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Sooners roll up 250-plus rushing yards with winds howling in Norman

OU GROUND ATTACK — With winds blowing at 35 mph, the OU football team turned to its ground game in a dominating win over Iowa State. The Sooners rolled up 250-plus rushing yards, split between Roy Finch, Brandon Williams, Brennan Clay and Trey Franks.
BY MIKE BALDWIN, Staff Writer, Published: November 26, 2011

During pre-game warm-ups wide receiver Kenny Stills raced downfield on a go route. He turned to discover the pass was knocked down as if a giant hand swatted it from the sky.

“Once the ball got up there it was kind of floating,” Stills said. “There wasn't much reason to put the ball in the air today.”

Oklahoma adjusted its offense to the weather Saturday afternoon in a 26-6 win over Iowa State.

Facing 35 mph north winds, gusts up to 45 mph, OU relied more on its ground attack.

The Sooners pounded out 253 rushing yards. Technically, it was a 288-yard rushing day since a bad snap on a punt resulted in a 35-yard loss.

And it was a group effort.

Sophomore Roy Finch, who became OU's starter when Dominique Whaley suffered a season ending ankle injury, ran for 85 yards on 15 carries.

Freshman Brandon Williams, who continues to show promise when given opportunities, averaged 7.3 yards per carry, rushing for 80 yards.

“It's good to have those two types of backs and be able to run the ball like that,” said center Ben Habern. “One of our main focuses all week was running the ball. With the weather the way it was, that became even more important. That wind can do crazy things when the ball is in the air.”

Wide receiver Trey Franks contributed 88 rushing yards on two reverse plays, averaging 44.0 yards per carry.

And backup quarterback Blake Bell, directing the Belldozer “wildcat” package, chipped in 14 rushing yards and two more touchdowns.

“Each game is different, but running the football sets up a lot of opportunities,” said coach Bob Stoops. “Hopefully we will continue to play that way and have some bigger and better runs the way we've been doing it.”

OU compiled 509 total yards. What was missing was long pass plays.

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