It does mean a lot for Stoops to come back to Kansas State to coach against his mentor Bill Snyder and earn victory No. 158 with the Sooners, to set the record and become OU's all-time winningest coach.
The record came Saturday as OU played one of its most complete games of the season in a 41-31 victory against the Wildcats at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. The victory moves Stoops ahead of Barry Switzer into first place at OU for all-time wins and improves Stoops to 158-39 overall.
Stoops has never been one to boast about his accomplishments. He has downplayed the possibility all season. Following the game, nothing had changed.
"Somewhere down the line, I'll reflect on it," Stoops said.
It didn't come easy against the Wildcats, who entered the game on a four-game winning streak. But after being gashed by quarterback Jake Waters and wide receiver Tyler Lockett all first half, the Sooners defense stifled KSU in the second half.
Offensively it was senior running back Brennan Clay leading the charge, rushing a career-high 31 times for a career-high 200 yards and two touchdowns.
"In true Coach Stoops form, he wants to deflect all the credit," said OU athletic director Joe Castiglione, who presented Stoops with a special game ball after the contest. "I'm honored to just be a part of it. I want to give him the credit he is due."
It shaped up to be a rebuilding year this season for the Sooners. With the high standards OU fans have for their team, maybe a 9-2 record is a rebuilding year. Most programs would take 9-2 any day of the week.
A young defense that only features two seniors. An offense that needed to find a quarterback with either redshirt freshman Trevor Knight or junior Blake Bell. Built in excuses as to why a 7-4 record at this point could have happened.
Injuries have plagued the team, losing two team captains in seniors Trey Millard and Corey Nelson to season-ending situations. Through it all, the Sooners have a chance to move to 10-2 with a win at Oklahoma State in two weeks.
"It's pretty amazing what he has been able to do," said co-offensive coordinator Josh Heupel, who engineered a lot of Stoops' win when he was at quarterback for the Sooners. "The consistency over the 14-year span is something you don't see. It's remarkable what he has been able to bring to the program."
Knight, in his first road start, was 14-of-20 for 171 yards with a touchdown and interception. He also rushed for 82 yards and another score.
The Sooners prevailed despite an incredible outing by KSU junior Tyler Lockett. He had 12 catches for 278 yards and three touchdowns to go with five kickoff returns for 162 more yards to give him 440 yards of total offense.
But after a wild first half, the OU defense came up big in the second half, highlighted by a 74-yard interception return for a touchdown by redshirt freshman Zack Sanchez to make sure Stoops made history.
"It's a big deal to be the winningest coach in the history of Oklahoma football because the history of Oklahoma football casts a long shadow over the entire game of college football," said Switzer, who won three national championships with the Sooners.