Oklahoma’s special teams have historic day in Kansas stomping

By Tobi Neidy

Oklahoma Daily, U. Oklahoma via UWIRE

Oklahoma’s special teams have historic day in Kansas stomping

It’s been a long time since an Oklahoma football team was known for its special teams performances, but during Saturday’s 52-7 romp of Kansas, a pair of OU special teams members combined to do something that hadn’t been accomplished in the program’s 118-year history.

After senior wide receiver Justin Brown dashed 90 yards for his first career punt return for a touchdown in the second quarter, junior wide receiver Roy Finch turned on the jet boosters during a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to begin the second half.

It was the first time in OU’s history that both a punt return and kickoff return had been returned for touchdowns in the same game, as well being the first time the Sooners finished with two 90-plus-yard plays in the same contest.

“It was definitely special to be a part of a night like this,” Brown said. “But the important thing is not to settle for just one good performance, and we have to keep building off this.”

Brown, who muffed a punt in the first quarter that gave Kansas the ball inside the redzone, quickly redeemed himself by producing the program’s fifth-longest punt return to give the Sooners a 24-0 lead in the second quarter.

“I was upset because I should have done the right thing with the fair catch,” Brown said about the fumbled punt. “But everyone kept picking me up and said to just worry about the next play.”

That’s exactly what Brown did in order to give the Sooners their first punt return for a score since former wide receiver Ryan Broyles ran one back against Oklahoma State in 2009. But Brown didn’t take all of the credit for producing the longest punt return for a touchdown since former returner Antonio Perkins’ 91-yarder against Tulsa in 2002.

“[Special teams] has done a great job blocking,” Brown said. “There’s been a lot of plays this year I could’ve put one in, and as soon as I saw that open field, I knew that it was time to get one.”

Likewise, Finch’s 100-yard run was only the fourth 100-yard play in OU’s history that includes three kickoff returns and one interception, as well as beingthe first kickoff return for a touchdown since 2007.

“I had a feeling that if I took the [opportunity] and exploded with it, something good would happen,” Finch said. “I just hit it, and then I was off to the races.”

OU finished the night with 108 yards on punt returns and 112 yards in kickoff returns. OU hasn’t finished with more than 100 yards in each of those categories since 1952, when the Sooners finished with 115 punt returns yards and 102 kickoff return yards against Pittsburgh.

But Saturday’s historic special team success wasn’t surprising to coach Bob Stoops.

“We’ve consistently been at the top of the league — either No. 1 or No. 2 — in punt returns and kickoff returns, which has been giving us good field position out of it,” Stoops said.

And the players shared that same sentiment.

“It was great to have both [touchdowns on special teams] in the same game,” Finch said. “When [Justin Brown] scored, I was so happy for him, and it was special to us to do this collectively as a team. Nobody can do what we do.”

Read more here: http://oudaily.com/news/2012/oct/21/specialteams/
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