Falcons Lose Narrow Bout To Sooners, 27-24

Sept. 18, 2010

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NORMAN, Okla. (AP)--DeMarco Murray gained a total of 148 yards and scored three touchdowns to help No. 7 Oklahoma hold off a late charge from Air Force's overpowering run game to beat the Falcons 27-24 on Saturday.

Murray ran for a 5-yard touchdown and scored on a 17-yard screen pass in the third quarter as the Sooners (3-0) reeled off 17 straight points to pull away after Air Force (2-1) had tied it early in the second half.

That ended up being just enough to stave off the Falcons' comeback bid.

Jared Tew and Kyle Halderman had rushing TDs in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to three, but Oklahoma was able to pick up two first downs and run out the final 3:39.

The Sooners had lost two of their last three games against Mountain West members and were tested again before extending the nation's longest home winning streak to 33 in a row.

Air Force came in leading the country with 423 yards rushing per game and piled up another 351 against the Sooners--the most by any opponent in Bob Stoops' 12 years as head coach. It still wasn't quite enough as the Falcons lost a key fumble by quarterback Tim Jefferson in the third quarter and Erik Soderberg missed a 49-yard field goal at the end of the first quarter.

Murray finished with 110 yards rushing and 38 receiving, and Ryan Broyles added 116 yards receiving. It was his sixth straight game with at least 100 yards receiving, but he had his streak of six straight games with a touchdown broken.

Freshman Kenny Stills made a 10-yard catch over the middle on third-and-3 to pick up Oklahoma's final first down after Air Force spent its last timeout.

Air Force surpassed 200 yards rushing early in the fourth quarter when Jefferson scored on a 38-yard option keeper to finish the Falcons' opening possession of the second half and even the score at 10.

It took only 31 seconds for the Sooners to break through against a defense that hadn't allowed a second-half point in the first two weeks of the season. The Falcons were outscoring opponents 55-0 after halftime but couldn't keep this one from getting away.

Mossis Madu scooped up a squib kick and returned it 39 yards, and Broyles followed with a 36-yard catch down the middle to set up Murray's 5-yard TD run that put Oklahoma up to stay.

Jimmy Stevens, filling in for injured starter Patrick O'Hara, tacked on a 41-yard field goal after a three-and-out by Air Force. The Falcons were driving into Oklahoma territory following a 33-yard catch by Jonathan Warzeka when Jefferson committed the game's only turnover by fumbling as he scrambled away from pressure.

Demontre Hurst recovered to set up a 76-yard scoring drive for the Sooners. Murray went into the end zone untouched for the score, then bumped into Air Force's Jon Davis before hopping in celebration.

Jefferson led Air Force with 96 yards rushing, and Tew had 93 while plowing right through the middle of the Sooners' usually stout defense. Oklahoma has ranked in the top 20 in rushing defense the past nine seasons, but didn't have many answers for the Falcons' offense based on the triple option.

For its fourth straight game, Oklahoma went ahead early by scoring a touchdown on its opening possession. Murray ran six times for 30 yards on the drive, finishing it with a 3-yard touchdown run.

After that, Air Force settled in and was able to force three-and-outs on three of the Sooners' next four drives. Oklahoma also squandered a promising drive at the end of the first half when a snap got away from quarterback Landry Jones and he ended up taking an 18-yard intentional grounding penalty.



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