No. 10 Sooners face Kansas between rivalry, Irish

Associated Press
Oklahoma fullback Trey Millard (33) is grabbed by Texas cornerback Carrington Byndom (23) during the first half of an NCAA college football game at the Cotton Bowl Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012, in Dallas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
.

View gallery

Oklahoma fullback Trey Millard (33) is grabbed by Texas cornerback Carrington Byndom (23) during the …

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — In all his time as Oklahoma's coach, Bob Stoops has always found a way to navigate his Sooners around the potential trap that looms each year following the emotionally charged Red River Rivalry.

He sees no reason that should change this year just because Notre Dame — ranked No. 5 after a 6-0 start — is looming right around the corner for No. 10 Oklahoma (4-1, 2-1 Big 12).

Stoops is 13 for 13 in games that immediately follow the annual showdown with Texas at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. That includes five victories against Kansas (1-5, 0-3), which will visit Owen Field on Saturday night in that situation yet again.

"We've got a pretty good record after Texas. Our season doesn't begin and end with Texas," Stoops said Monday. "It never has. So, in the end, we'll be ready to play."

The challenge will be avoiding looking ahead to facing the current Notre Dame team while preparing to deal with some of the former Fighting Irish: Kansas coach Charlie Weis and quarterback Dayne Crist.

"It shouldn't matter at all the team that we're going to play," safety Javon Harris said. "Kansas is going to come in here and play lights out against us. We know any team that we play is going to play to their max potential, and it's going to be up to us on what we do."

The game will be played two days shy of the anniversary of the Sooners' shocking home loss to unranked Texas Tech last season, which snapped their 39-game winning streak on Owen Field. So when Stoops was asked about the potential for a letdown because of the "enormous game" looming against the Irish, he responded: "We've got an enormous game this week."

Oklahoma was utterly dominant in a 63-21 rout of then-No. 15 Texas on Saturday, allowing just two first downs while racing out to a 36-2 halftime lead. Two of the Longhorns' three touchdowns came in garbage time against Oklahoma's backups, and the other was on an interception returned for a touchdown.

Stoops said that instead of giving out game balls to individual players, he simply awarded one to the entire offense and one to the entire defense. That's how impressed he was with the performance.

"We can take what we did in Texas and play off of it," Harris said. "We want to build off of it. We want to get better. To me, I feel like we played good but we want to be great. We're not done yet."

Harris agreed with the notion that Oklahoma peaked last season for a 55-17 romp against Texas, then didn't maintain its level of play throughout the rest of the season and lost three games down the stretch.

"I think the big thing we've learned from last year is that everything kind of affects what you're doing on the football field. It affects what kind of team and what kind of discipline you have on the team," quarterback Landry Jones said. "Last year, we had countless guys missing class, late for class, doing all those type of things and those hurt us on the field because they got suspended for practice and got suspended for games.

"Now, I think we're taking care of business off the field and I think we're playing with more discipline on the field for sure."

Jones said some of the offending parties were kicked off the team and others have cleaned up their acts.

"It's accountability and leadership. If you see somebody doing something wrong, you've got to let them know straight," Harris said.

"The little things are kind of what messed us up last year. We had suspensions, we had things going on and now we know that that hurts the team. We know that those things hurt the team majorly, guys missing class and off-the-field issues and you missing those guys on the team. The camaraderie starts to fall apart."

The Sooners already had a wake-up call this season, losing at home to a Kansas State team that has since moved up to No. 4, and handled that adversity by posting impressive back-to-back wins away from home. Jones said it was a matter of guys loosening up.

"I think you've just got to get out of your own way," Jones said. "You've got to just realize this is a game and it's supposed to be fun, and you're supposed to have fun, so why play tight? Why do all those things? Why worry about so many different things that really you can't control."

In the back of their minds are thoughts of the 2008 season, when they lost to Texas but were able to rebound and play for the BCS title. Another loss would eliminate those hopes, though.

"It's kind of the same type of situation that we're in now," Jones said. "We just have to keep this momentum, keep building on it and who knows what's going to happen? There's a lot of football left."

View Comments (0)

Recommended for You

  • Luggage piece found on French island near possible MH370 debris

    Part of a bag was found Thursday on the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion not far from plane debris which has fuelled speculation it may be from missing flight MH370. "The piece of luggage was here since yesterday but nobody really paid attention," said Johnny Begue, a member of a local…

    AFP
  • Russia reassures Israel over Iran nuclear deal

    Russian President Vladimir Putin told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday that the deal on Iran's nuclear program would improve security in the Middle East and guaranteed that Tehran would not acquire nuclear arms. Israel plans to lobby the U.S. Congress not to approve the…

    Reuters42 mins ago
  • Chicago man cleared after 17 years in prison shot dead

    CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago man who served 17 years in prison for murder before being cleared of the crime has been shot and killed almost three years after being released from prison, police said Wednesday.

