Oklahoma plays Missouri in the Big 12 Championship Game on Saturday.
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- Oklahoma dealt Missouri its only
loss of the season back in October. The Tigers say
they gave the game away. The Sooners say they took
Heading into the Big 12 championship game Saturday
between No. 9 Oklahoma and top-ranked Missouri much
has been made of how the first matchup turned out.
Word made it quickly to Norman that some Missouri
players said they should have won the game if not for
their own mistakes, and it got some of the Sooners
(10-2, 6-2) riled up. Defensive coordinator Brent Venables
had this reaction: "Hopefully we can get in their
way this time. Hopefully we can luck out again.''
Missouri squandered a 24-23 fourth-quarter lead
with a pair of turnovers, including a fumble linebacker
Curtis Lofton returned for a touchdown, in that 41-31
loss. The Tigers have committed 12 turnovers in their
11 other games, but had a season-high four against
Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel said the game
was a turning point. The Tigers realized they can play
with anyone and "we let one slip away.''
"You can spin it however you want. I know this:
When we're kicking off with 2:20 left in the game,
we're up three possessions. I'll take that every week.
That's pretty good,'' Sooners coach Bob Stoops said
Tuesday at his weekly news conference. "If that's
giving it to us, then we'll take it every time.''
Stoops pointed out that Oklahoma also committed
two turnovers, and a missed extra point had the Sooners
chasing points late in the game.
"I guess it's convenient to look at your miscues
and not look at the other miscues,'' said Stoops, who
credited his blitzing defense for causing one of Daniel's
two interceptions and a tipped pass for the other one.
Oklahoma scored 18 straight points in the fourth
quarter to take a 41-23 lead, then played a prevent
defense to allow Missouri to march 80 yards for a score
with 12 seconds left.
"We felt a lot of things we gave them,'' Oklahoma
linebacker Lewis Baker said. "They earned some
things too, but we gave them a lot of things - the
touchdown towards the end of the game, just things
like that. We feel like we can play better and always
What impact will the banter have on Saturday in
San Antonio? Maybe none, or maybe a lot. When Oklahoma's
Larry Birdine called Southern California a "one-and-a-half
man team'' before the 2005 BCS championship game, the
Trojans heard and were still talking about it after
their 55-19 thrashing of the Sooners at the Orange
Bowl. But that was much more direct name-calling.
"I think that helps certain people when people
talk, and some people like to play against stuff like
that,'' Sooners receiver Juaquin Iglesias said. "I
think it just being a championship game and just everything
around it will elevate more guys' play more than trash
Offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson didn't see anything
inflammatory with Missouri's assessment of the last
"I don't think that's personal or a slight
to us,'' Wilson said. "I think that's a lot of
coaches and a lot of players every game just say, `We
didn't win and could have done better.'''
In fact, Wilson said he came away from the Sooners'
losses at Colorado and Texas Tech with similar feelings.
"I think that's every game you don't win. You
could always go back and say, `If you do this.' We
can say that in the games that we were on the short
end,'' Wilson said.
In October, the Sooners capitalized on Missouri's
mistakes by becoming the first team to establish a
running game. After totaling only 40 yards rushing
through the first three quarters, the Sooners ran for
78 in the final quarter and pulled ahead with two touchdown
runs by Chris Brown.
"We came out with the win. However you win,
you win,'' Baker said. "It's still a W at the
end of the day.''