Oklahoma Knows Blowouts Are Not Automatic
Friday, September 14th 2007, 1:41 pm
By: News On 6
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) _ Test No. 1 for Utah State in its game Saturday against third-ranked Oklahoma will be to do what the Sooners' first two opponents haven't done: Just keep it close.
The Sooners (2-0) have won their first two games by a combined score of 130-23 heading into a game against a Utah State team that failed to convert a single third down last week against Wyoming.
``Oklahoma is blowing teams out,'' Aggies linebacker Jake Hutton said. ``They blew out Miami, so they are the real deal right now.''
With two lopsided wins _ 79-10 against North Texas and 51-13 over Miami _ already on their ledger, the Sooners opened as a 51-point favorite against the winless Aggies (0-2). But players aren't counting any unhatched chickens yet.
``We just take in the mindset that each team's different, every week's different,'' Oklahoma safety D.J. Wolfe said. ``It's something to where you can't look at it as, `We just blew this team out, so we're automatically going to blow that team out.' That won't happen. That's not the nature of football.''
The last time Oklahoma started a season with two wins by so large of a margin was in 1972, when the Sooners beat Utah State 49-0 in their first-ever meeting and then walloped Oregon 68-3. In three all-time meetings, Oklahoma has outscored the Aggies 176-24 _ an average victory margin of 50.7 points.
``We all know it's not going to happen every game, but it's great when it does,'' Oklahoma cornerback Reggie Smith said of the back-to-back blowouts. ``As long as we get the win, I really don't care how many it's by.''
The atmosphere at Owen Field won't be completely foreign to Utah State's players. Since former Oklahoma State linebacker Brent Guy took over as coach two seasons ago, the Aggies have played a road game against a top-tier opponent each year in addition to WAC foe Boise State _ which was responsible for Oklahoma's last loss. In 2005, Utah State lost 35-3 at fifth-ranked Alabama. Last year, Arkansas beat the Aggies 20-0.
And while Hutton said the sheer number of fans makes it fun to play those opponents, he also knows the Aggies can't get too caught up in the moment.
``When we played Alabama, we all went in and looked around the stadium, and gave it `oohs' and `ahhs' because we weren't used to that kind of thing, and then they came out and scored 14 quick,'' Hutton said.
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops pointed out that the Aggies held fourth-quarter leads in each of their first two games, including against UNLV _ which nearly upset then-No. 5 Wisconsin last week.
``We recognize it that we've got to be on top of our game, continue to build for the season and keep making improvement,'' Stoops said.
Instead of measuring themselves against Utah State, defensive end Auston English suggested the Sooners would use a mistake-free game as their standard.
``If you strive to be perfect and you don't hit that mark, it's just going to make you fuel off that for next week and keep you hungry,'' English said. ``If you always strive to be perfect, it just keeps you going.''
The Sooners also realize that a strong start doesn't necessarily mean a strong finish. The 1972 team that opened the season with two wins by a 114-point margin won two more games in blowout fashion before losing at Colorado in Week 5 to spoil a perfect season.
``You've always got to be worried about focus. You've got to come out and play every game just like you're playing the national championship game,'' Oklahoma receiver Malcolm Kelly said. ``You come out one week and don't play hard, anybody can beat anybody.''