|Kansas to test Stoops' post-Texas perfection|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 17 October 2008 07:19|
There's no neutral field split evenly with fans dressed in their choice of crimson or burnt orange, no state fair, no intense hatred - between the fan bases, at least - and, with this year's added stakes, no No. 1 ranking on the line.
To come home after all of that, it must be hard to find the motivation for a run-of-the-mill Big 12 game. Not for Bob Stoops.
Among all of his accomplishments at Oklahoma (5-1, 1-1 Big 12), one of Stoops' most impressive - below his national championship and five conference titles - has to be his 9-0 record in the games immediately following the Red River Rivalry.
That flawless record gets another test Saturday when No. 16 Kansas (5-1, 2-0) tries to pile onto the fourth-ranked Sooners' misery after their 45-35 loss last week resulted in Texas taking over the No. 1 ranking.
``Texas is gone and now we have another great team coming in with Kansas,'' tailback Chris Brown said. ``If we don't get our act together with those guys, the same thing can happen because they're a great team also.''
The Jayhawks have been Oklahoma's week-after victim twice before, losing 38-10 in 2001 and 19-3 in 2005, but that was before Mark Mangino's turnaround had taken full effect at Kansas. In fact, Mangino was still Stoops' offensive coordinator for that 2001 victory.
Now the two will be going against each other for the third time, with the loser's national championship dreams likely going out the window. For Oklahoma, a loss could also provide an insurmountable deficit to come back and win its third straight conference title, with three other South teams starting out 2-0 in Big 12 play. Kansas comes in as the only North team without a league loss.
``It's a chance for us to step up and show that we're still in the running for everything,'' Brown said.
ed by a season-ending knee injury to middle linebacker Ryan Reynolds.
Texas scored on four straight possessions after Reynolds' injury, racking up big plays on the ground created by Colt McCoy's mobility at quarterback. Kansas' Todd Reesing presents a similar challenge.
``The guy makes a ton of plays. It's just the same thing,'' Stoops said. ``He makes something out of nothing running around.''
Kansas has righted the ship after its loss at South Florida this season, developing a run game that had been missing early on. Jake Sharp ran for a season-high 118 yards and three touchdowns last week against Colorado in the best performance this year by a Jayhawks running back.
The Jayhawks will be seeking their second straight win against a top 5 opponent, having beaten No. 5 Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl.
``We always have a chip on our shoulder and we just want to go out there every week and show that we can play with anybody. We are going to go out there this weekend and play with confidence and hopefully come out with a win,'' Kansas linebacker James Holt said.
``I have always liked being an underdog. It is great to prove people wrong when they pick against you.''