Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
NORMAN, Okla. – The numbers had barely been taken down from the scoreboard after Oklahoma’s victory on Saturday before the Sooners were talking about Texas and their date with the Longhorns in the Cotton Bowl next week.
The Sooners’ two disappointing one-point losses earlier this season robbed them of much of their national credibility and dropped them to No. 19 in the country.
A 33-7 victory over Baylor might not turn many heads nationally. But the Sooners might not mind that too much.
“With them being undefeated, everybody will pick them to blow us out,” Oklahoma cornerback Dominique Franks said. “But if we can go out there and play our game, we’ll be fine. We’re still a great team and just need to go out and prove it.”
There are several areas of concern for the Sooners. Four drives inside the red zone resulted in field goals. Baylor blistered them for 262 yards passing. And while the Sooners rolled up 203 rushing yards, 178 of those yards came in the second half.
Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said the Sooners can’t win against Texas playing like they did Saturday.
“We played well, but there were a lot of little things that we gave up,” McCoy said. “We’ve got to be better to beat a team the caliber of Texas.”
But considering where the Sooners were last week after Miami, it was a nice turnaround.
Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson wanted something positive to build on coming out of the game.
“We need some confidence, some positive mojo,” Wilson said. “My whole thing was that we needed some energy and enthusiasm. I was upset after scoring our two touchdowns that nobody was high-fiving the extra-point team as they came off the field.”
Oklahoma’ s finish – five scoring drives in their final six possessions under Sam Bradford – gave them something to build on for the Longhorns.
“We had some guys pressing and stressing,” Wilson said. “But the way we finished was nice. That showed me we’re pointing in a better direction offensively.”
The strong finish against Baylor was one thing. Playing well in the cauldron of emotions at the Cotton Bowl will be another.
Bradford’s return helps their chances immeasurably. The offense played faster and with more precision against Baylor and should have more confidence in its preparation for the Longhorns.
It made Wilson feel better after his unit’s earlier struggles this season.
But a lot more will be needed next week – and the Sooners know it.
“Everybody is happy to have Sam back,” McCoy said. “But we are going to have him at his best next week. You know how the game is. Texas is Texas.”