Sooners Look to Avenge Recent Road Woes

OU defensive end Jeremy Beal

The road has not been friendly to the No. 8 Sooners recently.

OU won just two of its seven games away from Owen Field in 2009, and it has not recorded a perfect record away from the friendly confines of Norman in a season since winning the national title in 2000.

But, the Sooners are looking to change that with their first road game of the season this Saturday against the Cincinnati Bearcats after starting 3-0 at home.

"Any time you go on the road the first time you want to do well, be successful," said senior defensive end Jeremy Beal. "Just like the first game played of the season, they set the standards for the rest of the season. The same for the road games, they set the standard for the rest of the road games."

That road standard the Sooners want to set cannot be set if the players take a different approach on the road than at home, Beal said.

"Play like we play at home," Beal said. "It shouldn't matter if we're on the road or not. We should always play the same. It's easier said [than done], but it's not impossible."

Playing well on the road is certainly not impossible, as long as the Sooners play more consistent than they have at moments while at home, but the players cannot feed off the home fans' energy in a time of need when they are wearing the white tops rather than the home red. Still, OU can feed off the road stadium's silence, something that senior defensive back Jonathan Nelson said he likes to hear.

"A great feeling at home is to make a play and have the crowd go crazy, but also when you're on the road and you make a big play and it's just deafening, and it's just silent," Nelson said. "You could hear a pin drop, like everybody but your sideline is going crazy, that's a better feeling. It's a great feeling to go on the road and actually do good."

While the pin-drop silence is nice, Beal prefers how the opposing fans react and the looks on their faces when he goes into an opposing stadium and leaves with a victory.

"I don't think anybody will prefer playing on the road, but I always don't mind," Beal said. "I love playing at home, but I kind of like when the fans talk trash. It kind of motivates you, especially when you win."

The Sooners will find out Saturday if they have the ability to silence the opposing crowd and win on the road. They could not last year, but, then again, this is a new year.

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