No. 7 Sooners squeak by Utah State 31-24

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — DeMarco Murray ran for 218 yards and two touchdowns and converted a key fourth down, helping No. 7 Oklahoma survive an unexpected scare from Utah State for a 31-24 victory on Saturday night. Jamell Fleming secured the 800th win in the program’s history by intercepting Diondre Borel’s pass in the final 5 minutes, dragging his feet to stay inbounds near the sideline. The Sooners are only the seventh Division I school to reach that mark, joining a handful of powerhouses including Michigan, Texas and Notre Dame. It certainly didn’t come easy. The Aggies had the ball with a chance to tie it when Fleming made amends for a tough day for Oklahoma’s inexperienced secondary. The Sooners allowed Borel to throw for 341 yards and two touchdowns while squeaking by with their 31st straight victory at home. Still, Oklahoma can’t feel too comfortable with Christian Ponder and No. 20 Florida State coming to town next weekend. Ponder had four touchdown passes in a 59-6 rout of Samford, and he didn’t even play in the second half. The Sooners were still working hard after intermission. Murray, no longer sharing carries as he did in his first three seasons, rushed a career-high 35 times and was still out chewing up the clock after Fleming’s pick with 4:12 to play. He had to dive and extend the ball past the first-down stick to convert a key fourth down in Oklahoma’s own territory midway through the third quarter with Utah State within 21-17. And the Aggies could’ve been tied had receiver Eric Moats’ touchdown pass on a fake field goal not been called back because of a penalty. After an incompletion by Landry Jones, Murray zoomed up the left sideline for a 63-yard score to extend the Sooners’ lead. Patrick O’Hara made it 31-17 with a line-drive 32-yard field goal, but the Aggies weren’t done yet. Borel needed just four plays to lead Utah State on a 70-yard scoring drive, with Xavier Martin getting behind Demontre Hurst for a 31-yard TD catch. Hurst and Fleming were replacing the experienced duo of Dominique Franks and Brian Jackson, and Jonathan Nelson also struggled after moving from cornerback to safety. The Sooners couldn’t have had a much worse start than last season, when 2008 Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford was injured in the first half of a 14-13 loss to BYU that dealt an immediate blow to any chances of playing in the BCS championship game for the second straight season. This opener against another Utah-based team provided a different kind of scare, but with a different ending. Jones, thrust into a relief role when Bradford was hurt in last year’s opener, was regularly off-target and finished with 217 yards on 17-for-36 passing with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Ryan Broyles caught nine passes for 142 yards and two first-half touchdowns as Oklahoma opened an early 21-0 lead. Utah State, which lost 54-3 in Norman three years earlier, was paid $500,000 to come to Owen Field. The Aggies nearly got the biggest win in the history of the program to go along with that big payday. They have only one victory against a Top-25 team and they have never beaten a top-10 team.

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