Buffs eager for second chance with Oklahoma

Tuesday, December 3, 2002

HOUSTON -- Colorado made too many mistakes to beat Oklahoma the first time the two teams played this season. They've been eager for a second chance and they'll get it Saturday in the Big 12 championship game.

Colorado stumbled at the start of its game on Nov. 2 against the Sooners and lost 27-11. In the first half, the Buffaloes lost two fumbles, had a pass intercepted, muffed a pooch kick and had a field goal blocked.

They've wondered since then, what might have happened if they had eliminated those mistakes at the start of the game.

"We didn't give ourselves much of a chance, you can't play a team like Oklahoma and expect to win when you turn the ball over," Colorado coach Gary Barnett said Monday. "We never threatened to win the game, we just got a little respect.

Another Sooner interception helped Oklahoma take a 27-3 lead early in the third quarter. After that, Colorado kept the score respectable.

"That was important but we just didn't get it," Barnett said. "We got snuffed out in the red zone. We made a good show, but that's all it was, a show."

Oklahoma quarterback Nate Hybl knows the Sooners did enough to win the game.

"I'm not one to read what people said, but the feeling I got was they left some plays on the the field and we didn't finish the game like they were expecting us to," Hybl said. "We made enough plays and we did get a little conservative. I don't know how they reacted but we deserve a lot of credit."

Colorado (9-3) had its toughest times early in the season when the Buffloes lost its opener to Colorado State and to Southern California 40-3 in the third game of the season before putting together a five-game winning streak that ended with their loss to Oklahoma.

The Sooners (10-2) saved their downers for late in the season with losses to Texas A&M on Nov. 9 and Saturday when they lost to Oklahoma State for the second straight year, 38-28.

"This championship is won through the year," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. "That's why the conference games count. They are sitting here with a great record and one loss (in Big 12) and they've beaten some awfully good teams. We were fortunate to beat them.

"It's who's hot now."

Hybl threw three touchdown passes against Colorado in drives that covered just 39, 24 and 9 yards.

"They feel they still have a lot to prove to us and we welcome that challenge," Hybl said. "It was a cold and rainy day so I look forward to a perfect setting. Defensively, they present a lot of different things. They'll bring a lot of people into the box and try to stop our running game."

Colorado enters the game with a three-game winning streak. They beat Nebraska 28-13 on Friday.

"(The Sooners) are a great football team and they played a great game against us at home," Colorado lineman Wayne Lucier said. "Now we have an opportunity to come back and play better and not turn the ball over and give them so many opportunities in our end of the field."

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