Florida A&M run over 69-13 by No. 5 Sooners
NORMAN, Okla.—Florida A&M coach Joe Taylor knew the lopsided outcome was inevitable when his Football Championship Subdivision program signed up to take on traditional powerhouse Oklahoma.
The way his Rattlers stood their ground and fought made him proud -- and eager to see what's ahead.
Damien Williams broke off an 89-yard touchdown run and finished with 156 yards rushing and four scores in a record-setting Owen Field debut, powering No. 5 Oklahoma to a 69-13 victory Saturday night.
Yet Taylor was still able to see some positives.
"The bottom line is, to come up and completely be outmatched but to see our guys give great effort and make some plays," Taylor said. "We got some turnovers and moved the ball. That lets you know there's a lot of potential in this club. That to me is very encouraging."
The Rattlers (0-2) made it harder than usual for Oklahoma against an FCS foe. Under Bob Stoops, the Sooners had outscored their only three other FCS opponents by a collective margin of 170-2.
This time, the dominance wasn't quite so complete.
Landry Jones threw an interception to Devan Roberts, who dropped another potential pick that hit him right in the hands, and Dominique Whaley fumbled for the third time in two games. This time, Marvin Ross pounced on it and it led to Chase Varnadore's 41-yard field goal.
A bust by two defenders allowed Travis Harvey to catch a 75-yard touchdown pass from Damien Fleming in the second quarter. Harvey finished with 118 yards receiving.
Varnadore also hit a 46-yard field goal for the Rattlers, who fell to 0-14 against FBS foes since beating Miami in 1979.
The Sooners proved to be way too deep and used the advantage to wear Florida A&M down on the ground. Oklahoma racked up 278 of its 349 yards rushing in the second half, with 217 in the third quarter alone. The team's eight rushing touchdowns were the most in the Stoops era.
"I thought we came out and showed some things early on, but whenever FCS and BCS get together, it does come down to a depth issue," Taylor said. "I thought that after a while, that became the issue, in terms of them being able to rotate folks in and we just didn't have the depth. ... We'll get a lot of out of this as we return now to get into conference play."
The Rattlers got a $650,000 payout for playing in the game -- and played without four suspended players.
"We all are after the same sponsorship dollars. Of course, the BCS is a lot more attractive to sponsors, so I guess we've got to get ours through a filter," Taylor said. "We're not getting the sponsors, but it's still a great revenue stream. The key is you don't want to come out all banged up and we were fortunate there."
Williams' rushing total was the most for a player in his first game at the Sooners' home field, and he became only the fourth player at the school to eclipse 100 yards rushing in each of his first two games. Adrian Peterson was the last to do it, in 2004.
Williams had a clinching 65-yard touchdown run in the Sooners' 24-7 win at UTEP last week, and one-upped that in the third quarter against the Rattlers (0-2).
"If I see daylight, I feel like I'm gone," Williams said. "If somebody catches me, I'm going to pat them on the head and say, `Good job. You're going to have to keep doing it.' But I feel like if I see grass, I'm going to get it."
Williams surpassed the record set just last year by Dominique Whaley in his Owen Field debut, running for 136 yards in last season's opener against Tulsa. Williams said it was a particularly special record "considering the great backs" in Oklahoma's past -- including years running the wishbone and passing sparingly.
"Damien's a strong, powerful guy with excellent speed," coach Bob Stoops said. "It's exciting to see him playing the way he is. He looked great out there tonight."
Landry Jones threw for 252 yards and two touchdowns with one interception while notching his 31st victory, moving past Jamelle Holieway for second in school history. Jones can tie Steve Davis' record when the Sooners host No. 21 Kansas State on Sept. 22, after a week off.
Kenny Stills caught 10 passes for 120 yards and one TD.
No one could outshine Williams, though. He led the National Junior College Athletic Association with 1,931 yards rushing a year ago and then transferred to the Sooners after three running backs left the program during last season.
His long TD run against Florida A&M tied for the seventh-longest in school history.
"That's how I like to do: one cut and just go," Williams said. "This is college, this is Division I. If you make too many cuts, then you miss your opportunity."