Sterling Shepard still remembers his first catch wearing the red home jersey of the Oklahoma Sooners, a program he has been a part of for more than just four years. Ty Darlington sat on the plane ride back from Waco, Texas, this weekend next to Charles Tapper and Eric Striker on the final regular-season plane ride they would take together at Oklahoma.
The careers of a unique senior class – one that has gone through up-and-downs, coaching changes, a disappointing season and the first Sugar Bowl victory in school history – is coming to an end. The group will play its final home game this weekend against TCU.
Darlington is hoping to make a favorite memory.=
“That’s the plan, at least,” he said also pointing out the win against Tennessee last year. “. . . Hopefully, the best memory on that field is going to be this Saturday.”
Oklahoma’s 14 rostered seniors - only half of whom are starters – will say goodbye. Players like Shepard, Striker, Tapper and Durron Neal have been contributors in some capacity for four years. Darlington and Nila Kasitati have been three-year contributors and multi-year starters.
After watching last year’s senior group walk off the field as heart-broken losers in last year’s regular-season finale, Oklahoma group for this year wants to avoid that.
The rest of the team is aiming to give that to them.
“You’ve gotta know, the guys that have been here a while, they’ve put in the work, they’ve put in the time and effort,” Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield said. “It means a lot. As a younger guy, you’ve gotta realize they deserve to walk off the field in their last home game with a win.
“That’s what we’re trying to do. That’s what I’m gonna try to do, send off these guys with a victory and feel good about it. We’re focused on getting those seniors a win.”