bad snap in the end zone and knocked it out of bounds for a safety.
Chattanooga coach Rodney Allison talked earlier this week about hoping to make it a game into the second half, like the Mocs did last year at Arkansas, and trying to avoid injuries. Neither one worked.
Tailback Erroll Wynn, who took the place of injured starter Bryan Fitzgerald, didn’t return after getting hurt in the second quarter and starting quarterback Jare Gault came out with his right arm dangling at his side in the third quarter.
All fans were asked to leave the seating area of Owen Field during halftime, although they were told that re-entering would not be allowed if they left the stadium.
A line of fans remained on the top row of the lower deck, under the overhang of the upper level, and a dozen or so more remained near the field in the student section. Other huddled on the concourse and in tunnels.
The rest left. They had seen enough already anyway.
Chattanooga, Oklahoma’s first Championship Subdivision opponent since Stoops’ debut in 1999, had only one first down, one completed pass and negative yardage on its first seven possessions, thanks in part to a high snap that went over the punter’s head for a safety.
The Mocs ended up with 36 yards, three completed passes and never did get another first down.
After backup quarterback Joey Halzle’s 36-yard touchdown pass to Iglesias made it a 50-point lead, Oklahoma’s mascot ponies—Boomer and Sooner—weren’t even sent onto the field with the Sooner Schooner for their usual celebration. Unlike all the first-half scores, no fireworks were set off after Brown’s 1-yard TD run put Oklahoma up 57-2.
The Sooners ended up playing Chattanooga—which after a 2-9 season was hardly a threat like fellow conference member Appalachian State, the three-time FCS champions—after Middle Tennessee turned down an opportunity to be Oklahoma’s season-opening foe.
After all, they’d been there before. They lost 59-0 in Norman two years ago.