Sooners look for a challenge in Tulsa

Oklahoma Sooners

9-20-07 - Oklahoma has breezed through its first three games and is the highest-scoring team in the nation. The Sooners, though, don't have much time to get ready for their next contest.

Oklahoma hopes a short week of preparation doesn't slow it down when it visits Tulsa in a rare Friday night game.

The fourth-ranked Sooners (3-0) have opened 2007 with three consecutive blowouts, outscoring opponents 184-26 - the most dominant start to a season since 1972, when they won their first three games by a combined 169-6.

"If we get 12 of these wins right here, then that would be just fine with me," quarterback Sam Bradford said after Oklahoma's 54-3 victory over Utah State on Saturday. "You really can't complain with this stuff."

Bradford has been a big reason for the Sooners' fast start.

The redshirt freshman, who beat out junior Joey Halzle and freshman Keith Nichol for the starting job, has completed 79.7 percent of his passes (59-for-74) for 823 yards, 11 touchdowns and one interception.

He completed his first 11 passes - two for scores - en route to throwing for 255 yards and three TDs against Utah State.

"Nothing's easy at all, but I got in that rhythm early and I did feel I got a lot of confidence that way and saw things very clearly," said Bradford, third in the country with a 219.5 passer rating. "I felt really comfortable today."

Now, Oklahoma is hoping to feel comfortable with no time off.

The Sooners are playing on a Friday night for only the second time since Big 12 play started in 1996 and the first time since the 2002 season opener also took place at Tulsa.

Oklahoma will enter this contest with 12 straight days of workouts, film study and games under its belt.

"We haven't got a day off," said wide receiver Malcolm Kelly, who caught his sixth and seventh touchdown passes of the season last week. "It'll be good to get Saturday off, and now you can just sit back and watch everybody else play."

The Sooners got back to work Sunday, one day after racking up 617 yards against the Aggies.

"We just operate today like today is Monday, and this is kind of how we'll go through the week," coach Bob Stoops said.

Allen Patrick ran for 113 yards and a touchdown last week, and said the sprained ankle he suffered in Oklahoma's 79-10 season-opening win over North Texas felt fine - even after practicing the day after a game.

"It's different. We ain't never done this before, and it's the first time I ever did it but we feel good," Patrick said. "Everybody was moving around pretty well."

Tulsa (2-0) has also gotten off to a good start behind the play of its quarterback.

Paul Smith, fifth in the nation with a 195.9 passer rating, has thrown for 761 yards and eight touchdowns with two interceptions to help the Golden Hurricane post victories over Louisiana-Monroe and Brigham Young.

The 23-year-old senior passed for a career-high 454 yards and five touchdowns to lead the Golden Hurricane to a wild 55-47 victory over BYU on Saturday night. It was the fifth-most productive performance ever by a Tulsa quarterback.

"I wanted to throw the ball vertically as promised," Tulsa coach Todd Graham said. "I am really, really excited about our football team. It was a big, big win for us. Our players and coaches deserve the credit."

The Sooners have won three straight over the Golden Hurricane to take a 14-7-1 lead in the series, including 5-3 in Tulsa.