No. 1 Oklahoma eager to atone for last season's loss to Mizzou
After strengthening their grip on the No. 1 ranking with a gritty road win at Florida State, the Sooners head home looking to dish out a bit of revenge.
Oklahoma saw Missouri derail its national title hopes last year when the Tigers delivered a knockout blow in the fourth quarter. Mizzou scored 16 points and kept OU quarterback Landry Jones from completing a pass in the game’s final stanza — ending the Sooners’ one-week stint as the BCS No. 1 team.
Sophomore defensive back Tony Jefferson said he has been eying the opportunity for redemption for a while.
“Going into Florida State, we wanted to play that game. But at the same time, we knew [Missouri] was the game we really wanted to play,” Jefferson said.
“We’ve got a lot to prove to them. They got after us last year. There’s nothing we can say to defend that.”
OU coach Bob Stoops balked at calling it revenge, but said the Sooners are eager to make amends for last season’s stumble.
“We were No. 1 in the country last year, and we went up there and they whooped us,” Stoops said. “Our players are more than aware of that and anxious to play.”
Last week, the Tigers rode sophomore running back Henry Josey’s 263-yard, three-touchdown performance on their way to a 69-0 shellacking of Western Illinois. Sophomore quarterback James Franklin also added 246 passing yards and three touchdowns for Missouri.
Mizzou took advantage of its game against a Football Championship Subdivision opponent to pile up 744 yards of offense — a school record — and limit the Leathernecks to just one first down and 44 total yards.
While Missouri’s offense was exploding at home, Oklahoma downed Florida State with its suffocating defense and a tenacious fourth-quarter performance from the offense. The win was OU’s fifth straight outside Norman.
The Sooners’ performance in a hostile environment is an encouraging sign for Oklahoma, Stoops said.
“I really believe our players have a great confidence in how they’re playing,” Stoops said. “Hopefully we’ll carry it into this week.”
Missouri (2-1) comes to Oklahoma Memorial Stadium where the Sooners are 78-2 under Stoops and have won 37 straight — the longest active streak in the nation — but Oklahoma isn’t ready to let its guard down against the Tigers.
“There’s a lot of respect there,” Stoops said. “We’ve got to do our work during the week to have a chance to win.”
Although Missouri hasn’t beaten Oklahoma in Norman since 1966, receiver Jerrell Jackson said he wasn’t intimidated.
“I don’t know what makes them tough,” he said. “There ain’t nothing tough about them to me. Just watching film, I’m just going to attack them like I attack every other opponent.”
Jackson burned OU with nine catches for 139 yards and a touchdown in last year’s game, but his remarks drew the ire of the Sooners.
“Someone made himself bait with those comments,” senior linebacker Travis Lewis posted on Twitter. “Should (have) just shut his mouth.”
But any trash talk or revenge hype is insignificant to OU, Stoops said.
“Just because they beat us a year ago doesn’t mean it wins it for you,” he said. “There’s a process of working through the week and being prepared for it, that’s what wins for you.”