Tennessee and Oklahoma had a pair of emotionally-charged non-conference games the past two years that the Sooners got the upper-hand in both times, winning 34-10 in Norman in 2014 and then coming from behind for 31-24 overtime victory in Neyland Stadium this year.
There was some banter and trash talk between the teams and fanbases, but with the Sooners now on the brink of an appearance in the College Football Playoffs, Darlington had some complimentary things to say about the Vols.
“Absolutely not — not even close,” Darlington told OUDaily.com when asked if any other crowd he faced approached what he saw in Neyland Stadium. “Nothing I’ve ever experienced or ever will experience will compare to Tennessee.”
Darlington also noted some similarities between Tennessee in 2015 to Oklahoma in 2014. The Sooners went 8-5 last season with three of their losses coming by four points or less. Tennessee just finished off an 8-4 regular-season campaign with four losses with all four defeats coming in one-score games. Tennessee hopes to take the next step in 2016, as Oklahoma did this year.
“Those other games were one play away, and we can definitely sympathize with that,” Darlington said. “They’re a quality team — they are. They gave us everything we could handle.”