Hawkins gets 2nd chance to upset No. 11 Oklahoma
Cody Hawkins’ return to the Colorado starting lineup brings no
added comfort to No. 11 Oklahoma.
Even if the Buffaloes come to Owen Field as a heavy underdog
with Hawkins filling in for injured quarterback Tyler Hansen, the
Sooners remember all too well what happened the last time they went
up against the coach’s son.
”He was a freshman and he beat us,” defensive coordinator
Brent Venables said. ”We had a pretty good team when he beat us.
Now, he’s a senior and he’s even better. That’s what we take from
it, that he’s experienced, he’s got a lot I think he’s playing for,
he’s very tough-minded and he’s a captain. Players respect
It was back in 2007 when Hawkins outdueled fellow freshman Sam
Bradford, who would go on to win the Heisman Trophy a year later.
As he takes over for Hansen, who had surgery this week on a
ruptured spleen and will miss the rest of the regular season, that
27-24 victory over the third-ranked Sooners still ranks as Hawkins’
most significant victory with the Buffaloes.
”If you aren’t fired up when you’re going to play OU, then
you’re in the wrong sport,” Hawkins said. ”I think everybody is
really excited about it and definitely having that experience
before is something that gives you a little bit of confidence. But
we know they’re going to be using that as motivation too.
”Even though we played decent last time we played them, we have
to come out better this time because we’re going to be at their
place and they’re a different football team.”
Colorado (3-4, 0-3 Big 12) enters Saturday night’s game on a
14-game road losing streak that’s the longest in school history,
while Oklahoma hasn’t lost on its home field since the 2005 season
opener. The Sooners’ run of 34 straight home wins is both a school
record and the longest active streak in the nation.
But the last time these teams met, Oklahoma was riding high
after blowing out its first four opponents 246-47 and lost to a
team that had won only four of its previous 14 games. This time,
the Sooners are trying to bounce back from their first loss of the
season, 36-27 at Missouri last week.
”It’s been obvious watching everyone that anybody can beat
anybody, in this league and about anywhere,” Sooners coach Bob
Stoops said. ”More so this year than anytime. You’d have to have
your head in the sand not to see that, so our guys get it.”
Each team can sympathize with the other’s fourth-quarter woes
this season. Together, they’ve been outscored by 70 points in the
final period this season. Colorado blew a two-possession lead at
home for the first time in 24 years in last week’s 27-24 loss to
Oklahoma (6-1, 2-1) had been able to squeak by with poor fourth
quarters against Utah State, Air Force, Cincinnati and Texas but
gave up 16 consecutive points in the fourth quarter to squander a
21-20 lead against Missouri.
”In the end, it’s frustrating because I know we’re capable of
playing well through the game,” Stoops said. ”When you play that
well for three quarters, there’s no reason it should change when
schemes and everything haven’t changed at that point in the
The last time these teams met, there was also a fourth-quarter
meltdown by the Sooners. They led 24-7 in the third quarter and
24-10 in the fourth before Hawkins and a solid running game lifted
Colorado to the victory.
”I think everybody thinks that we’re probably feeling sorry for
ourselves, but not at all. Cody beat OU two years ago, I think Cody
is a great quarterback, he’s a great passer and that’s something he
can bring to the table now,” cornerback Jimmy Smith said.
”As far as the team morale, nobody feels bad for themselves,
nobody feels sorry. We’ve been through this plenty of times, it’s
not like we’re going to hang up our cleats. We’re trying to play
ball until the end of the year.”