Turning Back the Clock: Baylor

Each game week, Justin Wright turns back the clock to a previous matchup between Oklahoma and the upcoming opponent, and reliving Sooner Magic from years past.

Last week was the first time Oklahoma played Tulane, so TBTC took a bye-week. Now, it makes it’s triumphant return for the Baylor game.

Week 4: Baylor University

The Setting

November 14, 2015 — Waco, TX. After a baffling loss to Texas in the Red River Shootout, the Sooners won 4 in a row, scoring 52 in each game, and headed south to Waco, TX, to take on the No. 6 Baylor Bears. Baylor, undefeated through 8 games, poised themselves to win the Big 12 and become the Conference’s first representative in the College Football Playoff. Oklahoma, ranked No. 12 in the latest College Football Playoff Ranking, put their own playoff aspirations on the line in front of a sold out crowd at McLane Stadium.

The Game

Baylor quarterback Seth Russell’s season ended early with a neck injury against Iowa State, but highly touted freshman quarterback Jarrett Stidham had stepped up in his stead the week before. Baylor’s spread offense attack had only failed to score 7 touchdowns in a game once, and looked poised to throw all over the Oklahoma defense. Baylor opened up the scoring on a 9 play, 80 yard drive in front of the largest crowd ever at McLane stadium.

The Oklahoma offense, that had come alive since their loss in Dallas, moved the ball with a balanced attack, and found consistent success of their own, and the two schools traded touchdowns through the first half. The Sooners put up rushing touchdowns from Semaje Perine and Baker Mayfield up on the board in the first half, sandwiched around Sterling Shepard’s memorable pylon-cam score. Following Devin Chafin’s third touchdown on the second half’s opening drive, the Bears had the game tied at 20, and game momentum was up in the air.

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The Sooners seized the opportunity with back-to-back touchdowns on their first two drives of the half, and looked ready to send Baylor back to the likes of the early 2000s when Baylor was no more than a FCS team to Big 12 competitors. The offense, however, began to stall out a bit, only managing 3 points over the next 4 drives, while Baylor’s offense overcame a turnover for 2 touchdowns in that same span. Suddenly, it was a 37-34 game as the crowd in Waco roared to life.

Until 2011, Oklahoma was 20-0 against Baylor all time. The new look Bears, under head coach Art Briles, however, beat the Sooners in 3 of the last 4 years, including complete demolition derbies in back-t0-back games. Oklahoma needed to put Baylor away for good, and needed a statement play to do it.

Then Baker Mayfield happened.

Sooner Magic Moment

Mayfield, a Texas Tech walk-on who transferred to Oklahoma, established himself as the heart and soul of the Oklahoma team in 2015. He also established himself as an escape artist in the pocket, keeping plays alive with his feet until he could find an open receiver. Facing a 3rd-and-goal from the Baylor 7 yard line, Baker dug into the bag of tricks for one of the definitive plays of the 2015 season.

Mayfield took the snap, and faked the weak side handoff to Perine. Mark Andrews lined up wide left, while Sterling Shepard slotted on the right side next to Durron Neal. Dimitri Flowers, another edition from a long list of unsung heroes at fullback for Oklahoma, lined up as an h-back blocker on the right side. As Mayfield went through his progressions, no receivers shed their defender in the end zone, and the pocket started to collapse around him.

The pressure closed in, but Mayfield kept his composure, buying time with his feet. He began to scramble up the middle, but a linebacker filled the hole and began pursuit. He cut left, only to find a defensive lineman shedding his blocker and bearing down as well. Mayfield turned back to his right and started his retreat. Eyes still peeled towards the goal line, looking for a receiver; Flowers, an eligible receiver staying in to block ran a quick drag into the end-zone. Realizing he had space. Mayfield, retreating vertically now, fired off his back foot from the 19 yard line to  wide open Flowers, jumping on the goal line.

In the words of the late, great Bob Barry, Sr., “Touchdown Oklahoma!”

Ahmad Thomas would intercept Stidham’s first pass of the ensuing Baylor drive, and Oklahoma ran off the remaining 4:35 of the game to ice it, 44-34. This game was the second stop on Oklahoma’s 2015 Revenge Tour, avenging losses to Kansas State, TCU, and Oklahoma State as well. That touchdown pass is just one of the many highlights on Baker Mayfield’s incredible, but still unfinished, Oklahoma Legend Reel.

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