DALLAS, OCT. 10 -- The annual Texas-Oklahoma game was a shabby sort of classic, the unbeaten and No. 1-ranked Sooners favored by 32 points over the unranked, very young and not very hopeful Longhorns. All went precisely as expected, and then a little bit beyond today, in a 44-9 rout for Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl.

Only the manner of Texas' demise was somewhat startling. The Longhorns (2-3) suffered a school-record seven interceptions, five from starting quarterback Bret Stafford, and the Sooners turned them into 31 points in the second half after leading by just 13-6 at halftime.

The 5-0 Sooners' scoring came from a variety of sources, like Lydell Carr's runs of seven and 32 yards and the cavorting magic of quarterback Jamelle Holieway, who threw a 44-yard touchdown to split end Carl Cabbiness. Reserve quarterback Charles Thompson, a swift freshman in the Holieway mold, got in on the act with a 55-yard, broken-field, wrap-it-up run with 7:10 to go.

"We're the best team, that's it," Oklahoma Coach Barry Switzer said.

For a brief time, Texas tried to bring some drama to this rivalry that dates back to 1900. Trailing by just a touchdown, the Longhorns opened the second half with a drive to the Oklahoma 14 and threatened to tie it up. But Stafford yielded his third and most crucial interception. Safety Rickey Dixon stepped in front of Jorrick Battle to pick it off, setting up Holieway's scoring pass.

That was as close as Texas got to a touchdown the rest of the game, and much of a crowd 75,587 eventually wandered off across the Texas State Fair grounds to see the jellies and jams display or the Headless Woman. The Longhorns' only scoring came from Wayne Clements, field goals of 52 yards in the first quarter, 46 yards in the second quarter, and 36 yards in the fourth quarter.

"Nobody likes to lose by 35 points," Texas' first-year coach David McWilliams said.

But nobody much expected anything else, and it was to Texas' credit that it stayed in the game for a half. The Longhorns lost last season by 47-12, and have 17 first-year players on the two-deep roster. Oklahoma is the team many think will win the national championship, and already is statistically No. 1 in the country in total offense and defense.

As if they knew something, the Longhorns made a humble entrance to the Cotton Bowl, with just a small crowd to greet them. The Sooners came screaming into the fairgrounds, behind a cadre of motorcycles and sirens, with Switzer slumped unconcernedly in the bus, his legs draped over a seat.

"Even if they had scored {opening the second half}, we'd have won anyway," he said later.

However, had Stafford been able to avoid even a couple of his interceptions, it might have been a game of far more interest. His five tied a school record set in 1944, and reserve Shannon Kelley tossed in two. It was perhaps the low point of a difficult season for Stafford, who owns eight Texas passing records but has completed only 47 percent this season, only one for a touchdown.

"We just gave them too many opportunities," Stafford said. "This was a game where we knew we could not afford to make those kinds of mistakes, and that's what we did. Things have just not gone very well for me."

The interceptions were not entirely the fault of Stafford and Kelley; both were victimized by an Oklahoma secondary that is fleet and experienced. The Sooners also limited Texas' running game to 91 yards, tailback Eric Metcalf of Arlington, Va., laboring to gain 63 yards on 14 carries. That made it more difficult on Stafford, who eventually completed 17 of 32 passes for 116 yards. But most of the Longhorns' patterns were predictable routes to the flat, exactly where Oklahoma was looking.

"It's hard to improve on seven interceptions," said defensive back David Vickers, who had one. "They did exactly what we expected them to, that's the thing."

Oklahoma's first-half points came on Carr's seven-yard run, set up by a 32-yard completion to all-America tight end Keith Jackson, and field goals of 46 and 22 yards by R.D. Lashar. But it was a tense, displeased Sooners locker room at halftime.

"It was real quiet in here," Vickers said. "It was kind of scary. We expected to blow them out, and this was a little too close for me."

When Texas opened the second half by steadily driving to the Oklahoma 14, the Sooners were deeply concerned. Stafford threw an interception earlier in the series to Vickers, but it was called back for roughing the passer. Discouraged by that bad break, the Sooners were giving up yardage freely.

"We were driving to tie it up. Everyone thought we were going to score," McWilliams said. "Until the interception turned it around."

At the 14, Stafford looked for Battle on a short out pattern. He threw a lazy-looking ball, and Dixon charged in front of Battle and went 50 yards up the left sideline. "I looked in the flat and thought I could get the ball in there," Stafford said.

Dixon had seen it coming, because earlier in the series Texas had run the same pattern at him. "I knew that two plays before they ran the same route," he said.

Oklahoma took over on the Texas 40, and Holieway threw the bomb to Cabbiness. Next series, defensive end Troy Johnson picked off Stafford, leading to Carr's 32-yard run. That brought on Kelley, who promptly threw one to Sooners cornerback Derrick Crudup, which became Patrick Collins' four-yard scoring run, and it was essentially over, 34-6.

"We knew when it was our turn we had to do something with it," Holieway said. "When we got it, we did."

Oklahoma 0 13 21 10 44 Texas 3 3 0 3 9

T -- FG Clements 52

O -- Carr 7 run (Lashar kick)

O -- FG Lashar 46

O -- FG Lashar 22

T -- FG Clements 46

O -- Carl Cabbiness 44 pass from Holieway (Lashar kick)

O -- Carr 32 run (Lashar kick)

O -- Collins 4 run

T -- FG Clements 36

O -- FG Lashar 29

O -- C.Thompson 55 run (Lashar kick)

A -- 75,587. Oklahoma Texas First downs 18 18 Rushes-yards 63-392 34-95 Passing yards 76 156 Return yards 158 11 Passing 2-8-0 20-38-7 Punts-average 3-42 6-42 Fumbles-lost 3-1 3-0 Penalties-yards 7-64 3-19 Time

RUSHING -- Oklahoma: C. Thompson 8-114, Carr 8-87, Collins 9-81, Holieway 15-70. Texas: Metcalf 14-63, Norr

PASSING -- Oklahoma: Holieway 2-5-0, 76 yards; C. Thompson 0-3-0, 0. Texas: Stafford 17-32-5, 116; Kelley 3

RECEIVING -- Oklahoma: Carl Cabbiness 1-44, Jackson 1-32. Texas: Metcalf 7-39, Norris 4-8, Jones 3-40, Batt