NORMAN, Okla. — Louisiana-Monroe opened the 2012 season with an upset of then-No. 8 Arkansas and proceeded to throw scares into Auburn and Baylor.
Against No. 16 Oklahoma on Saturday, there was no repeat performance.
The Sooners limited Louisiana-Monroe to nine first downs and 166 yards of offense, allowing the Warhawks to cross midfield only twice, and Oklahoma rolled to a 34-0 win.
"They took it to us and we didn't respond very well," Louisiana-Monroe coach Todd Berry said. "We knew that we were facing a great football team, a well-coached football team. But, quite honestly, I thought we had a chance coming in, based off of past history and all other kinds of things. . I do believe we have a good football team, even though we didn't show it today."
Louisiana-Monroe's offense - so potent in 2012 - struggled mightily against the Sooners. Oklahoma's defense turned dual-threat quarterback Kolton Browning - the Sun Belt Conference's preseason offensive player of the year - into a one-dimensional player, limiting his rushing opportunities.
Browning, who led the Warhawks in rushing last season, had 3 yards on 4 carries and completed 20-of-39 passes for 128 yards. No Louisiana-Monroe running back gained more than nine yards.
Browning said after the game he was limited by a leg injury.
"I was trying to scramble one time and my leg just wasn't quite cooperating with me," he said. "I didn't get the burst I wanted to get running away from them. It got tighter and tighter over the game and it was tough to loosen up. It really cut out part of my game, which hurt me, hurt the offense. We couldn't really move the ball that much."
Led by Cameron Blakes, who made a career-high 16 tackles including two for loss, the Warhawks' defense was able to rattle Oklahoma's freshman quarterback, Trevor Knight, early on. But Knight eventually settled down and had a productive game. Knight rushed for 103 yards on 13 carries and threw three touchdown passes - two to Jalen Saunders.
Oklahoma gave coach Bob Stoops his 150th career win, putting him seven behind Barry Switzer on the Sooners' career coaching wins list. Oklahoma is 5-0 under Stoops in August games and 14-1 in home openers, having lost only to Texas Christian in 2005.
Knight became the first Oklahoma quarterback to rush for 100 or more yards in a game since Jason White had 117 yards rushing against Kansas on Oct. 13, 2001.
Oklahoma rushed for 305 yards, with tailbacks Damien Williams, Brennan Clay and Roy Finch contributing 66, 43 and 42 yards, respectively.
Oklahoma managed only one first down on its first four possessions, that on a 24-yard scramble by Knight on the game's third play. The Sooners decided to go to the ground on their fifth possession, with good results. On the 14-play, 78-yard march, they ran 11 times before Knight capped the drive by checking off a play at the line of scrimmage, then hitting Saunders on a 12-yard scoring pass.
Two other run-heavy drives set up second-quarter field goals of 41 and 33 yards by Michael Hunnicutt.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma's defense - which closed the 2012 season with three atrocious performances in the Sooners' final four games - shut down Louisiana-Monroe's multiple-look offense with a performance that Stoops called one of the best in recent years by the Sooners.
The Warhawks reached the Oklahoma 23 midway through the first quarter, but an offensive pass interference penalty took them out of scoring range. Louisiana-Monroe didn't cross midfield again until two minutes into the fourth quarter. The Warhawks eventually turned the ball over on downs at the Oklahoma 16.
"We didn't expect to not score on offense," Browning said. ". Just tonight, everything fell apart. It felt like they didn't do anything we weren't expecting them to do. We just didn't do what we knew we could do, which is move the ball down the field."
Julian Wilson intercepted Browning to set up the Sooners at the Louisiana-Monroe 47 early in the third quarter. After an incompletion, Knight ran for 17 and 15 yards and Clay followed with runs of 7 and 8 yards, the latter going for a touchdown that put the Sooners ahead 20-0.
Knight threw an 18-yard scoring pass to Saunders to make it 27-0 after Louisiana-Monroe's Justin Manton was stopped short of a first down on a fake punt. Saunders returned a punt 45 yards to the Louisiana-Monroe 20 to set up a 13-yard touchdown pass from Knight to Trey Metoyer with 38 seconds left in the third quarter to put the Sooners up 34-0.