Oklahoma and West Virginia staged a thrilling game in Morgantown two years ago, with the Sooners pulling out a 50-49 win in the last minute. However, the game itself wasn't what left the biggest impression on the Sooners.
The hot topic of Monday's press conference was the reception the Sooners received from the West Virginia faithful, long regarded in college football as a rowdy bunch.
“They're loud and rude,” defensive end Chuka Ndulue said. “It's really loud over there. On defense, we're not going to get a lot of it, but they're very loud and very rude. Almost like Tech, but I want to say they (WVU) are the worst.”
So what makes a fanbase rude, exactly?
“The fans are disrespectful,” Ndulue said. “Those are great fans. They're backing up their team and they'll do whatever they can to get in your head.”
Junior receiver Durron Neal was just a freshman when the Sooners traveled east in 2012, but the experience evidently stuck with him, as he mentioned the hostility and rudeness of the fans without prompting.
“A very disrespectful fanbase,” Neal said. “They're going to be prepared to say some nasty and mean things.
“They definitely do some research. Just from going my freshman year and hearing the things they were saying to guys like Kenny (Stills) and Jalen (Saunders) and Justin (Brown), even me. I was a freshman and they knew some stuff about me. They really take pride in trying to get in your head and getting you off your game.”
A Sooners fan responded on Twitter to the comments, saying his experience of traveling to Morgantown as an OU fan was a pleasant experience. The players didn't say it was a terrible thing, either. In fact, it seems to be a motivator.
“It's fun; it gets you fired up and ready to play,” Neal said. “They're trying to protect their house and are trying to do anything to help their team win. It just drives me personally and I feel it's the same with all the other guys.”
Unsurprisingly, OU coach Bob Stoops didn't mention any rude or disrespectful fans he may have encountered two years ago, saying he thought it was a great atmosphere.
“They had a great crowd and I didn't notice anything, anyone hollering anything different than what we normally get hollered at us,” Stoops said with a chuckle. “I don't pay much attention to that.”
One big difference from 2012 will be the students in attendance. Oklahoma played in Morgantown while WVU was on fall break. The student section wasn't close to completely full, but it should be a packed house on Saturday night. And as the attendance increases, the rudeness probably will as well.
-Stoops said he was made aware of Joe Mixon attending last Thursday's pep rally with the team Thursday night and will address it with Mixon, calling it “poor judgment.” Stoops said him and most of the coaches not being there probably had something to do with it.
-Cornerback Julian Wilson nearly had an inexplicable gaffe on Saturday, dropping a 100-yard interception return just after crossing the goal line. It was so close the play had to be reviewed. Wilson said on Monday next time he would “carry the ball through the end zone and take it home with me.” Probably a good plan for the future.
-Stoops confirmed reports that running back Keith Ford has a fractured and will be out for Saturday's game. The injury is to the non-weight bearing bone in the leg, so it will be a week-to-week healing process. Stoops said Ford could be back in two to three weeks. Alex Ross will likely start in Ford's place against the Mountaineers.