From Norman: Oklahoma Reaction

Oklahoma finally knows its bowl opponent for the 66th Annual SBC Cotton Bowl Classic. It's Arkansas, a team that twice before has provided bowl opposition for the Sooners.

The 10-2 Sooners and the 7-4 Razorbacks will collide at 10 a.m., Jan. 1.

It's the third consecutive meeting between these two teams in bowl games. OU won the 1987 Orange Bowl over UA, 42-8, but dropped a 31-6 decision to the Hogs in the 1978 Orange Bowl.

Aside from those two games, the two teams, despite their relative proximity, have not played since 1926. Oklahoma leads the all-time series between the two, 10-3-1.

"The opponent won't change our motivation," said senior linebacker Brandon Moore. "We'll prepare just as vigorously as we would for any game. I do think this adds a little rivalry aspect because the two states are so close together."

OU strong safety Roy Williams, who recently won the Thorpe Award as the nation's best defensive back, said he's focused on the OU seniors.

"We're just happy to be in a bowl and to have the opportunity to play with these seniors one ore time before they go out," he said. "I know Arkansas has a good team, but we haven't had enough time yet to learn anything specific about them."

Nate Hybl, the Oklahoma quarterback, who originally transferred to OU from Georgia, has seen Arkansas and knows the Sooners have a strong opponent.

"Since we ended our season, we were just waiting to see who we would be playing in our bowl game," he said. "Now we know that it's going to be Arkansas and it's a great opportunity for us. They're a very good football team. I saw them play in that big overtime game earlier this season and I was really impressed. At the time, I didn't foresee us playing them, but I was impressed with their quarterback and with the way they hung in there. I know they're a quality football team. Transferring from an SEC school, I know they have great athletes and I know their coaching staff is very well-respected."

Oklahoma senior wide receiver Josh Norman added, "I'm excited about playing Arkansas because they're a good team from a good conference. We always hear the arguments as to what conference is better, the SEC or the Big 12, so this will give us a good chance to represent Oklahoma and the Big 12. I'm excited to be matched up with them and it should be an exciting game. We're looking forward to getting down to business."

Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops was away from Norman on a recruiting trip Sunday and was not immediately available for comment.

Arkansas started the season at 1-3, but then reeled off six consecutive victoriues before dropping the regular season finale at LSU, 41-38. The Razorbacks were 4-4 in SEC play.

The Razorbacks have a 3-5-1 record at the Cotton Bowl. Oklahoma is playing in the game for the first time.


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