Veteran line keeps Oklahoma offense rolling

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NORMAN, Okla. (AP) Oklahoma running back Samaje Perine deservedly got headlines for his record-setting performance against Kansas.

The guys blocking for him are pretty good, too. The 18th-ranked Sooners have allowed just six sacks, the lowest total in the nation, heading into their showdown Saturday against rival Oklahoma State.

''We take huge pride in that,'' right tackle Daryl Williams said. ''We want no sacks. We thought we could do that, but six sacks is still good.''

Williams, left tackle Tyrus Thompson and center Ty Darlington have started all 11 games this season, and left guard Adam Shead has started 10. Right guard Tyler Evans started the first three games and has 31 career starts. Right guards Nila Kasitati and Dionte Savage have starting experience, too. Fullback Aaron Ripkowski is a hard hitter, and tight end Blake Bell has been praised for his blocking as well.

''Guys like me, Tyrus and Adam coming in at the same time - practice, communication during practice and the game - that's what it takes to be a great offensive line,'' Williams said. ''And of course, being physical.''

Williams and Thompson are considered NFL prospects. Williams is listed at 6-foot-6 and 329 pounds, while Thompson is 6-5 and 336 pounds.

''They've played really consistently,'' Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. ''They've played great. They've demonstrated their ability to pass protect, and to run block. They've got the size. They've been on the field the whole time. They've demonstrated a lot. Those scouts coming through really like them.''

Since quarterback Trevor Knight went down with a neck injury, the Sooners have focused more on the ground game. Bolstered by Perine's record 427 yards rushing against Kansas, the Sooners have jumped to eighth nationally in yards rushing per game (265.4) and fifth in yards per carry (6.3). Perine made sure to mention his blockers in the days following the breakout performance.

''That was probably the best part, to have those guys be a part of something like that and dominate the way they did,'' he said. ''I was extremely proud of them. They put in so much work and preparation in the weight room and in the film room, just to know their assignments.''

With freshman Cody Thomas starting at quarterback the past two games, Oklahoma ran for 384 yards in a win over Texas Tech and 510 yards against Kansas.

''I was extremely proud of the way they dominated,'' Perine said. ''I'm extremely happy for those guys. I hope they go out with a bang.''

Stoops said Thomas will start again Saturday because Knight has not been cleared to play against Oklahoma State. The recent dominance up front has allowed the Sooners to ease Thomas in.

''It's made a big difference,'' Stoops said.


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