Texas defensive end Breckyn Hager very easily could have foreseen a rematch against Oklahoma when spouted insults about the Sooners two weeks ago.
Following a postgame interview, cameras were still rolling when Hager said OU has “no defense” and that the program “still sucks.” Those comments entertained fans from both sides of the rivalry, but drew a public reprimand from the Big 12 conference.
The Sooners, of course, have their own thoughts.
“Blows my mind,” OU linebacker Curtis Bolton said. “We hung 50 (45) on them, too. If anyone on their defense has anything to say, they can have fun playing Kyler [Murray] next week.”
Get ready for OU-Texas: Part II.
The No. 6 Sooners (11-1) and No. 14 Longhorns (9-3) will meet in the Big 12 championship game Dec. 1 at AT&T Stadium (11 a.m., ABC), in a highly anticipated repeat of the Red River rivalry played in October.
OU and Texas haven’t met twice in one season since 1903.
Nearly two months ago, Texas won 48-45 setting off a firestorm in Norman. OU defensive coordinator Mike Stoops was fired the next day.
Because of its 59-56 win at West Virginia on Friday, OU can avenge the Texas loss and give itself a chance at a College Football Playoff berth, if the chips fall right. One fell Saturday, with Ohio State upsetting Michigan 62-39, a loss that should bump the Wolverines from No. 4 in the CFP rankings.
OU and West Virginia combined for 1,372 yards of offense, fought through four times and five lead changes and played past midnight eastern time. Sooner coach Lincoln Riley wanted to take time to enjoy it afterward.
But he allowed himself to look ahead.
“I’m not going to say it’s not significant [to rematch Texas],” Riley said. “But we would be very excited with whoever we’re playing in a championship game. The setback we had a few weeks ago, all we’ve gone through to fight, scratch and claw, to be sitting here 11-1, just beating that really good team here on Senior Night with every single goal right there in front of us, what more could you ask for?”
OU has an opportunity to win four straight Big 12 championships, which has never been done since the conference expanded in 1996.
“When you have a chance to make history around here, you’re doing something pretty special,” Riley said. “Can’t wait to get back there. We’ve gotta have a great week of prep. We’ll have a ton of momentum coming off [Friday].”
Stoops’ dismissal hasn’t fixed defensive issues that became so glaring in the first Texas game. The Sooners have allowed 40 points or more in four consecutive games for the first time in school history.
Yet, OU has won each with an offense continues firing on all cylinders behind Murray, who despite two turnovers against West Virginia had arguably his best performances this season with 478 yards of offense and four touchdowns. His momentum in the Heisman Trophy race increased, and now he has another chance to impress voters this week.
Against West Virginia, the Sooners amassed more than 300 yards rushing and 300 yards passing for the fifth time this season. The feat had only been accomplished six times in school history before this fall.
Murray, who was despondent after the Texas loss, issued no comment about the opportunity to face the Longhorns again. But teammates have said his passion in that game was unlike any other this season.
OU receiver Marquise Brown, who looked healthy as he has all season in catching totaling 243 yards receiving and two scores against West Virginia, said the chance to face Texas means a lot.
“That was the only team that got the best of us,” Brown said. “I’m looking forward to getting another shot at them.”
As expected, that feeling’s mutual in the locker room.
“That game … I’m still sour watching that,” Bolton said. “I feel like even the first time we played, it’s a game we could’ve won. We didn’t. It was their day. They came out with the ‘W’ and I respect that.
“It’s one thing to be a rivalry game. Now it’s a rivalry game in the Big 12 championship.”
No. 6 Oklahoma vs.
No. 14 Texas
Time: Dec. 1, 11 a.m.
Place: AT&T Stadium| Arlington, Texas
Records: OU (11-1); Texas (9-3)
Radio: KRXO-FM 107.7