MANHATTAN, Kan. – Travis Lewis pranced toward the Oklahoma locker room and announced to all who would hear, “Y'all better jump back on that bandwagon, baby.”
The Schooner is crowded again, after the Sooners' 58-17 thrashing Saturday of eighth-ranked Kansas State that proclaimed the Texas Tech debacle of a week ago a mere aberration. Proclaimed that when put on the big stage, these Sooners respond, just as they did at Florida State and against Texas.
Twenty minutes later, leaving the locker room, Lewis' bluster was gone. But his message was the same.
“Back on track,” Lewis said to OU athletic director Joe Castiglione.
On track for at least a Bedlam Big 12 title showdown. Maybe not the Big Bowl. Too early to put the Sooners on that boulevard. The 41-38 loss to Tech could prove too costly.
But don't sleep on the Sooners. This was a statement to America.
“First thing I said to the team was that this was an overall complete team win,” Bob Stoops said. “As much of a team win as we have had in a long, long time, because of all the different guys that stepped up to have a hand in it.”
The Sooners played with an attitude that was missing against Tech. From the pregame woofing session with the Wildcats, to the dogged defense that eventually wore down single-wing quarterback Collin Klein, to the stylistic offense that replaced dropped passes with acrobatic catches, the Sooners played with a swagger.
OU went from ledge to edge. From the cliff of a disastrously disappointing season to playing like a team “with its hair on fire,” as defensive coordinator Brent Venables said.
“Last Saturday was embarrassing,” said flanker Jaz Reynolds, who made two one-handed catches worthy of highlight reels. “Our backs are against the wall. If we lose another one, we're going to be out for Big 12 hopes, national championship hopes. Everything was on the line.”