Underdog role has worked for OU as Sooners have faltered in favorite spot

Sooners and success go together well. OU and handling success is another story.

Maybe there is something to being under the radar for Oklahoma. The Sooners, out of sight and out of mind in terms of national attention the first month of the season, did what they were supposed to do.

They kept their heads down. They focused on their job and did it. Four consecutive wins with the last one being an impressive 44-24 victory against a talented West Virginia team.

With the win came the notoriety once again. No longer the underdog, OU was back in the top 10 and favored by more than 17 points against a 1-4 Texas team in the Red River Showdown.

We all know what happened there as the Longhorns took it to OU early and carried that momentum to a 24-17 victory.

It has been a talking point for the last few years, but last week once again brings up the issue. When it comes to success, why can’t OU handle it? Why is it right when it looks like the Sooners are about to become nationally relevant once again, they stumble?

I don't feel like it was overconfidence as much as being too relaxed,” running back Samaje Perine said. “Of course, you want to play relaxed. You start to get uptight, you start to make too many mistakes. But I feel like we were just focused on other things.

“I think the atmosphere really got to some of us and it just, I don't want to say it overwhelmed us but it distracted us from what we had to do and that was come out and play our best football game which obviously we did not do.”

It’s still going to be a difficult pill for OU fans to swallow, especially since OU played in front of 105,000 fans at Tennessee. But the key, as all players and coaches have said, is to move on. Can’t dwell on what might have been at the Cotton Bowl when you have to head to Kansas State this weekend.

"You have to show the young guys that things are not always going to go your way,” wide receiver Sterling Shepard said. “They look at how you respond to it. I have to pick everybody up and be a leader.

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