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Williams rushes for 156, No. 5 Oklahoma crush Florida A&M

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Associated Press
9/9/2012 12:02:21 AM
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NORMAN, Okla. -- Give Damien Williams just a little daylight and he's going, going, gone.

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 over Florida A&M on Saturday night.

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) of the Football Championship Subdivision.

"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."

It was part of a proficient second half for the Sooners, who used their depth to wear down the Rattlers on the ground. Brennan Clay added a pair of touchdown runs, from 3 and 10 yards, and Whaley and Roy Finch ran for scores after Jones got pulled for the last drive of the third quarter.

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.

Yet Stoops wasn't getting carried away with the blowout, stating "we're very aware we're going to see stiffer competition coming."

Oklahoma's home opener had a few more hiccups than usual against an FCS foe. Under 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.

Jones threw an interception to Devan Roberts, who dropped another potential pick that hit him right in the hands, and Whaley fumbled for the third time in two games. This time, the other team 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 bottom line is, to come up and completely be outmatched but to see our guys give great effort and make some plays," Rattlers coach Joe 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."

Oklahoma starting free safety Tony Jefferson hopped off the field on only his left leg late in the first quarter and did not return. He stood on the sideline in the second half with a cast on his right foot but no crutches.

Stoops said it was only a sprained ankle and Jefferson might have been able to play if the game was closer.

Penn State transfer Justin Brown played a big role in Oklahoma zipping out to a 28-3 second-quarter lead, setting up two of the Sooners' scores with long punt returns that brought the ball inside the 10-yard line. Williams pushed and twisted his way in from 4 yards out to cash in the first one, and Stills leaped to catch a 16-yard touchdown pass from Jones on the other, one play after Jones had been sacked.

Williams also had touchdown runs from 3 and 15 yards.

"I really like him, He's doing really good," centre Gabe Ikard said. "Great game by him. He's hitting holes quick and hitting them hard. He's a guy that is earning his stuff, earning his carries in practice. He's doing really well for us and I'm just excited about the year that he's started off with."

Damien Williams (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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