NORMAN, Okla. (AP)—The rush onto the field was a long hoped-for release for Missouri fans, a celebration of a monumental upset after so much heartache over the years—and so much recently against Oklahoma.
The Sooners haven’t forgotten.
All-American Ryan Broyles remembers being surrounded by smack-talking fans as he tried to get off of Faurot Field a year ago following the 36-27 loss that knocked Oklahoma from atop the BCS standings and damaged its national championship hopes.
“It’s just not a good deal at all,” Broyles said.
Coach Bob Stoops says he doesn’t want his Sooners (2-0)—again ranked No. 1, this time in the polls—focused on revenge when they host Missouri (2-1) on Saturday night.
“Revenge doesn’t win,” Stoops said. “We got embarrassed the way we played and the way they beat us that we want to play better.”
Still, he and his coaches did take time this week to show players the video of the Tigers’ jubilant fans. Make no mistake: the Sooners want to get even.
“You’re going against a team that beat you last year, prevented you from going to the national championship, and then they still think they have another chance to beat you again,” defensive back Tony Jefferson said. “It gives you more of wanting to win this game.”
Jerrell Jackson, who had nine catches for 139 yards and the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter last season, provided some bulletin-board material earlier this week by saying he saw “nothing tough” about beating the Sooners in Norman for the first time since 1966. Oklahoma has a current 37-game winning streak at home, the longest in the nation.
But it’s not as though Oklahoma needed any more motivation.
“I’m pretty sure they’re not going to forget that loss. That pretty much hurt their season,” Jackson said. “We understand how they feel because we had a few losses like that.”
Oklahoma spoiled two of the Tigers’ most successful seasons in decades by beating Missouri in the 2007 and 2008 Big 12 championship games. Mizzou was ranked No. 1 for the 2007 game and would have played for the national title if not for its second loss to the Sooners that season.
Beating Oklahoma for the first time in eight tries, and only the second time in 20 meetings, isn’t enough to satisfy the Tigers.
“Nothing from that game is going to motivate us to play this game, because we should already be motivated,” Jackson said. “They’re No. 1 again. That motivates us to go into their house and play them and beat them on their own turf.”
Stoops told his team after a 23-13 win last week at then-No. 5 Florida State — which was trying to avenge a 30-point loss in Norman a year earlier—that “revenge only lasts for those first couple plays and then you still have to play 60 minutes of football,” offensive tackle Donald Stephenson said.
“So, it’s not about revenge for us,” said Stephenson, a Missouri native. “It’s about getting better at what we do and fixing what we need to fix, everything that we didn’t do well last year.”
Mizzou struck immediately last year, with Gahn McGaffie returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown, and then scored 16 straight points in the fourth quarter to take control of a tie game. Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones didn’t complete a pass in a brutal fourth quarter.
Stoops said the Sooners have to respect Missouri after what happened a year ago.
“To me, that’s arrogant to act like they had no reason to beat us. Sure they did,” he said. “They played better than us. They were tougher than us. They outrushed us. They coached better than us. Whatever you want to say. It has nothing to do with revenge.”