By John Shinn
CNHI News Service
NORMAN – The last time Oklahoma met Oklahoma State just getting back to the locker room was overwhelming to the Sooners. After the 44-10 loss to the Cowboys on Dec. 3, 2011, thousands of fans swarmed the Boone Pickens Stadium turf.
The insult of having your in-state rival roll over you like a dump truck in a game that decided the Big 12 championship was bad enough. Having to work your way through the celebration to go home just added insult to injury.
“If I wasn’t a member at OU, it’s pretty cool the fans are rushing the field,” OU defensive end David King said. “But when you’re actually playing in the game and you put all your heart and soul into trying to win the game and you lose, and the fans rush it, it’s kinda hard to hold back from just knocking a guy down. But you’ve gotta refrain from it and just know that’s part of college football.”
The Sooners have experienced memories like that many times in road losses. Saturday’s Bedlam meeting will mark the final home game for a senior class that endured the fans storming the field several times since they arrived in the Norman.
It happened in Stillwater and at Baylor last season. They were engulfed by fans when they lost at Missouri in 2009. When OU loses, it’s generally a big upset.
But its loss to the Cowboys last season wasn’t. It left many wondering if what happened in 2011 has changed the complexion of a very lopsided Bedlam rivalry.
“You’d have to ask them (Oklahoma State),” OU coach Bob Stoops said on Monday. “I’d always had great respect for them before last year. I don’t now.”
The truth is the Cowboys’ 2011 victory was their first over the Sooners in nine games and just their 17th in 106 meetings (OU leads the series 82-17-7).
Can one game alter perception after a century of one-sided dominance?
What happens when the Sooners (8-2, 6-1 Big 12) face the Cowboys (7-3, 5-2) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Owen Field will be telling.
One thing is for sure, it wasn’t close the last time these teams met.
“They flat out beat us in every aspect,” said OU quarterback Landry Jones, who experienced one of the worst games of his career last year in Stillwater. “Usually we feel like we had some success in some part of the game, but last year they flat out beat us. It was tough being blown out like that on the road. Hopefully, this year we will turn it around and play a better game.”
If the Sooners don’t, it’s hard to argue that Bedlam has shifted from a lopsided in-state rivalry to an annual battle for Big 12 supremacy.
OSU believes what happened last season was a seismic event and the landscape has forever changed.
“I think it just kind of proves that OSU isn't the little brother anymore,” OSU linebacker Cooper Bassett said. “We are a team that is nationally ranked every year, we're a team that gets great recruits every year, we are the defending Big 12 champion. So it’s not the same little brother-big brother effect anymore. I think that the gap is being closed immensely.”
There were no laughs, snorts or scoffs when the Sooners were presented with the question on Monday.
“They have a lot of momentum coming into the game on Saturday,” King said. “We have to do a good job of matching their best punch with ours.”