Sooners prepare for A&M

Oklahoma is still in position to win its third straight Big 12 championship, but it won’t be easy.

The No. 6 Sooners, though, aren’t glancing too far ahead as they try for a fourth straight victory overall while looking to continue their recent dominance over host Texas A&M on Saturday in the beginning of a tough final stretch of the regular season.

Oklahoma (8-1, 4-1) is coming off a dominating 62-28 win over rival Nebraska last Saturday and sits in a three-way tie with No. 5 Texas and No. 8 Oklahoma State for second in the Big 12 South, one game back of No. 2 and 5-0 Texas Tech.

The Sooners, who have outscored their opponents 165-94 in winning three straight since a disappointing 45-35 loss to the Longhorns on Oct. 11, will need to win their final three contests starting Saturday and then at home versus Texas Tech on Nov. 22 and at Oklahoma State on Nov. 29.

Even then, Oklahoma could need a tiebreaker which would either come down to the head-to-head meeting in the case of a two-way tie or BCS standings in the event three teams are tied to determine who goes to the conference championship game.

“When you’re in a tough division, heck, you’ve got to fight and be at your best each week and whatever is going to happen will happen,” said Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, whose team is sixth in the current BCS standings.

“There’s no sense in worrying about it. It’s not going to do you much good. Just get ready to play.”

Despite a dominating performance last week, Oklahoma dropped two spots in the poll and the BCS standings and simply winning out might not be enough to make a case.

“How many style points do you need? You have 62 points, you have 58 points,” Stoops said. “There’s still a respect for the game.

“We do the very best we can to play well, but then when we have been in the fourth quarter in those instances, we have for the most part did whatever is necessary to get out of the game. This week, going down to A&M, we don’t look at anything that way.”

Oklahoma has won five in a row over Texas A&M (4-5, 2-3) and two straight at Kyle Field.

Sam Bradford was 19-for-27 for 311 yards against the Cornhuskers with five touchdowns, three of which came as the Sooners jumped out to a 35-0 first quarter lead. Bradford, who has thrown for 3,086 yards—36 shy of surpassing his total as a freshman last season—has topped the 300-yard mark seven times this season.

It was the sixth time he tied the school record with five touchdown passes in a game. He accomplished that feat while going 21-for-30 for 284 yards in a 42-14 win over Texas A&M on Nov. 3, 2007.

Running back DeMarco Murray rushed for two TDs and caught a touchdown pass last Saturday to tie Adrian Peterson’s record for the most scores by a Sooner in his first two seasons with 29.

Though the nation’s second-ranked offense averaging 49.8 points per game has averaged 55.0 during its current winning stretch, Oklahoma is giving up 31.3 during that same span. The Sooners have allowed 30 total points in their last two wins over Texas A&M.

The Sooners will be without defensive end Austin English, who could miss the next two games with a sprained left knee. English, the league’s preseason defensive player of the year, has 4 1/2 sacks and 27 tackles.

The Aggies try for a season-high third consecutive victory after winning 24-17 over Colorado on Saturday to improve to 2-4 at home. Jarrod Johnson was 15-for-31 for 214 yards with three touchdown passes, giving the sophomore seven without an interception in his last two contests.

“As a whole, our offense plays with a lot of confidence,” said Johnson, who also threw for 381 yards in a 49-35 win at Iowa State on Oct. 25. “But I think these two wins make you feel better and give you more confidence.”

Texas A&M, which last beat Oklahoma 30-26 on Nov. 9, 2002 when the Sooners were ranked No. 1, is 0-2 versus Top 25 opponents this season, losing to Oklahoma State and Texas Tech.

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