Bounce Back Weekend

NORMAN, Okla. — For the Sooners, it's gut check time.

Last weekend's loss at home to Texas Tech severely damaged their National Championship aspirations.

It knocked them from the ranks of unbeaten teams, and just in time for the most difficult road game yet, as OU heads to Manhattan, Kan., Saturday for a Top 10 showdown against the eighth-ranked Kansas State Wildcats.

"Yeah, it's always fun to go against the best in the country, and K-State definitely is a great team," said quarterback Landry Jones. "We got a huge challenge in front of us. You know, if we come out and if we're not focused, they'll definitely beat us pretty soundly. So, we got to prepare and be ready to play our best football."

And if the Sooners, indeed, want to get back on the winning track against a very formidable opponent, that means digging deep on both sides of the ball.

Against Tech, the offense sputtered on numerous occasions, despite racking up 536 yards of total offense and 38 points.

Most of those were in the second quarter when OU had four possessions and had a trio of three-and-outs along with a fumble.

The Sooners had another three-and-out drive to start the third quarter, which capped off a string of five straight possessions without a first down.

"We just didn't help our defense out at all with those things," Jones said. "We got to step up right there."

Speaking of stepping up, the defense didn't do its part either.

Tech's air raid again blitzed the Sooners for 452 passing yards, as the Red Raiders accumulated 572 yards of total offense and 41 points, exposing breakdowns in the secondary all day long.

They had touchdown drives of 54, 69, 72, 74 and 78 yards and virtually had their way all evening offensively.

That can't happen again, if the Sooners want to keep their Big 12 Championship and slim National Championship hopes alive.

"I think this week is going to be very important going to K-State, you know, ranked in the Top 10, a great 7-0 team," said field cornerback Demontre Hurst. "Right now, we just got to get back in our groove, kind of get back to what we do best and just start having fun with it."

On that note, one of the many things head coach Bob Stoops has excelled at since taking the job at OU is motivating his teams and preparing his teams to bounce back and get back in that groove after a loss.

Only once in the new millennium has a Stoops-led team dropped back-to-back games.

Ironically, K-State was part of that after LSU defeated the Sooners 21-14 in the National Championship following the Wildcats' 35-7 triumph in the 2003 Big 12 Championship.

And only once ever has Stoops' troops dropped consecutive regular season games.

That occurred during his first season in Norman back in 1999.

So, there's a lot of reason to believe this team will be resilient and come back like the team before the setback.

"We all have to step up and everybody has to step up like in their position," said right tackle Tyler Evans. "If nobody steps up, we're going to be in a lot of trouble. But I feel as if this loss, I mean, yeah it hurts our season but it also helps our season because it makes us realize that we can actually lose and now we have to step up and play our real football game."

The best thing after a loss is getting back out there for another game and OU will have that opportunity tomorrow.


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