The Norman Transcript

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January 4, 2013

It’s Sooners’ turn to put a dent in the SEC-is-best gospel

(Continued)

IRVING, Texas —

“I think it’s a big statement game, especially for our defense,” Sooner safety Tony Jefferson said. “It’s the No. 1 offense in the SEC and it’s a huge opportunity for us to showcase our ability.”

It’s ironic that chance comes against a team OU dominated when they were conference rivals from 1996-2011, going 11-5 against the Aggies in the Big 12.

Nonetheless, though the Sooners enter tonight’s game 10-2 with their only losses to No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 7 Kansas State, they are 31⁄2-point underdogs to the Aggies.

The reason is Texas A&M went 10-2 in its first year in the SEC. Freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel won the Heisman Trophy. OU has won five straight games, but the Aggies’ five-game winning streak includes a victory over No. 2 (and then-No. 1) Alabama.

The Sooners believe they’re facing the same team they faced last season. Manziel has obviously changed the Aggie offense. A&M’s defense has different scheme but mostly the same players.

“We’ve basically played all the personnel they have on defense last year. They’re running a different defense with a new scheme and a new coordinator,” OU center Gabe Ikard said, “but it’s familiar faces on the other side of the ball and guys we’ve played against before.”

What’s changed is the conference affiliation. OU’s is the same. Texas A&M’s is different.

Cowboys Stadium is expected to be packed with 90,000 fans and a college football nation will be watching.

“It’s the only game on TV that day, so we’re gonna have the stage all to ourselves and the eyes of the whole country on us,” OU defensive end David King said. “We’re gonna have to rise to the challenge.”

John ShinnFollow me @john_shinnjshinn@normantranscript.com

 

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