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Sooners Aware Of Danger In Overlooking Horned Frogs

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NORMAN, Oklahoma -

The college football season is full of peaks and valleys, and that's just between wins.

Every game generates its own level of excitement, so it'd be understandable if the Oklahoma Sooners had a bit of a letdown against TCU Saturday evening. After all, the Sooners did just defeat Notre Dame on the road and TCU has struggled mightily through the first four weeks of the season.

However, you won't find the Sooners taking the Horned Frogs lightly this week.

"The focus this week has to be 10 times better than it was last week," linebacker Corey Nelson said Monday. "We have to be even more focused than we were against Notre Dame because we cannot let TCU come in here and beat us. We have to continue with the intensity, we have to continue to be humble and hungry and everything we are doing. So the focus this week has to be at an all-time high because we have to win this game and not have a letdown."

Historically, the Sooners have done a solid job over the years of both following up big wins with wins and rebounding from losses. The Sooners have had only two losing streaks since Bob Stoops became the head coach: once in 1999 and once in 2003 when they lost the Big 12 championship and then lost the national championship game to LSU.

That's not to say the Sooners haven't had lackluster performances after big wins. For example, after throttling Texas in 2011, the Sooners were sluggish in a win at Kansas before being stunned by Texas Tech in Norman the following week.

OU coach Bob Stoops says it shouldn't be difficult for the Sooners to refocus after such a big win on the road.

"We didn't set the whole season up and work all year to beat Notre Dame," Stoops said. "It's part of the cycle. We've got another game this week and the remainder of them are Big 12 games. No one around here is ever satisfied with beating one team. We've got to win this week, and the following week and the following week."

Last week, Stoops said while each game is equally important in the grand scheme of the season, a win over an opponent like Notre Dame can spur momentum for the rest of the season. He said he hopes the hunger the Sooners have used to win the first four games continues to grow.

"The better teams do get better as you go through the year," Stoops said, "and playing well like we did in a big setting on the road should give you more hunger. The mistakes our players will see today when we're with them are so obvious that we can be better and that's what we have to keep pushing for; to clean up some of those mistakes to even be better and that's what we're after."

At the beginning of the season, this three-game stretch of Notre Dame, TCU and Texas looked to be the most difficult stretch of the season for the Sooners. Now, the Sooners have won one of those games and the next two look much easier than they did earlier in the season. TCU's place on the schedule—right before Texas—is always a tough one for Oklahoma.

"Every year we have Texas in the same position, so we always have someone before them and after them and wherever they are doesn't matter to us," Stoops said. "Everything is all on TCU, period. Again, around here, we're expected to beat everybody, so you only beat everybody by being ready for everybody."

A win over TCU at home pales in comparison to a road win over the Fighting Irish. Don't tell that to the Sooners, though. They won't believe you.

"I feel like every game is important," Nelson said. "TCU will be the biggest game for us this year because they were projected to be winning the Big 12 and up at the top. So this is the biggest game of season so far and we cannot have a letdown whatsoever. We have to win."

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