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Oklahoma 23, Florida St. 13

No. 1 Oklahoma dodges Seminoles

Jones, Stills deliver in win over Florida State

FSU’s Kenny Shaw was injured after being sandwiched by two Oklahoma defenders, including Javon Harris. FSU’s Kenny Shaw was injured after being sandwiched by two Oklahoma defenders, including Javon Harris. (Steve Cannon/Associated Press)
By Ralph D. Russo
Associated Press / September 18, 2011

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Landry Jones’s pass seemed like it would never come down.

Kenny Stills waited in the end zone for what must have felt like an eternity, then reached high for a touchdown that gave No. 1 Oklahoma the type of rugged road victory that teams need to win national championships.

Stills, playing for the first time this season after being suspended for the opener because of an offseason DUI arrest, grabbed a 37-yard scoring pass midway through the fourth quarter for the tiebreaking score, and Oklahoma’s defense made the lead stand as the Sooners beat No. 5 Florida State, 23-13, last night.

“We won ugly, but that’s OK,’’ said Jones, who came in 3-5 as a starter the past two seasons in true road games.

The Seminoles (2-1) played the final 20 minutes without starting quarterback E.J. Manuel, who left in the third with a left shoulder injury.

Javon Harris picked off two passes for the Sooners (2-0), who forced three turnovers and harassed Manuel and backup Clint Trickett all night.

Trickett kept the Seminoles in it. He hooked up with freshman Rashad Greene for a 56-yard touchdown on a third-and-28 with 9:32 left in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 13.

But on the next possession, Jones went deep down the sideline to the 6-foot-1-inch Stills, who easily outleaped the 5-8 Greg Reid for the touchdown.

On the next drive, Trickett had a pass tipped at the line by Ronnell Lewis, and Harris came up with his second interception, near midfield. Just like the first pick, Oklahoma turned it into a field goal, this one from 31 yards by Jimmy Stevens.

“All of a sudden the crowd’s on you, they tie it up at home,’’ said Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, who shared a hug with his brother, Mark, the Florida State defensive coordinator, after the game. “We come back . . . with the big drive, defense gets the turnover, we eat up the clock and get a field goal.’’

Jones finished 18 for 27 for 199 yards and two interceptions, though he did become the school’s career passing leader, moving past Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford.

The Sooners scored a touchdown on their first possession but one of the most potent offenses in the country didn’t find the end zone again until the fourth quarter.

Greene’s touchdown sent most of the record crowd of 84,392 at Doak Campbell Stadium into hysterics. Like Stills, he went high in traffic to come down with Trickett’s pass, then broke free from the pack and raced for the touchdown.

Florida State showed it’s worthy of again being considered a national championship contender, a title the Seminoles held for 14 years under Hall of Fame coach Bobby Bowden, but relinquished in the 2000s.

Trickett, who was sacked five times, was 7 for 15 for 134 yards for Florida State, which had no running game beyond Manuel’s 49 yards.

Oklahoma zipped downfield with little resistance for an 80-yard drive that ended with Jones’s 1-yard touchdown sneak.

Dustin Hopkins booted a 53-yard field goal to make it 7-3 with 2:42 left in the first.

Turnovers, penalties, and defense dominated the rest of the way.

Manuel made some nifty plays on the run, but the junior also was intercepted twice in Oklahoma territory, the latter of which came late in the half when Harris grabbed a high throw and returned it 69 yards to the Florida State 3 with 1:19 left in the quarter.

But for the second time in the half, the Sooners got inside the 5 and settled for a field goal. After a penalty pushed OU back, Stevens kicked a 29-yarder to make it 13-3 as time expired in the half.

In the first half, Manuel found Kenny Shaw deep down the middle inside the 5, but the receiver was sandwiched by Tom Wort and Harris, taking a double-helmet shot, and the ball came out. The Sooners were flagged 15 yards for the hit and Shaw lay motionless on the turf for several minutes.

He was carted off, conscious and moving his arms, and taken to the hospital for X-rays. He later returned to the sideline in the fourth quarter.

With 5:42 left in the third, Manuel was swarmed by Oklahoma on a third-and-2 play that never had a chance and the quarterback came off the field wincing, holding his left arm close to his body. Trickett entered and led the Seminoles to Hopkins’s 46-yard field goal to make it 13-6 with 53 seconds left in the third.