James Franklin and Missouri fared better than most opponents on Oklahoma’s Owen Field and still didn’t come away with a victory.
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The Tigers (2-2, 0-1 Big 12) became the first team since 2007 to hold a lead on the Sooners’ home field but couldn’t sustain a strong start and lost 38-28 on Saturday night.
Franklin scored on a 1-yard sneak and found L’Damian Washington open with a seam up the middle for a 45-yard touchdown pass to stake Missouri to an 14-3 first-quarter lead. But Oklahoma (3-0, 1-0), led by Landry Jones’ 448 yards passing and Ryan Broyles’ 154 yards receiving and three touchdown catches, stormed back with 28 straight points to claim its 38th straight victory at home.
”We thought we could beat them. Everybody talked about how this place was crazy and people don’t win in Norman,” Missouri receiver T.J. Moe said. ”We didn’t come out with a victory, but it wasn’t any different than any other place I’ve played.”
Only Texas Tech in 2006 had held a larger lead at Oklahoma during its best-in-the-nation home winning streak, and Baylor had been the only opponent to hold a lead in Norman since Mizzou led by one in the fourth quarter in its last visit in 2007.
”I would say we beat ourselves tonight. We know we’re way better than that and can bring more to the table,” said Henry Josey, who finished with 133 yards on 14 carries.
”It’s just those little things that we have to fix.”
The Sooners had gone 20 straight home games without trailing before coming out flat and falling behind.
”To be a top-caliber team and to win a national championship and play like this, it’s not going to happen,” defensive captain Travis Lewis said. ”Hopefully it’s a reality check to these players and to this team that it’s going to take our best every week.”
Despite an unsatisfying effort, the Sooners avenged a loss in Columbia last year when they were first in the BCS standings.
”Definitely the OU on the side of your helmet doesn’t realy speak for your play and you’ve got to bring it every week, especially in the Big 12 and against good teams,” said Jones, who had his fifth career 400-yard passing game.
”It was definitely a wake-up call for us.”
With two starting receivers out of the lineup, Broyles had to play up to his usual All-American standard without proven sidekicks. Kenny Stills, who caught the go-ahead touchdown in a win at then-No. 5 Florida State last week, was out with a head injury and Trey Franks is suspended indefinitely.
He got Oklahoma’s rally started by scoring from 25 yards out on a throw that initially went through his arms. Broyles was able to cradle it along his leg and then secure it long enough before falling out of bounds that the touchdown call was upheld on review.
”I just felt it, I just grabbed it. I can’t even tell you how it happened but it worked,” Broyles said.
He followed that three drives later with a 4-yard TD catch in the right side of the end zone, on a pass that wasn’t even intended for him.
”Don’t tell anyone that,” he joked with a cluster of reporters.
The Sooners went up 17-14 and never looked back.
Missouri also had a hot start in last season’s upset, returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown, but then was able to close strong with 16 straight fourth-quarter points for a 36-27 victory.
This time, the Sooners were able to prevent any late heroics by the Tigers.
Henry Josey took an option pitch and raced 47 yards down the left sideline for a score to make it 31-21 with 6:44 left in the game, and it could have been even closer if not for a pair of missed 46-yard field goals by Grant Ressel.
The Sooners eliminated any drama by answering immediately with a 62-yard scoring drive, capped by Broyles’ twisting 4-yard grab in the back of the end zone.
”Against a great football team like this, certainly every opportunity you get, you’ve got to take advantage of,” Mizzou coach Gary Pinkel said.
Ressel also missed a potential game-winner in the Tigers’ overtime loss at Arizona State two weeks ago. He had missed only three of 46 field-goal attempts entering this season, but has missed four already in four weeks.
”We have to work on Grant. He’s struggling a little bit,” Pinkel said. ”He’s got a lot of ability. We’ve got to help him get his confidence back.”
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops had proclaimed during the week that ”revenge doesn’t win” and encouraged his team to focus on correcting mistakes from last year’s disappointing loss instead. Still, he showed the team a video of Tigers fans storming Faurot Field to celebrate their win last October and a picture of a fan riding the goal posts was hanging in the team’s meeting room.
”For whatever reason, there just wasn’t quite as much energy and emotion, and that’s disappointing in my eyes because I thought we were more mature than that and beyond that,” Stoops said.
After completing his first five passes, Franklin – the son of former Sooners tight end Willie Franklin – misfired on 15 of his next 19 attempts and finished with 291 yards on 16 for 33 passing. He also had another 1-yard TD sneak with 32 seconds left to provide the final margin.
Michael Egnew, the Tigers’ All-American tight end, didn’t make his first catch until his team was down 17 in the fourth quarter. He ended up with two catches for 40 yards.
”We’ve just got to be more consistent,” Pinkel said. ”You’re not going to beat a good football team unless you play consistently.”
Missouri lost its 18th straight game on Owen Field, with its last win coming in 1966.
The schools played just two days after their leaders had an apparent misunderstanding over the state of the Big 12. Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton announced that the league’s remaining nine members planned to pursue committing their television revenues to the Big 12 for the next six years. As Deaton was talking, a speakerphone blasted out Oklahoma president David Boren’s voice with a different message.
Boren claimed that the members had all agreed to the powerful step that would make it far more difficult for another conference to draw them away.