NORMAN — Oklahoma’s defense starred Saturday night against Louisiana-Monroe, and the fans loved it and the entire Sooner Nation has to be excited about defensive coordinator Mike Stoops making a big leap from year one of his return to Owen Field to year two.
Underlining the performance was the no-name nature of the group that pulled it off.
Just before the kick, the defensive starters introduced themselves on the giant video board above the south end zone. Not even linebacker Corey Nelson drew much of a response from fans awaiting the kick.
The last to introduce himself was cornerback Aaron Colvin, who, along with Nelson, many consider the linchpins of the defense. Colvin became the first Sooner defender to receive noticeably more response than the rest. Maybe it will be different before the Sooners kick off with West Virginia.
Bunch of smart kids: The median ACT at OU must be going up and up and up. A tradition, at this point, for the first home game of the season, OU’s incoming freshman class of National Merit Scholars was honored prior to the game, the group walking to midfield from each sideline a few minutes before the kick.
When both sides met in the middle there were two lines of honorees, each line stretching from the 10-yard line on the north end of the field to the middle of the south end zone.
Eclectic musical stylings: It’s amazing the hold 70s and 80s arena rock has on stadium sports. Saturday, marking a trend now several seasons long, OU departed pregame warm-ups to Ozzie Osbourne’s “Crazy Train.” AC/DC’s “T.N.T.” also made the rounds, a hard-rock classic that goes all the way back to 1976.
The Pride of Oklahoma went a different direction at the half, pumping out Three Dog Night’s “Joy to the World,” Don McLean’s “American Pie” and, the closer, the theme from “All in the Family” spin-off “Maude.”
The moment the theme from “Maude” concluded, stadium rock was pumped back into the stadium courtesy of Journey’s “Any Way You Want It.”
VIPs: Witnessed chatting on the Sooner sideline about 15 minutes before the kick was former Norman High Tiger, Sooner and all-time NCAA receptions leader Ryan Broyles, his wife Mary Beth and Jim Ross, the longtime voice of WWE. Broyles and the Detroit Lions open the NFL season at noon Sept. 8 against Minnesota at Ford Field.
Maybe it will stick: About the last piece of pregame hoopla was “The Voice” of the Sooners Toby Rowland announcing that it was “Football time in Oklahoma.” Also, as part of his prologue to the game, he referred to the stadium as “The Palace on the Prairie.”
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