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Buffs Set For Rematch in Title Game

Dec 5, 2002

BOULDER - As the No. 12/12 University of Colorado football team continued preparations Thursday afternoon for the Big 12 Championship game, the Buffs remained focused knowing they have a chance to not only repeat as conference champs, but that they can do so by avenging a mid-season loss to No. 8/9 Oklahoma.

"All season long, it has been our goal to go back to the Big 12 Championship and reclaim our title," captain and offensive tackle Justin Bates stated after practice on Wednesday. "Now, we have the chance to do that and make up for the poor showing we had against Oklahoma last time."

Just over one month ago (Nov. 2), the Buffs suffered a 27-11 loss to the Sooners in Norman on a day when each team had to battle high winds and pouring rain. While OU came out on top in what CU head coach Gary Barnett called a game that (the Sooners) "made more plays" in, the Buffs couldn't help but realize they missed cashing in on several opportunities.

"I don't think we got out-athleted, they just played better than us," Barnett stated. "In this conference, nobody will get out-athleted. We just turned the ball over too many times, and they made more plays. That's what it comes down to."

In just the first 20 minutes of the game, CU turned the ball over three times, and was unable to recover a pooch kick that OU eventually pounced on. Off of those four mistakes, the Sooners racked up 17 points and jumped out to a 20-3 halftime lead. Though the Buffs made a strong comeback in the second half by holding the OU offense to just one touchdown and 97 total yards, CU's scoring unit just couldn't mount a big enough rally.

"We definitely had our chances, had the opportunities to get things done, but we did not capitalize when we needed to," junior wide out Derek McCoy said. "You have to give (OU's) defense a lot of credit, though. They did a great job and were every bit as good we knew they'd be."

But this time around, though CU will once again meet a powerful Sooner defense that is ranked 15th in the nation allowing only 305.7 yards a game (115 rushing, 190.7 passing), the Buffs feel they are better prepared.

"Anytime you go up against a team for the second time in a month, you are going to feel a little more comfortable about the gameplan," senior quarterback Robert Hodge stated. "I know Oklahoma feels the same way, so this should be a good one."

"I don't think either team will really do anything different this time," Barnett added. "You only have one week to prepare for the game and it's too late to put in a lot of wrinkles.

"But now, you've lined up against a (player) and you know his moves," he continued. "You know the speed of the game. The speed of the game should show up right away. Now, you know what you're working up against from last time. I don't know if you play them different, but you know what to expect."

Game Notes: The Buffs practiced in Folsom Field Thursday with simulated crowd noise blasting over the stadium's speakers...Though the Sooners lead the all-time series 35-16-2, including their win on Nov. 2, the Buffs still own a decisive 8-1-1 edge over the last 10 meetings... Barnett is 2-1 against OU, while OU head coach Bob Stoops is 1-1 versus CU... Saturday's game will mark the first time the teams have met twice in the same season, while it is only the second time they will play at an off-campus site. The first time was on Nov. 28, 1912 in the in the first ever meeting which CU won 14-12 in Denver... The Buffs and Sooners will kick off at 6:07 MST this Saturday in a game that will be televised on ABC. Brent Musburger (play-by-play), Gary Danielson (color) and Jack Arute (sidelines) will call the action.