Texas Tech’s players hadn’t lost since Nov. 24 against Baylor, and it had been even longer for coach Kliff Kingsbury.
For the Red Raiders, Oklahoma is a quickly receding memory. They’re focused on Saturday’s home game with Oklahoma State and proving that a mind-set has changed along with the coaching staff.
“This is going to show how tough our team really is out there, taking the first loss and being able to bounce back and showing that we’re as resilient as we proclaim to be,” defensive end Branden Jackson said. “It’s in the past, and we’re going to move on.”
Consider the matchup between Tech (7-1, 4-1 Big 12) and Oklahoma State (6-1, 3-1) as an elimination game between conference contenders. The winner still possesses viable hopes for the final five weeks of the season. The loser has to hope for a whole lot of cannibalization at the top of the standings.
“I don’t think there should be any problem with getting them motivated to play this game, and everything’s out in front of them,” said Kingsbury, who had won 13 consecutive games dating to his time as Texas A&M’s offensive coordinator. “If you want to win the Big 12, you’re going to have to win the rest of the games anyways, and I think they see that.”
Neither Kingsbury nor his coaching staff seems to have lost perspective. Their relative calm stands in contrast to previous seasons, Jackson said.
“The difference between the two staffs is back in the day when we had Coach [Tommy] Tuberville, it was kind of like, ‘Oh, my gosh, we lost, we’re panicking.’”
To get his players attention, Kingsbury has left reminders throughout the Tech locker room in the form of the number 98.