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Oklahoma football: Sooners aim to remain composed in chippy games

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Mayfield and Riley

Senior quarterback Baker Mayfield high-fives Coach Lincoln Riley Nov. 25.

Oklahoma right guard Dru Samia lay on the 12-yard line, grabbing the face mask of West Virginia's Adam Shuler II. Shuler pressed Samia into Owen Field, not letting him move an inch. As the officials rushed to break it up, Samia launched his fist, taking a swing at Shuler. 

Ejected. Oklahoma Memorial Stadium rained down with boos. 

"It's a heated game," coach Lincoln Riley told ESPN at halftime. "It has been for many years. (There's) a lot riding on this game for both teams, so that's part of it. That's great Big 12 football right there."

For the second week in a row, No. 4 Oklahoma (11-1, 8-1 Big 12) found itself in a dog fight, this time against West Virginia (7-5, 5-4 Big 12). And once again, this only fueled the Sooners' fire, as they went on to rout the Mountaineers 59-31.  

"It was heated, no doubt," Riley said. "(The referees) talked to both teams, talked to both sidelines, and I thought we did a decent job of managing it."

Samia's ejection only seemed to make Oklahoma play harder, sparking a 24-0 run before halftime. Two plays after the ejection, the Sooners would find the end zone for the fourth time, and senior quarterback Baker Mayfield sprinted down the sidelines waving his arms ferociously, attempting to pump up the angered crowd.

"West Virginia is always chippy," Mayfield said. "Having our fans get even louder and they're booing, they're getting into it, and that's the stuff that makes college football fun."

The Sooners "feed" off teams that try to get under their skin.

"I think our team feeds off a little bit of scrappiness," junior tight end Mark Andrews said. "At the same time, we have to be able to have some more composure at times."

West Virginia isn't the first team that has tried to get under the No. 4-ranked Sooners' skin, and they won't be the last. Despite Samia's ejection, Oklahoma was composed Saturday night, but also didn't back down from a fight.

"You get tested in different ways, and when you've had the success we've had here, you're going to get tested," Riley said. "You've got to be the bigger man. You've got to be the more poised group. We were better on that today as a whole, but obviously some things we have to do better."

From Kansas not shaking their hands to West Virginia playing chippy, the Sooners know they're going to get everybody's best shot, and they're ready for the challenge.

"I think every team that plays us is coming out to get us," Andrews said. "We have the bullseye on our back."

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I joined The Daily in the fall of 2016 as a sophomore. I've covered the soccer team, both men's and women's basketball, as well as the football team for the past two years. I have been the sports editor since spring 2018.

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