Shock. Disbelief. Disappointment.
Those are the words that come to mind when Oklahoma fans think back to the Sooners' 41-38 loss to Texas Tech last season.
“Last year, it was kind of a shocker,” cornerback Demontre Hurst said of seeing OU’s 39-game home winning streak snapped. “Being at Oklahoma, winning at home so many times, and we get beat. It was unreal. It kind of distanced the team because no one on either side of the ball played good or played up to their potential.
“I don’t think we learned from that until the end of the season, it kind of stuck with us and we lost to Baylor and Oklahoma State.”
Said guard Adam Shead: “We just didn’t play a good game, that’s the bottom line. They played a good game, we didn’t.”
And yet similar words could be used to describe Sept. 22’s loss to Kansas State. While the Wildcats stepped on Owen Field as a ranked opponent and Texas Tech did not, the result was the same: a surprising home defeat for an OU team ranked in the top 10 nationally.
“With a loss, it opens our eyes and tells us stuff we need to work on,” offensive tackle Lane Johnson said. “Texas Tech came in here and really opened our eyes. You can’t go out and play sloppy against any team. It showed last week. If we do the same thing this week, we’ll lose again. Our focus has intensified; we don’t want to lose again.”
The Sooners responded superbly in 2011, going to Kansas State and winning 58-17 over then-ranked No. 9 Wildcats. It remains to be seen how this season's Sooners will respond.
“This year, it dawned on us early,” Hurst said. “We’re in the same boat as last year, so we’ll have to learn from last year.”
Their loss to Texas Tech in 2011 was one of the low points their season. Terrible tackling and subpar pass coverage led to 41 Red Raiders points while dropped passes and two turnovers doomed the Sooners' offense during its attempted comeback from a 31-7 deficit.
Memories of their upset loss to Texas Tech remain in the minds of several Sooners.
“You always want to avenge a loss, especially to a team we lost to last year,” receiver Kenny Stills said. “It’s big for us, we have a lot to prove going into this week.”
But will they allow this year’s loss to Kansas State to impact the rest of the season the way their loss to Texas Tech did in 2011?
“We have to have a better mindset than we did,” defensive end David King said. “When Tech came in and snapped the win streak we had, guys were like, ‘Did that really happen?’ Anybody can beat anybody in any game.”
And yet the key for OU could be forgetting everything that has happened -- from its loss to Texas Tech in 2011 to its loss to KSU this season -- and focusing on the present.
“It’s in the back of everybody’s minds,” Shead said. “But we are just really looking [forward to] getting back to play our football, that’s the main focus. Playing physical and playing smart.”