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January 8, 2014

Just Joshin': Mixon and Peterson Share More than a Number

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Just Joshin' is a commentary article written by SoonerScoop.com recruiting editor Josh McCuistion. It's a lighthearted look at any topic possible relating to Oklahoma athletics.

From the moment it was announced that the Sooners would be returning to the Sugar Bowl for the first time since January 4, 2004 Bob Stoops made no bones about being glad his Sooners wouldn't be dealing with LSU in, essentially, a home stadium again.

And his hopes paid reward as the Sooners turned the tide, literally, and exorcised some SEC demons with a 45-31 win over Alabama - their first win over an SEC bowl opponent since Arkansas in the 2002 Cotton Bowl.

In spite of this knowledge of Oklahoma's bowl history, what many people forget is what happened at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl the night before the Sooners would fall to LSU.

Well, 'forget' is the wrong word but most don't remember that roughly 24 hours before the Sooners took to the floor of the Sugar bowl was the day that Adrian Peterson pledged his commitment to Oklahoma at the 2004 Army All-American Bowl, a commitment he would stick by in spite of intense recruiting pressure from every corner of the country.

Moving 10 years forward, following Stoops' big win over Alabama he made some references to recruiting and the potential for big days ahead.

Not surprisingly Sooners fans immediately though of five-star running back Joe Mixon and his impending announcement during the 2014 Army All-American Bowl.

So perhaps we should have seen what was to come last Saturday in the Alamodome.

The connection between Mixon and Peterson was far beyond that of an obscure Sugar Bowl coincidence. During the Army bowl Mixon wore the No. 28 due to his longtime admiration of Peterson. In fact, Mixon had hoped to meet Peterson during his Oct. 4 official visit to Norman but Peterson ended up not making the trip to Norman on his off-week for the Minnesota Vikings.

So this week while one scenario changed, another one stayed exactly the same. The Sooners shook the SEC monkey off their back and less than 48 hours later celebrated Mixon's announcement on national television that he would be spurning almost the entirety of college football for a chance to play in Norman on the same field as his idol, Peterson.

Though he's long looked up to Peterson, it's the other five-star running back who committed to Oklahoma during the Army All-American Bowl, 2008 signee Demarco Murray, who Mixon's game has often been compared to.

Even in spite of the connection in timing, it's safe to say that Sooners running backs coach Cale Gundy spent plenty of time talking with Mixon about his role in coaching the two, now, NFL stars.

The next year, following the 2003 season and Peterson's signing with the Sooners in February of 2004? Oklahoma played for a national title (again). Could history be set to (again) repeat itself?

Mixon expects to do better than simply make it to one game.

"Just be ready, we're going to turn this thing around. We're looking to get, at least, three national championships," Mixon told SoonerScoop.com following his announcement.

And while it may not be three, the greatest coincidence of all? Each of Mixon's preceding Army five-star running back commitments has been part of a team to play in a championship game.

Though Peterson's experience was an ugly one, Stoops again had to play an SEC powerhouse in their home state when Murray's 2008 squad made it to the title game; a game in which Murray was unable to take part in.

Though the two appearances didn't come out as he might have wanted, so long as Stoops doesn't have to play SMU in Dallas next year he'll be fine with that scenario restarting as soon as possible with Mixon perhaps being his next lucky charm.



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