Sooners gut out tough win over UTEP
El Paso, TX (Sports Network) - Landry Jones threw for 222 yards and a pair of touchdowns, as No. 4 Oklahoma bounced back from a sluggish start to down Texas-El Paso, 24-7, in the season opener for both teams on Saturday.
Jones completed 21-of-36 passes, while Kenny Stills hauled in six catches for 121 yards and a touchdown in the win.
The Sooners trailed 7-0 but recovered to improve to 12-2 in season openers under Bob Stoops.
"A little bit rough," the coach said. "I thought we had some inconsistencies. We were a little bit off in some areas."
Damien Williams carried the ball nine times for 104 yards and a touchdown and Dominique Whaley added 54 yards on 11 carries for Oklahoma (1-0), which finished 10-3 last season.
Nick Lamaison struggled under center for UTEP, connecting on just 6-of-23 passes for 39 yards.
Nathan Jeffery carried the load with 21 rushes for 177 yards as the Miners (0-1) lost for the fifth time in their last six games after skidding to a 5-7 record in 2011.
"We had a great opportunity and we played our hearts out," said UTEP coach Mike Price. "Our defense played tremendous."
UTEP missed a 45-yard field goal on its opening series, but the Miners' special teams came up big on the ensuing Oklahoma drive, as Richard Spencer blocked a Tress Way punt before Jeffery scooped it up and took it 24 yards for the touchdown and a 7-0 advantage.
After the teams exchanged three-and-outs, Jones hit Stills for a 68-yard touchdown pass on 3rd-and-11 to knot the game at 7-7.
The Miners' special teams unit came up big again midway through the second as Horace Miller blocked a 44-yard field goal from Michael Hunnicutt to send the teams into the locker room locked at 7-7.
Hunnicutt buried a 38-yard field goal on Oklahoma's first possession of the second half to give the Sooners a 10-7 edge.
The Miners missed an opportunity to tie the game later in the third as Steven Valadez missed a 41-yard field goal after Jeffery's 71-yard run set them up with great field position.
UTEP then faked a punt on its next possession, which was sniffed out by the Sooner defense, giving the ball back to Oklahoma at UTEP's 41-yard line.
The Sooner offense quickly took advantage as Blake Bell rushed for three yards on a big 3rd-and-2 before Jones found Brannon Green for an 18-yard touchdown strike to put the visitors in front, 17-7.
After back-to-back three-and-outs from UTEP, Oklahoma blew the game open when Williams broke free for a 65-yard touchdown surge to account for the final margin.
The Sooners haven't lost a season opener on the road since 1968, going 13-0 ... Neither team recorded a turnover ... UTEP had just 48 yards passing as a team.
09/02 03:49:53 ET