Sept 20, 2003
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) - Antonio Perkins brought back three punts for touchdowns and finished with 277 yards on seven returns to break two NCAA records as No. 1 Oklahoma routed UCLA 59-24 on Saturday.
Perkins, who came into the game with only 80 yards on 13 punt returns, scored on returns of 74, 84 and 65 yards to become the first Division I-A player to score on three returns in a game.
Perkins also broke the record of 219 yards on punt returns set by BYU's Golden Richards against North Texas in 1971.
Jason White threw two touchdown passes, and Renaldo Works ran for two more scores as Oklahoma (4-0) completed a sweep of its nonconference schedule for the fourth straight season, the first time that's happened in school history. The Sooners have won 18 straight nonconference games.
Late in the first quarter, UCLA (1-2) silenced the school-record crowd of 83,317 when linebacker Spencer Havner intercepted White's pass. Havner ran the ball 72 yards to the Oklahoma 6, and Manuel White scored on an 11-yard run on the next play following a penalty.
The Bruins led 10-7 - the first time Oklahoma has trailed all season.
But the momentum shifted on Perkins' electrifying 74-yard return for a touchdown early in the second quarter.
Perkins caught the ball at the 26, spun away from the first defender, cut up the middle, then outran the punter to the left sideline and sprinted to the end zone.
His second touchdown came after punter Chris Kluwe kicked the ball well ahead of the coverage. Perkins slipped a few tackles and had nothing but open field ahead the last 40 yards.
Perkins did it again late in the fourth quarter, sprinting 65 yards down the right sideline and into the NCAA record book.
Kluwe tried kicking away from Perkins after his second touchdown, eliciting a chorus of boos from the crowd. The Bruins also tried other tactics: Mil'Von James hit Perkins as he fielded a punt late in the third quarter, drawing a 15-yard penalty.
The Bruins couldn't make much of a dent in an Oklahoma defense that was missing starters Lance Mitchell and Derrick Strait. Mitchell is out for the season with a knee injury, while Strait had his streak of 43 consecutive starts snapped because of a pulled left thigh muscle.
Sophomore quarterback Drew Olson, making only his third career start for UCLA, stuck mostly to dumpoffs and screens to slow down the Sooners' pass rush. Olson finished 18-of-34 for 144 yards with two interceptions.
UCLA was still within striking distance after halftime, down only 28-10.
But on UCLA's first play of the second half, Olson fumbled the ball on a thunderous hit by Oklahoma cornerback Eric Bassey. The ball popped up into the hands of Sooners defensive tackle Tommie Harris, who rumbled 14 yards with the ball to the 30-yard line.
Three plays later, White hit reserve tight end Lance Donley for a 22-yard touchdown pass that all but sealed the win.
Later in the third quarter, UCLA freshman Maurice Drew scored on 1-yard touchdown run and a 91-yard kickoff return.
Karl Dorrell's return to Norman as a Bruin went about as well as his last trip in 1986. As a senior receiver at UCLA, Dorrell and the Bruins were held to 155 yards of offense in a 38-3 loss to a No. 1 Oklahoma team coached by Barry Switzer and led by Brian Bosworth.
UCLA still hasn't beaten a top-ranked team since 1976, when the Bruins beat Ohio State in the Rose Bowl. The Bruins are 4-8 overall against No. 1 teams.
Oklahoma ran its home record to 31-0 when ranked No. 1. The Sooners don't play in Norman again until Oct. 18 against Missouri.
By JOEL ANDERSON
Associated Press Writer