Revenge?? Not So, Sooners Say

NORMAN, Okla. — Media and pundits have been labeling this week's game against the Missouri Tigers as a revenge game since the summer, but players and coaches alike insist that's not the case.

In fact, head coach Bob Stoops got a little offensive during the week about labeling it that way, going into a two-minute-long spiel explaining why that's not how they see it.

"I haven't emphasized [that]," Stoops said. "Those words have never come out of my mouth. So, you're saying that, not me. I said a week ago--I'm smart enough to know--a week ago I said revenge doesn't win. So, you've never heard me say that. No, it's just we didn't play [well]. We got embarrassed the way we played and the way they beat us that we want to play better. And what works for you is getting [ready], the way you prepare, the way you work and the way you play in the game.

"You know, that stuff, don't go putting words that I didn't say. You know, I said we're very aware. This is our first conference game. They're an excellent team. You know, we were No. 1 a year ago when they beat us. All these things are [true], so there's a lot of respect there and we've got to do our work through the week to have a chance to win."

He didn't stop there.

"You put it however you want to write it, but I don't go there," Stoops said. "No, that isn't what I'm talking about. To me that's arrogant to act like they had no reason to beat us. Sure they did. They played better than us. They were tougher than us. They out-rushed us. They coached better than us. Whatever you want to say, so that has nothing to do with revenge."

So, to think the Tigers don't have OU's attention would be foolish.

As mentioned the Sooners traveled to Columbia, Mo., last year as the No. 1 team in the nation, ranked third in the Associated Press Poll, and Missouri shocked them out of the Show Me State.

"Yeah, I think they have our attention more than anything," said slot receiver Ryan Broyles. "You've seen the media, so I feel like they feel like they're the underdog again, so we're just going to go out there and play our game."

Running back Brennan Clay elaborated beyond that, stating that it's not only a game against a foe that defeated them in 2010 but one against a very formidable conference opponent.

"I mean, it's going to be a big game," Clay said. "They talk about it all the time, but you come to Oklahoma to play big games. Week-in, week-out we're prepared for a big game. We know what they did last year. We know they beat us, you know, in front of their home crowd. You know, it just went insane, especially after the game. And we're just eager to get out on the field Saturday. It's another big game for us. We're going to handle business regardless of the situation of whoever we play."

Because of that, last year does matter, even though it might not be a "revenge" game in the Sooners' eyes.

"It's definitely a factor," said nickelback Tony Jefferson. "You know, we went into that week ranked No. 1. They kind of downed us from getting to the national championship, which we wanted. And, I mean, I don't know if it's revenge or it's payback, but we just want to get out there more than anything and, you know, show them that we're a much better football team than last year. We're ready to play."

That seems to be the general focus on this game as opposed to it just being a revenge game against the former Big 12 North foe.

"I do remember last year," said left tackle Donald Stephenson. "It wasn't a good feeling, and I definitely think that we will be a better team going against them this time. They won't see the same team they saw last year."

Expect the Sooners to come out with a lot of energy and enthusiasm and not lay the same egg they did a year ago.

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