Sooners eager to get rid of bad taste of last year's Bedlam loss
BY GUERIN EMIG World Sports Writer
Saturday, November 24, 2012
11/24/12 at 4:45 AM
Find more Bedlam coverage: Read all of this week’s preview stories and analysis on the Bedlam football game.
NORMAN - The Oklahoma Sooners who arrived in Stillwater last year were all big and bad.
They ran onto the field and headed straight for Oklahoma State's tunnel for some taunting. They planned on winning the game, capturing an eighth Big 12 championship, and then celebrating with a team picture right there in the middle of Boone Pickens Stadium.
The Sooners who left Stillwater?
"The worst feeling I ever had after a game," punter and captain Tress Way said, "just being embarrassed off the field."
"Just extreme disappointment with the way we played," center Gabe Ikard said, "the way we got beat in that game. That final score looked really bad."
It was 44-10. The Sooners had suffered only one Bedlam beating worse than that, back in 1945.
"That wasn't even a loss," defensive tackle Casey Walker said. "That was a massacre."
Making it worse was the long slog through exultant orange-clad fans.
"It took me, I don't know, five minutes to shuffle through the crowd, walking with my head down," defensive end David King said. "Two fans came up to me and said some of the most disrespectful things I've ever heard."
King wanted to snap back. But he didn't. He couldn't.
"Because at the end of the day," he said, "they won the game."
At 2:30 p.m. Saturday, after a 356-day wait, the Sooners can finally snap back.
Bob Stoops prefers to dismiss the role emotion plays in a football game. As the Sooners' CEO, he'd rather talk about factors like preparation and discipline.
But when you have been humiliated by your in-state rival ...
When you have watched that rival win a conference championship at your expense, and play the BCS game you wanted to be in, while you were banished to the JV bowl in the same city ...
"I actually saw their bus," King said of his Insight Bowl experience. "We were just driving through Scottsdale. I was like, 'Hey, that's the hotel we stayed ... Oh.' "
When you come into the rematch having just surrendered a school-record 778 yards ...
Well, better to ask Stoops' brother Mike, the proud defensive coordinator, for a more accurate read on OU's emotions.
"I think you can motivate a team by what you say and what you do and how you act, certainly," Mike Stoops said this week. "This game is built on emotion. And motivation. We say that wears off after a few plays, but that's not true. Your will to win, your determination to win is built as the week goes on. It can be a factor in any game."
It most definitely was in the last Bedlam game Mike Stoops coached in, OU's 52-9 beatdown in 2003. Rashaun Woods blew through the Sooners' defense the previous year, a little like Tavon Austin blew through it last week at West Virginia.
"We had a grudge, just like this team this year," said Derrick Strait, the Sooners' All-America cornerback in '03 who is now an OU quality control coach. "We wanted to go out and prove a point."
Based on what happened last year in Stillwater and last week in Morgantown, the Sooners should actually want to prove two today.
"I think these guys want to come out and make a showing that says, 'That's not us,' " defensive ends coach Bobby Jack Wright said. "You can go to last year and to last week and say, 'These guys would like to atone for some poor play.' "
To play better, the Sooners must be smarter and more focused. Some, therefore, believe that whatever hard feelings they harbor over last year must be controlled. Some believe it wouldn't matter if OU was hosting Southeastern Oklahoma State this afternoon.
"I still contend it's more about us," co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell said. "If we play as well as we're capable, that's all that really matters."
That might suffice the majority of game weeks.
This, however, is not one of them.
"Emotion, motivation, I think that helps you prepare more throughout the course of the week," Mike Stoops said. "I think that was a big part of it eight or nine years ago. We got embarrassed the year before, so ..."
This is how Walker remembers his year before, heading into Saturday's a year later: "It was a combination of mad and hurt. They stomped a mud hole in us. It's one of those things you try to forget about, but you can't.
"That's motivation. That's motivation all day long."
"A lot of guys did take it personal," King said. "I think you'll see a lot of guys more on edge this Saturday, knowing what they did to us last year."
No. 22 OSU at No. 14 OU
2:30 p.m. Saturday
Owen Field, Norman
Radio: KMOD fm97.5, KTBZ am1430, KITO fm96.1 (OU feed); KFAQ am1170 (OSU feed)
Records: OSU 7-3, 5-2 Big 12; OU 8-2, 6-1 Big 12
Last meeting: OSU claimed the Big 12 title with a 44-10 win in Stillwater in 2011.
Original Print Headline: OU seeks revenge as it hosts OSU in a showdown
Guerin Emig 918-581-8355
OSU's Joseph Randle runs past the OU defense during last season's OSU Bedlam win in Stillwater. This season, the Sooners are looking to avenge the loss. Photo by MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World
West Virginia's Tavon Austin runs the ball against Demontre Hurst and Lamar Harris last week. OU gave up 778 total yards against the Mountaineers. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World