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Oklahoma football: OU, Texas A&M meet again, one year later and worlds apart

COTTON BOWL — Texas A&M changed conferences, coaches and quarterbacks since last playing Oklahoma just 14 months ago. On Friday in Arlington, Texas, we'll find out what difference all that makes.
by Jason Kersey Published: January 3, 2013

/articleid/3742877/1/pictures/1920831">Photo - Oklahoma's Jaz Reynolds (16) scores a touchdown in front of Texas A&M's Toney Hurd Jr. (4) during the college football game between the Texas A&M Aggies and the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011, in Norman, Okla. Oklahoma won 41-25. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman ORG XMIT: KOD
Oklahoma's Jaz Reynolds (16) scores a touchdown in front of Texas A&M's Toney Hurd Jr. (4) during the college football game between the Texas A&M Aggies and the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011, in Norman, Okla. Oklahoma won 41-25. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman ORG XMIT: KOD

Sumlin also had to change the program's overall attitude. Last season, Texas A&M lost several games that it led — sometimes by wide margins — at halftime.

“The past seemed to be what everyone wanted to talk about externally, but internally, we just didn't talk about it,” said Sumlin, who was on Stoops' Oklahoma staff from 2003-2007.

On Nov. 10 in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Manziel and the Aggies took a staggering 20-0 first-quarter lead on defending national champion Alabama. The Crimson Tide fought back, but the new and improved Aggies held on for a 29-24 victory that shocked the college football world.

Oklahoma, though — led by senior quarterback Landry Jones — has shown resilience itself this season. Jones, the most prolific passer in school history, directed last-minute touchdown drives late in shoot-out victories at West Virginia and against Oklahoma State, showing an ability to perform in the clutch that many doubted he possessed.

Oklahoma (10-2, 7-1 Big 12) earned a share of the Big 12 championship despite its defense struggling mightily against spread offenses and mobile quarterbacks.

Manziel and the Aggies are likely to present the toughest challenge of them all.

“It really all comes down to how we play Friday night,” Norvell said. “It really doesn't matter what happened in the past or happened this year, what matters is what happens Friday night when the gun sounds. We've gotta be prepared to compete and play our very best, and know that it's gonna be a great game.”

by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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