Oklahoma took the Big 12 title and likely a spot in the College Football Playoff – and did at the expense of rival Oklahoma State in a Bedlam blowout.
Baker Mayfield threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score and the No. 5 Sooners beat the No. 9 Cowboys 58-23 on Saturday night.
“There’s a lot of tension in the air,” Oklahoma cornerback Jordan Thomas, who intercepted two passes and returned one for a touchdown, said. “Obviously, this game – we don’t need anyone to tell us it’s a big game. We don’t need anyone to tell us that it’s a game we have to play our hearts out in. But this one? I could tell. I knew our guys were ready and I knew what we were playing for.”
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops didn’t know Notre Dame, one of the other contenders, lost to Stanford, until a reporter told him.
“You just figure if you’re third and you go to a championship game away from home to the No. 9 team in the country and win by 30-some points, whatever it was, you would only move up, possibly, but you sure wouldn’t move back.”
Mayfield was knocked out of the previous game with a concussion, but he was fearless against the Cowboys, rushing for 77 yards and a touchdown. The Sooners (11-1, 8-1 Big 12, No. 3 CFP) gained 524 yards, including 344 on the ground, to claim their third win over a ranked opponent in three weeks.
Stoops said Mayfield deserves to be in the Heisman conversation.
“I would think that he would be as deserving as anybody in the country,” he said. “I’m never one to say any one guy is – there’s still some games to play here and all – but he has to be right up there to the top with everybody. I lose track of how many touchdowns he accounted for tonight, but he was special again tonight.”
As the final seconds ticked away, most of the crowd at Oklahoma State’s Boone Pickens Stadium was wearing Oklahoma crimson, and the fans shouted back and forth to each other: “Boomer! Sooner!”
Joe Mixon ran for 136 yards and two touchdowns and Samaje Perine had 131 yards and two scores.
“Everybody that’s played them has probably had their highest missed tackle total out of everybody they played,” Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer said. “Between the two running backs and Mayfield, they’re good players. I’m disappointed. I hoped we would’ve tackled better, but it was evident that they’re strong, and they broke tackles.”
J.W. Walsh passed for 325 yards and two scores, and James Washington caught seven passes for 169 yards and touchdown for the Cowboys (10-2, 7-2, No. 11 CFP).
It was just the third time the rivals have met when both ranked in the Top 10.
Oklahoma rolled to a 44-20 halftime lead. The Sooners gained 359 yards on 36 plays before the break. Perine had touchdown runs of 68 and 25 yards, and Mixon added a 66-yard scoring run in the half.
Walsh started for Mason Rudolph, who limped at times during the loss to Baylor the previous week. Coach Mike Gundy said after the game that Rudolph had a foot injury, and he is questionable for the bowl game. He entered the game in the second quarter, played one possession and threw an interception that Thomas returned 32 yards for a touchdown to give Oklahoma a 34-10 lead.
Walsh threw his first interception of the season in the second quarter when Thomas stepped in front of a pass and returned it 36 yards to set up Austin Seibert’s 40-yard field goal that made it 44-17. It was the second-highest point total for Oklahoma in any half of a Bedlam game, trailing just the 45 points the Sooners scored in the first half of the 1970 game.
Mayfield’s 5-yard keeper in the third quarter put the Sooners up 51-23.
Early in the fourth quarter, Perine, just a sophomore, became the 10th Sooner to rush for at least 3,000 yards in a career.
“Credit them,” Spencer said. “They did a good job and they ran through us. We just didn’t tackle well enough. It was my biggest fear, and that’s what happened.”
SOURCE: The Associated Press