Second-ranked Oklahoma's defense held off a late rush by Minnesota last night, allowing the Sooners, playing their first game of the season, to hold on to a 13-7 victory in Minneapolis.
"A win's a win," Oklahoma Coach Barry Switzer said. "I'm thrilled to get out of here. I said before the game I was scared to death."
The Gophers (2-1) had a final chance to pull off an upset, getting the ball on its 30 with 1:05 to play, but Oklahoma, led by ends Darrell Reed and Kevin Murphy, stopped them at the Sooners' 32.
"Our defense is built around one thing -- we like to play three plays and get off the field," Reed said.
Despite holding the ball for 21:54 of the first half and outgaining Minnesota, 195-30 yards, the Sooners led by only 10-0 at halftime.
Tim Lashar's 21-yard field goal capped an 11-play, 56-yard drive to make it 3-0 with 3:43 left in the first quarter. On their next possession, the Sooners went 60 yards in 14 plays and scored on Earl Johnson's one-yard touchdown on fourth down.
Oklahoma ran for 168 yards -- 73 by Spencer Tillman, who went out with a pulled hamstring early in the second quarter -- and picked up 14 first downs in the first half. But Lashar missed field goals of 49 and 50 yards and the Sooners did not score again until his second 21-yarder with 7:18 left.
A fumbled punt by Sonny Brown at Oklahoma's 19 led to Minnesota's touchdown, a 12-yard pass from Rickey Foggie to Kevin Starks with 4:15 left.