    Associated Press
  • Family Pet-Sitter Helps Herself To Homeowner's Possessions

    DEAR ABBY: A trusted and beloved family member who takes care of my cats -- and therefore has a key to my house -- has been stealing things like cleaning supplies, knickknacks, family pictures, etc. Most of them have little monetary value. But imagine my surprise when I spotted some of my missing…

    Dear Abby
  • Eight family members decapitated in north Mexico

    Eight people from the same family, including two minors, were kidnapped by masked gunmen and their decapitated bodies were found days later in northern Mexico, authorities said Wednesday. The bodies were found after a ninth member of the Martinez family escaped Sunday's abduction near Casa Quemada,…

    AFP
  • An American Dentist Killed Zimbabwe’s Famous Lion

    Cecil the lion, a famous black-maned resident of Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, died at the hands of an American dentist, conservationists claim. “Mr. Palmer shot Cecil with a bow and arrow but this shot didn't kill him,” Johnny Rodrigues, chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, said in…

    TakePart.com
  • Colorado theater shooter's dad saw wide-eyed smirk before

    CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) — James Holmes came home on winter break from graduate school looking haggard and making odd facial expressions, but his father didn't suspect at the time that he was descending into mental illness.

    Associated Press
  • View

    Creeping vines, abandoned village (20 photos)

    Just a handful of people still live in a village on Shengshan Island east of Shanghai that was once home to more than 2,000 fishermen. Every day hundreds of tourists visit Houtouwan, making their way on narrow footpaths past tumbledown houses overtaken by vegetation. The remote village, on one of…

    Yahoo News
  • Dashcam catches off-duty cop threatening to put 'hole in head' of driver

    Technically Incorrect: A Massachusetts driver makes a wrong turn. What happens next, all filmed on his dashcam, has led to an investigation. And yes, it's now on YouTube.

    CNET
  • Taliban disavows Afghan peace talks after leader declared dead

    By Kay Johnson KABUL (Reuters) - The Taliban's official spokesman disavowed peace talks with the Afghan government on Thursday, throwing fledgling efforts to negotiate an end to 14 years of war into disarray. The statement came a day after the Afghan government said that Mullah Omar, the elusive…

    Reuters
  • Trump leads Republicans, but Democrats thump him: poll

    Bombastic US billionaire Donald Trump handily leads all fellow Republicans in the 2016 presidential race, though Hillary Clinton and other Democrats trump him in head-to-head matchups, a poll said Thursday. Trump plunged into the crowded Republican nomination battle last month, and has since…

    AFP
  • Hidden Security Cameras Are Shocking Surprise For Daughter

    DEAR ABBY: I'm a 19-year-old woman in college who still lives with my parents. I found out something several weeks ago that's bothering me, and I need advice badly. Years ago, after a robbery, my parents installed security cameras outside our house. I knew about them because they were visible. But…

    Dear Abby
  • Police Officer Involved in Deadly Cincinnati Shooting of Samuel DuBose Indicted for Murder, Dismissed from Force

    "I'm treating him like a murderer," prosecutor Joseph Deters said during a news conference when describing the warrant out for a police officer who killed Samuel DuBose, 43, earlier this month. Footage released today from a police officer's body cam lasts about 10 minutes and shows the shooting.…

    ABC News
  • Play

    Custom truck built by father and son stolen in Lemoore

    A Lemoore man is on the hunt for his stolen pick-up truck. The classic custom ride holds significant sentiment to its owner, who built the truck with his late father.

    KFSN – Fresno
  • Boko Haram 'slits throats of 10 fishermen' near Lake Chad

    Boko Haram Islamists slit the throats of 10 fishermen in villages near Baga on the shores of the Lake Chad in northeastern Nigeria, a leading fisherman and a resident said Thursday. "On Monday around 4 pm (1500 GMT), Boko Haram attacked three villages on the shores of Lake Chad where they…

    AFP
  • Internet mauls dentist accused of illegal kill of popular lion

    Technically Incorrect: Walter Palmer, a dentist in Minnesota, has his Yelp entry attacked by those not fond of his allegedly illegal killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe.

    CNET
  • Independent media battle on in Putin's Russia

    By Timothy Heritage MOSCOW (Reuters) - Alexei Venediktov, one of Russia's most prominent journalists, does not go out without a bodyguard and does not answer mobile phone calls for fear of being tracked. Such precautions do not seem out of place in a country where at least 17 journalists have been…

    Reuters
  • Kurdish rebels attack Turkish security forces, killing 5

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Kurdish rebels have attacked Turkish security forces in two separate assaults in southeast Turkey, killing five people, officials said. One rebel was also killed.

    Associated Press