The Big 12 finally took front and center in the college football national spotlight as the #12 Sooners took on the #6 Baylor Bears in Waco Saturday night, and it didn’t disappoint! The powerhouse match-up came with major playoff implications. On an evening where the Waco, Texas sky would open up, it was Baylor’s parade that would eventually be rained upon.
The Sooners, who have handily won five straight since their 24-17 loss to Texas, would alter the Big 12 title race and give the College Football Playoffs a new outlook by knocking off Baylor 44-34. OU strutted into Waco clearly looking to send a message, not only to the Bears but to the Playoff Committee, that they play as physical as anyone in the country. This game was heated and positioned two teams, who clearly don’t like each other, against one another.
Corey Coleman has been one of the Bear’s most dangerous players this year. He would prove to be true freshman quarterback Jarrett Stidham’s security blanket in his debut last week against Kansas State. Coleman had 216 receiving yards and 2 TD’s against the Wildcats. OU would hold him to 51 yards and zero touchdowns. Shock Linwood, who had nine rushing touchdowns coming into this game, did have 103 yards but was also held to zero touchdowns.
As expected, Baylor would encounter a healthy dose of OU’s effective running game led by Samaje Perine. The Sooner’s offensive line played bruising, physical football all night long which would give Perine the holes he needed He would knife his way through the Bear’s defense en route to a 166-yard, two touchdown performance.
Jarrett Stidham was making his first start at home since taking over for the injured Seth Russell. Unfortunately for Baylor Nation the first two interceptions of his career would accompany his McLane Stadium debut. Even with that, however, the Bears found themselves down only three in the fourth quarter with momentum on their side and a chance to pull ahead. More on that later.
Baker Mayfield, while seemingly sharing a brain with Sterling Shepard on Saturday night, would take advantage of the national spotlight. 14 of his 24 completions found the hands of the speedy Sterling. Mayfield led the Sooners to a commanding performance which should go a long way in convincing the CFB Playoff Committee to declare the Texas loss a fluke. The Mayfield, Shepard and Perine trio would prove to be just too much for the Bears to handle.
|3rd Down Eff||9-17||8-15|
|4th Down Eff||0-1||1-1|
|Yds Per Pass||8.5||10.0|
|Yds Per Rush||4.6||3.6|
Key Point In The Game
Up 37-34 with less than ten minutes left in the game, OU found themselves facing a third-and-15 from their own 17 yard-line. McLane Stadium was rocking and the pass-rush was on. Baker Mayfield, feeling the pressure, would be forced into throwing an incompletion which would almost certainly set Baylor up with prime field position with over nine minutes on the clock and a great chance to take the lead.
Baylor would be flagged for a horse-collar grab while trying to get to Mayfield, though. The Sooners were given 15 yards and an automatic first down. After that, on the shoulders of a Mayfield scramble for 17 yards, a Perine run for 12 and a strike to Sterling Shepard for 19, the Sooners would end up going up ten points on a 7-yard touchdown pass from Mayfield to Dimitri Flowers.
Of Baylor’s six penalties for 66 yards that was, by far, the most devastating. Not only did it take the ball away from them with a stadium full of momentum, but it put Baylor down ten with only 4:47 left in the game. On the ensuing drive, Stidham would throw an interception to ice the game.
Emptying The Notebook
Sterling Shepard had 14 receptions for 177 yards and two touchdowns. Here he is COMIN’ ATCHA’! I don’t know whose idea this pylon-cam was but, whoever they are, they deserve a raise.
When all else fails, go to the Pylon Cam. https://t.co/eTHyTrIKEL
— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) November 15, 2015
So I think maybe the OU fans are trying to send a certain group of voters a message on behalf of Baker Mayfield?? A monster day for Mayfield who went 24/34 for 270 yards, three touchdowns and a pick. He also logged a rushing touchdown to go with his 76 yards on the ground. I think these fans may have a point!
— Mike Houck (@mhouckOU) November 15, 2015
A game of this magnitude affords you very little room for error. Let’s just say this didn’t help Baylor’s cause. Somehow Jay Lee does not make this catch. Thankfully for Lee, Baylor would score a few plays later.
— CBS Sports CFB (@CBSSportsCFB) November 15, 2015
Big man touchdown! Also, the faking out the ref at the end is gold!
— Jim Weber (@JimMWeber) November 15, 2015