Under Stoops, OU impressive after byes

NORMAN, Okla. -- The last time an opponent as highly ranked as Kansas State came to Norman after a Sooners off week was Texas Tech in 2008.

Oklahoma played perhaps its most complete game under Bob Stoops, annihilating the second-ranked Red Raiders 65-21 in a rout that ultimately propelled the Sooners to the national championship game.

Next weekend, OU will play in biggest home game maybe since. The Wildcats are coming off a 52-13 drubbing of Miami and are ranked as high as 14th in the polls.

The Sooners, however, have an extra week to get ready for Bill Snyder’s 'Cats. And OU has been lethal when it has had an additional week to prepare. Especially at home against ranked opponents.

All told, coming off a bye OU is 6-0 against ranked opponents in Norman under Stoops, winning by an average margin of 25 points. Among those wins was OU’s program-changing, 31-14 victory over top-ranked Nebraska in 2000.

“I would say we’ve played well with Coach Stoops period, non-bye week or bye week,” said running backs coach Cale Gundy. “You go into every game preparing the same way. We don’t talk about it anymore, we don’t focus on it anymore”

But like Nebraska in 2000 and Texas Tech in 2008, the Wildcats definitely have OU’s focus. The Sooners blasted K-State in Manhattan 58-17 last season.

But the Wildcats went on to finish the regular season 10-2, then started off this season with one of the most impressive nonconference victories so far in 2012. Only once since 1970 had the Hurricanes allowed 50 points in a game.

Defensive ends coach Bobby Jack Wright, who has been with the Sooners since Stoops arrived before the 1999 season, said K-State’s performance against Miami should eliminate the chance OU comes out flat, which can sometimes plague teams coming out of an off week.

“Sometimes with an off week, there’s a little staleness in there, when you haven’t played for two weeks,” he said. “But all you got to do is put that tape on of that Miami game. It definitely got our guys’ attention.

“We already had tremendous respect for them. I think our guys are going to be focused and they know from years past, they know how well coached they are, they know how physical they are, how precise they are in how they run their offense. Our guys will be ready to play.”

The Sooners usually are ready to play coming out of off weeks. Especially at home when the stage is big.