Sooners Head to Tempe With Heavy Motivation

NORMAN, Okla. — The Sooners have a message for all the naysayers out there: they are ready for the Insight Bowl.

To say they're not up for their final game of the season just isn't accurate.

"I would say that's a false statement," said right tackle Lane Johnson. "Our practices have been more physical than what they've probably been all year and yeah, we're just working. Our goal is to beat Iowa. They're a good team, fundamentally sound, got good, strong D-line. And something we've got to prepare for."

"I'd say they're wrong," said left guard Gabe Ikard. "I mean, you got to--we take a lot of pride playing football here, and we're playing a really, really good team."

"I don't think that's going to be a question," said linebacker Tom Wort. "We're all looking forward to it. Like I said, it's a challenge and you know, we got something to prove. So, everyone's motivated."

It seems to be the key theme for OU this bowl season: motivation.

They're not playing in the BCS National Championship Game, like many preseason pundits predicted.

And they're not even their conference champion in the Fiesta Bowl or another BCS contest.

But there's still a lot to get out there.

"I mean, we're chasing after our 10th win," Wort said. "You know, not a lot of teams can say they get 10 wins a season. So, we're looking forward to that, looking forward to the challenge."

Then, there's the fact that they were absolutely annihilated their last time out by their in-state rival, thrashed 44-10 by an Oklahoma State team who hadn't beat them in the previous eight attempts.

Avenging that has to be a motivating factor.

"We haven't played in a long time since the Oklahoma State game, and that loss left a bitter taste in my mouth," said running back Roy Finch. "And, you know, we don't want to end the season off with a loss like that."

The Sooners sure don't want to end it with a pair of losses like that.

Heck, they don't want to end the season with a pair of losses, period, let alone setbacks in three of their last four outings.

Losing to Iowa would mean OU went just 1-3 down the stretch after an 8-1 start heading into Waco against Baylor.

A national championship caliber club heading into the season will have failed to reach the 10-win plateau after eight victories in its first nine contests.

It would presumably send the Sooners reeling into the offseason even more than they already are with all the transfers and attrition.

Winning completely changes all that, enough motivation for anyone on this team.

"By winning this game, it's just going to help us out in the offseason with a positive attitude and start working on next year," Wort said.

The veteran Ikard concurred.

"You've gotta work towards 2012 and start building for the next team next year, and that starts off with a positive bowl experience," Ikard said.

Need some more motivation, still?

The Sooners have it.

Field cornerback Demontre Hurst put it best when he said this one is for those who will see the field in the Crimson and Cream for the last time.

"[We're] just ready to get back in that winning spirit, kind of trying to get this program back on track and lead the seniors out here with another W," Hurst said. "So, that's pretty much the most important thing, the most thing that I'm motivated about right now."

See, it may seem like from the outset OU has no reason to be excited about this matchup and opportunity.

But they have found every possible reason to be motivated and run with it.

If they fall short, it won't be because of a lack of motivation.

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