NORMAN, Okla. (AP) - Despite Oklahoma fans’ shock and disappointment following last Saturday’s 24-17 loss to rival Texas, their Sooners are in virtually the same position they were in before the game.
The schedule presents multiple chances to get back into the playoff picture. Oklahoma (4-1, 1-1 Big 12) still has yet to play No. 2 Baylor, No. 3 TCU and unbeaten No. 16 Oklahoma State. The 19th-ranked Sooners still have big-time goals, and they are using Ohio State’s example from last season as a rallying cry.
“If you look at it, not many teams at all go undefeated,” Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield said. “Last year, Ohio State won the national championship and they lost to a Virginia Tech team at home. They got it going, and they fought back. You can’t harp on the losses. It can either make you better or make you worse.”
The route back to the playoff hunt starts Saturday at Kansas State.
“It’s simple,” Stoops said. “Like I said a year ago, we won this game (against Texas) and didn’t end up having a great year. Two years ago, we lost this game and ended up going on and winning the Sugar Bowl. So we’ll see. All you can do is get ready to play this week and be the best we can and make improvement and take it game by game.”
Traditionally, Oklahoma bounces back well. The Sooners haven’t lost back-to-back regular-season games since 1999, a span of 34 straight wins following losses. They’ll face a formidable Kansas State squad that lost a 52-45 heartbreaker at home against TCU last Saturday.
“We’re going to be ready for a Kansas State team that’s going to give us their best shot,” Mayfield said. “They took TCU down to the wire. It’s just a tough environment to play at. We’ve just got to be ready to come in there with the right attitude and be hungry.”
How the Sooners lost to Texas is as big an issue as the score. Mayfield was sacked six times and the Sooners rushed for just 67 yards on 37 carries. Center Ty Darlington said the offensive line can’t accept numbers like that.
“I think a lot of it is the tone we set as leaders and what you accept every day in practice and the level of intensity and the level of competiveness that you approach every day with,” he said. “Especially where we’re a pretty young group. and even the guys that aren’t younger are inexperienced. But by this point, we’re almost halfway through the year. You can’t just keep saying inexperienced.”
Darlington believes the Sooners will recover.
“What it’s going to take from here on out is an incredible level of character,” he said. “Our character gets revealed in times of adversity. This is definitely an adverse situation, but at the same time, all is not lost. We have a lot of our goals still out in front of us, and we’re going to have a lot of opportunities to prove who we are.”
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP .
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