OU awaits most raucous home game in years

NORMAN, Okla. — If there's been one constant this week around Soonerville, it's that everyone around expects a big time atmosphere Saturday evening when two of the country's most historic programs lock arms in an epic Top 10 clash at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.

No. 8 Oklahoma and No. 5 Notre Dame have combined for 15 AP National Championships and 12 Heisman Trophy winners, and all of that led head coach Bob Stoops to call it the most anticipated game in more than a decade.

"It's probably the most anticipated game since 2000 when Nebraska was came in here, middle of the year, ranked number one in the country and we were right behind them in number two - that was a pretty incredible day," Stoops said immediately after his Sooners defeated Kansas last weekend. "We were down 14-0 right off the bat and then came back and got 31 unanswered points. I can remember that it was the first time--the only time--in a long time that the crowd stormed the field afterwards."

There probably won't be any of that this time around if the Sooners win, but the environment figures to be the same.

The Oklahoma Athletics Department has orchestrated a stripe out, in which all students will wear red and every section will alternate between White and Crimson, starting with section one all the way around to section 40 in the South end zone.

Rally towels will be placed on every seat in the stadium.

"I can't even describe it," said wide receiver Sterling Shepard of his expectations. "I'm sure it's gonna be pretty wild. I've never played in a game like this, so I couldn't really say."

Undoubtedly, the last time OU had a match-up that loomed this large came in 2008 when the fifth-ranked Sooners hosted No. 2 Texas Tech.

The Sooners smashed the Graham Harrell-led Red Raiders 65-21 en route to staking an eventual spot in the BCS National Championship Game the last time it was hosted at the Orange Bowl in Miami Gardens.

Oklahoma Memorial Stadium erupted to House of Pain's "Jump Around" repeatedly throughout the contest, showing shades of Madison, Wis., home to the Wisconsin Badgers, as the Sooners waxed Tech that fateful November night.

And it's safe to say all the players are not only hoping, but expecting that same response from the Sooner faithful as they host the Domers this time in a contest that has all kinds of BCS ramifications.

"I'm excited to see," said offensive tackle Lane Johnson. "I mean I think our capacity holds 85,000, but I'm sure there's gonna be so many people here. And I think it's probably gonna be the loudest it's been since Texas Tech."

Said cornerback Aaron Colvin: "I just want to see them the craziest I've ever seen them before. I heard so much about Texas Tech in '08, but I wasn't here yet, so I couldn't experience that so I want to feel the same type of thing...I'm just anxious to see how loud it's gonna be and how our fans come out here and how they act to what's gonna go on this Saturday.

"So, I'm very anxious to go out there and play this week, but at the same time I'm trying to stay level headed and recognize what I need to do in order to be successful."

And linebacker Tom Wort, who also wasn't on the team yet during the 2008 Tech game, actually says there is one in his career that this one draws parallels to.

"You know, it reminds me a lot of when we played Florida State two years ago," Wort said. "They were coming to us and there was a lot of hype surrounding that game, and it kinda feels the same way for this game. Really hoping that the crowd can be a factor in this game. I think it was that game. I definitely think it will be this game."

All signs point to that so far.

College Gameday is in town, and Sooner Nation is ready to roar for a victory against a team it has tasted it over only once and hasn't tasted since 1956 when legendary Sooner coach Bud Wilkinson's troops shut out Notre Dame 40-0 56 years ago to the day from this Saturday.

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