Norman, OK (9/8/01) The North Texas (0-2) football team trailed defending national champion Oklahoma (3-0) by just 11 points at halftime, but the Sooners lived up to their No. 3 national ranking as they put up 16 unanswered points in the second half to claim a 37-10 win over the Mean Green on Saturday night.
North Texas played the first half turnover free, forced one Oklahoma turnover and posted 177 yards of total offense, 48 yards more than it tallied the entire TCU game last weekend. All that led to UNT trailing OU just 10-21 at the half.
Oklahoma shut North Texas out in the second half, 16-0. Three turnovers and strong play by the OU punt return team hurt the Mean Green in the final half. Oklahoma had five punt returns for 87 yards in the second half.
The North Texas offense was led by sophomore quarterback Scott Hall, who accounted for 165 of the teams 297 total yards. Hall rushed for 18 yards and completed 9-16 passes for 147 yards and one touchdown.
North Texas opened up its passing game early against the Sooners. On just the second play from scrimmage, Hall hooked up with freshman running back Ja’Mel Branch in the flats. Branch broke to the outside and went for a 58-yard gain down to the Oklahoma 20 yard line. However, the Mean Green drive stalled at that point and Oklahoma was able to hold the Mean Green to a 38-yard field goal by senior Jason Ball.
The North Texas lead would be short lived as the Sooners posted back-to-back touchdowns on their first two possessions. North Texas controlled the clock for most of the first quarter, but still found itself down 14-3 after the first 15 minutes of action. Oklahoma’s first two-drives only took a combined 5:05. OU quarterback Nate Hybl completed a 13-yard pass to running back Quentin Griffin for Oklahoma’s first score and Renaldo Works ripped off a 72 yard run for its second score.
The Mean Green opened the second quarter on a positive note as linebacker Cody Spencer claimed his first career interception at the Oklahoma 36 yard line and returned it to the 29, setting up UNT’s first touchdown of the season. A holding call against North Texas sent the Mean Green back to the 39 yard line, but Hall connected with George Marshall over the middle for a 39-yard touchdown strike with 14:09 left in the half.
North Texas got two more shot’s with the ball in the first half, but was unable to mount a substantial drive. Oklahoma tacked on one more touchdown in the half to give itself a 21-10 lead at halftime. The Sooners final score in the first half came with 3:43 remaining off a 14-yard Griffin run.
Oklahoma would get on the scoreboard for the first time in the third quarter at the 7:09 mark. OU capitalized on a North Texas fumble that set up a 42-yard field goal. Oklahoma extended its lead to 20 points, 30-10, with just a little over three minutes left in the third quarter. Curtis Fagan set up the Sooners with a 36-yard punt return that gave them the ball at the North Texas 25. Hybl would eventually take a quarterback sneak into the endzone for the touchdown, but the extra point attempt failed.
Hybl completed a 57-yard touchdown pass to receiver Josh Norman with 14:10 left in the fourth quarter, accounting for OU’s final score