Oklahoma dominates



PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -- Maybe Mike Price should have expected this disappointing Rose Bowl farewell.
Price, coaching his final game at Washington State before heading off to Alabama, was going against an Oklahoma team that has proven to be a tough customer in big games under Bob Stoops.
That was the case Wednesday as the eighth-ranked Sooners dominated on both sides of the ball in a 34-14 victory.
"I don't want to sit here and be boastful, but we've been pretty good when we've had a little bit of extra time to play against somebody," Stoops said. "We were again tonight."
Oklahoma (12-2) held No. 7 Washington State scoreless until the final six minutes of the game. The Cougars (10-3) had a season-low 243 yards, including just 4 on the ground.
Bowl masters
Oklahoma is 3-1 in bowl games under Stoops, a Cardinal Mooney High graduate. It appeared the Sooners would keep their third straight bowl opponent out of the end zone until the Cougars finally got on the board in the late going.
"We slacked up in the fourth quarter and it leaves a bad taste in my mouth," said All-American linebacker Teddy Lehman.
But at least the Sooners won. Price, leaving after 14 seasons at Washington State, was left to answer questions about whether his decision to stay through the bowl affected his team.
"I'm sure I'll get my fair share of the blame for that, which is OK," Price said. "I just wanted to do everything I could to help the team win."
Offensive guard Billy Knott said Price's situation had no bearing.
"I don't buy it, not at all," he said. "We lost because we didn't play the way we needed to play. They did it today, they played better."
Jason Gesser, the Cougars' star quarterback, was 17-of-34 for 239 yards and two interceptions, and was sacked six times.
While the defense was controlling Washington State, Nate Hybl was solid at quarterback and Quentin Griffin had his 10th straight 100-yard game.
Hybl, like Griffin playing his final game, was 19-of-29 for 240 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He was voted the game's MVP.
"I'm proud of him, mostly because of the person he is, the character he exhibits and the way he handles himself on the field," Stoops said. "He's been solid for us all year and we've been fortunate to have him."
"I was looking to prove some people wrong," added Hybl, often the target of criticism in Oklahoma despite his 20-3 record as starter the past two seasons. "It's fairy tale-ish. It hasn't sunk in yet."
On his schedule
Price will get to see the Sooners again shortly. His second game as the Crimson Tide's coach will be against Oklahoma.
"It's not the way we wanted to end it, by any means," Price said. "It's a disappointing way to finish."
The Sooners were playing in their 36th bowl game but their first Rose Bowl. They got invited after the Orange Bowl picked Iowa and Southern California for its game. That left the Rose Bowl without a Pac-10-Big Ten matchup for the first time since 1947, not counting last year when this game was the site of the BCS national championship game between Miami and Nebraska.
The crowd of 86,848 on a sunny, 70-degree day was the smallest at this game since 1944, when 68,000 watched Southern California beat Washington 29-0.
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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