Oklahoma Football: Sooners Look To Vanquish Road Woes Against Missouri

Luke McConnellCorrespondent IOctober 19, 2010

DeMarco Murray and the Oklahoma Sooners have one road win in 2010, a 31-29 victory at Cincinnati.
DeMarco Murray and the Oklahoma Sooners have one road win in 2010, a 31-29 victory at Cincinnati.Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The dominance has been well documented.  

Oklahoma simply plays better at home.  The Sooners have a 34-game home winning streak, and a 67-2 record at Owen Field under Bob Stoops to prove it.  

However, the 27 losses that have come away from the Sooners' home turf in Norman cannot be ignored.  Lately, those struggles have been more apparent than usual.

In 2009, a mediocre Sooners team managed to win all of their home games, with four dominating wins and three shutouts, including a 27-0 drubbing of rival Oklahoma State in the season finale.  On the flip side, the Sooners went 2-5 away from Norman, only notching wins against Kansas and Stanford in the Sun Bowl.  

In 2007, road losses to Colorado and Texas Tech cost the Sooners a shot at a national championship.  The Sooners were sent instead to the Fiesta Bowl, where they promptly laid a huge egg against the West Virginia Mountaineers.  

While the 2006 Sooners probably didn't have much of a shot at a national championship appearance, road losses at Oregon (which shouldn't have happened) and at Texas were the only blemishes on an otherwise perfect regular season.  

The trend continues throughout Stoops' tenure.  It's a very scary thought indeed.  In the past decade, Oklahoma has typically been one or two road losses and one earth shattering home loss (OSU in 2001) from having an argument to appear in every national title game, sans two in 2005 and 2009.  

This says a ton about the program that Bob Stoops has built, but it also says that when the Sooners go on the road in a hostile environment, they don't always perform at the level they should.  

The 2010 Sooners wanted to buck that trend of being unable to win away on the road, and they have been successful so far.  Oklahoma won 31-29 against a very determined Cincinnati team on the road, and defeated Texas two weeks ago at the Cotton Bowl, 28-20.  

Now, the Sooners face their sternest test of the year in the No. 11 Missouri Tigers.  ESPN's "College Gameday" will be on campus in Columbia for the first time in history, with the Missouri faithful attempting to break the Gameday attendance record of 15,800, set against Nebraska.  

The game will be nationally televised on ABC at 8 p.m. EST.  To say that the Missouri crowd at Faurot Field is going to be hyped up is a vast understatement.  

Anytime that Oklahoma plays on the road, they draw a crowd because, well, they're Oklahoma.  Seven national championships and the prestige of being one of the greatest programs in the history of college football naturally attracts attention.

Things are made more difficult by the fact that OU is ranked No. 1 in the first edition of the BCS standings released on Sunday.  As if Missouri needed more motivation.

Playing and winning on the road requires intense focus and preparation.  The noise generated at away stadiums for opposing teams can make your hair stand on end, but winning teams have to ignore it and keep their focus on the game. 

Oklahoma has simply lacked that focus in the past few years, and they are going to need every bit of it to come out of Missouri with a win.  If the Sooners come out flat and fail to match the intensity of the Tigers and their crowd, things could go south in a hurry.

However, if the Sooners come out fired up, stay focused and firing on all cylinders, like they did this past week against Iowa State, then a victory is almost a certainty. A win against the Tigers will go a long way to throw those road demons of years past off the Sooner Schooner.