Once again in 2019, the meeting of the Sooners and the Bears provided us with a quality, hard fought football game. This time, it was in the glitz and glamour of AT&T Stadium with the Big 12 Championship trophy on the line. The final contest of the Big 12 season was one of the best games of the season, and will stand out as only the second Big 12 title game to go to overtime.
The contest started out with Oklahoma looking like they were going to dominate the day. On two of their first three possessions, the Sooners put points on the board, and managed to keep the Bears out of the endzone to go up 10-0. Baylor continued to battle, however, and two turnovers – a fumble and interception – committed by Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts turned into 10 points for the Bears.
Momentum swung Baylor’s way as their defense appeared to put the clamps down. Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer ended up leaving the game in the second quarter with possible concussion symptoms, but his backup Gerry Bohanon showcased the ability to make plays in Brewer’s stead. Bohanon drove the Bears offense down the field, completing a 29 yard pass to Tyquan Thornton to set up a Baylor field goal.
Baylor went into halftime with a 13-10 lead. Coming out of the break, Oklahoma caught some momentum through their running game, and drove the ball down the field to tie it up 13-13 in the fourth quarter. The Sooners were able to put together drives at the end of the third and beginning of the fourth quarter in order to once again grab a lead at 23-13.
Going to third string quarterback Jacob Zeno, the Bears were able to get big passing plays of 78 and 81 yards to storm back and tie it up 23-23 with 3:25 left in the ball game. Neither offense was able to get within field goal range in regulation, and the game went to overtime .
The Sooners got the ball to start overtime, and were able to get the first touchdown of overtime on the ground with a five yard run by Rhamondre Stevenson. Zeno and the offense once again went to the air to try and get the tying score, but two incompletions and a sack on third down set the Bears up with a 4th and 20, and Zeno was unable to find a receiver as the last pass of the game was incomplete.
This game was a fitting end to a Big 12 season that was full of close games. For the Sooners, who had to rely on their defense to come up with a stop against the Bears, this game was a reminder of how far Oklahoma has come defensively since last season. On a day when the offense was up-and-down, the defense – which held Baylor to 35 yards on the ground – was in the Bears backfield all day. Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year Jalen Hurts struggled at times, but the Alabama transfer continued to make plays when he needed to , and ended up with 287 passing yards against the Bears.
But there’s almost not enough credit that can be given to Matt Rhule and his squad, who could have checked out easily when starting quarterback Charlie Brewer left the game in the first half. The Bears continued to fight back, and Defensive Player Of The Year James Lynch absolutely had a championship-level performance.
With the win, the No. 6 Sooners likely have set themselves up to snatch a spot in the College Football Playoff after fifth-ranked Utah was upset Friday night in the Pac-12 Championship Game. Whatever happens today between George and LSU will likely affect that, but we will know for sure tomorrow at 11:15 a.m. CST.