OU stays focused on task at hand despite Texas Tech’s success
Football: Sooners try to avoid watching scoreboard
With OU driving midway through the second quarter and about to add to its already insurmountable lead, the stadium scoreboards flashed “Score Alert.”
Texas Tech 19, Texas 0.
The crowd instantly erupted. The Sooners were on the 10-yard line and about to add another score, but the fans’ attention was transfixed on the game in Lubbock that could help save the Sooners’ Big 12 title hopes.
But the players maintained a clear focus despite knowing that the big game in Lubbock had a major impact on what happens in the upcoming weeks as far as Big 12 play is concerned.
Offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson said he stressed that importance.
“I told them afterwards they can watch that scoreboard or watch that TV all they wanted, but it really doesn’t matter,” Wilson said. “It’s really what we do. Whether Texas were to win or lose or Tech win or lose, there’s a lot of ball, and we have a lot of ball [left].”
Wilson said many teams lose focus because of glancing at the scoreboard and mentally exiting games.
“The worst thing that can happen this time of year is too many teams scoreboard watch,” Wilson said.
But the importance was obviously there.
From the interview room after OU completed its 62-28 blowout victory, as head coach Bob Stoops spoke in the postgame press conference, media members checked their phones to see how Texas Tech was faring.
Moments later, roars exploded from the OU stadium concourse and Stoops jokingly said, “Well, I guess you know what just happened.”
As players entered the room, it was apparent the upset the Sooners needed to get back into the conference race had come true.
Texas Tech had just won 39-33 thanks to last-second heroics from Michael Crabtree.
While the players wanted to keep the focus on the win over Nebraska, the significance of the Tech victory could not be ignored.
“Anytime a top-10 ranked team goes down, it always helps you out,” said senior wide receiver Quentin Chaney.
OU must now focus on its next opponent and make sure it does not have an emotional letdown.
“We have Texas A&M next week, so we can’t look forward to anyone except for them,” Chaney said.
For a team that has seen its share of misfortunes — including a season-ending injury to junior middle linebacker Ryan Reynolds, a number of other injuries and the heartbreaking loss to Texas — players said they have now been given a second chance.
“We should never have been in a position to count on Texas losing, but since we are and Tech beat Texas, we are in control of our own destiny now,” said sophomore defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.
The Sooners still need help to qualify for the Big 12 Championship, but the biggest hurdle is now out of the way.
If Texas Tech only loses once and that comes against OU, and the Sooners win the rest of their games, the Big 12 tiebreaker would come down to which team is ranked highest in the BCS.
Texas Tech is currently No. 2, Texas is No. 5 and OU is No. 6. However, if the Sooners are able to defeat Tech and Oklahoma State, they would likely finish with the highest BCS rank.
Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good, and in this case fortune has begun to smile on the Sooners.
“We just have to make sure we take care of business,” McCoy said. “That game is over now, so we just need to handle what is in front of us.”