Archive for Saturday, October 18, 2003

Top-ranked OU focused on Missouri

Sooners don’t have time to relish victory against Texas

October 18, 2003


— Bob Stoops doesn't even bother with an answer anymore, since the question comes every year.

Repeatedly since Oklahoma's 65-13 rout of Texas last Saturday, the coach has been asked some variation of this: Are the Sooners in danger of a letdown after such an emotional win against arch rival Texas?

"You guys have to get a new motto," Stoops said. "Check our record after the game the last few years and see how we've done."

The record proves his point.

Since Stoops arrived in Norman, Oklahoma (6-0, 2-0 Big 12) has easily managed to avoid a post-Texas hangover.

In his first year, 1999, the Sooners followed a loss to Texas with a 51-6 victory over Texas A&M.; The next year, a stunning 63-14 win over Texas led to a 41-31 victory at Kansas State. In 2001, Oklahoma followed up a 14-3 win in the Cotton Bowl with a 38-10 rout of Kansas on the road.

After beating Texas 35-24 last season, Stoops rallied his team around shutting down then-Heisman Trophy contender Senecca Wallace and the ninth-ranked Iowa State Cyclones. It worked -- Oklahoma crushed Wallace's Heisman hopes and his team, 49-3.

There should be no problem keeping the top-ranked Sooners' attention today either.

No. 24 Missouri (5-1, 1-1) comes to Norman after beating Nebraska 41-24 last week, snapping a 25-game losing streak in that series. Not only that, but Missouri has quarterback Brad Smith, someone who gave the Sooners' defense fits like no other player last season.

"We're on to the next game," Stoops said. "We have our work cut out for us again."

In last year's game, Smith rolled up 391 yards of offense and scored three touchdowns as Missouri nearly knocked off OU. The Sooners needed a fake field goal to score the go-ahead touchdown in a 31-24 win.

Oklahoma's defense, ranked fourth in the nation, is awaiting a chance to make amends for last year's performance. It'll be tough for Smith and Missouri to summon a similar performance against the Sooners.

In addition to a dominant defense, OU also boasts the country's top-scoring offense at 47.7 points a game. That includes four straight games in which the Sooners topped 50 points, something that's never been done in school history.

"They have no weaknesses," Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. "They have none. That was evident last week."

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