OU Football Point After: Sooners Go Stormin’ in Waco


Sooner fans haven’t had a game like this and as gratifying a victory since Jan. 2, 2014, when the improbable happened with a gutsy OU football victory over another seemingly invincible football power, Alabama.

Bob Stoops and the Sooners served notice on Saturday night with an impressive 10-point victory over previously unbeaten and unchallenged Baylor that championship-caliber football is still very relevant in Norman and that the Sooners are a force with something to say about this season’s conference title chase.

In a game in which on-the-field emotions ran extremely high on both sides (149 yards in penalties, a number of which were of the personal-foul variety), Oklahoma showed that its dramatic rebound from the bad loss suffered against Texas was not just a better team that looked good by beating up on the bottom feeders of the Big 12 but, indeed, was a very good team that drew extra incentive from the Longhorn wake-up call and was very capable of going mano-a-mano with Big 12 powerbrokers like Baylor.

Nov 14, 2015; Waco, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) and running back Joe Mixon (25) celebrate during the second half against the Baylor Bears at McLane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

After going three-and-out on its first possession and surrendering a 9-play, 80-yard scoring drive to Baylor with just four and a half minutes elapsed in the game, OU responded with a touchdown drive of its own on the ensuing possession to take a 7-6 advantage, thanks to a botched extra point by Baylor on its scoring drive.

The two teams traded second-quarter touchdowns, and the Sooners returned the favor of missing an extra point following a spectacular 39-yard touchdown grab by Sterling Shepard that put Oklahoma up by a touchdown.

The Bears drew even at 13 with a 42-yard scoring drive on a short field coming with just under three minutes left in the first half, but that was more than enough time for the Sooners to orchestrate a 71-yard touchdown drive of their own, capped by a two-yard touchdown run by quarterback Baker Mayfield, giving Oklahoma a 20-13 lead at the half and sending Baylor to the locker room at halftime trailing for the first time this season.

The Bears came roaring back after halftime, taking the second-half kickoff and marching 75-yards in 9 plays to knot the game at 20-all, but that was as close as they would get. The Sooners broke things open with touchdowns on consecutive third-quarter possessions, the latter coming on a touchdown run by Samaje Perine for 45 of his 166 total rushing yards for the game. That proved to be a hole that Baylor, ranked No. 6 in the College Football Playoff standings, could not dig out of.

Nov 14, 2015; Waco, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners fullback Dimitri Flowers (36) runs over Baylor Bears safety Orion Stewart (28) during the first half at McLane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Baylor fought back to cut the Oklahoma lead to 37-34 with 10 minutes still remaining in the final quarter, but the Sooners doused any hopes that the home team had of pulling off a thrilling comeback victory with a final 78-yard drive that burned five minutes off the clock and put the visitors up by 10 with 5:42 left in the game.

Ahmad Thomas picked off a pass from Baylor freshman quarterback Jarrett Stidham on the first play of Baylor’s subsequent possession, and the Sooners ran out the clock from there, posting a hard-earned 44-34 victory and breaking a bothersome two-game losing streak to coach Art Briles and the Bears.

This was easily the Sooners’ best and win of the season, and they did it in most impressive fashion.

Oklahoma came onto Baylor’s home turf  before a sellout, frenzied crowd at McLane Stadium, a place where the Bears had not lost in 10 games since its opening at the beginning of the 2014 season, and held the nation’s most prolific offense more than 20 points below its season scoring average and over 200 yards below what Baylor averages per game. That was impressive enough, but the Sooners also beat Baylor at its own game, outgaining the nation’s top offensive team both on the ground and in the air, generating 511 yards of total offense.

So Oklahoma successfully passes the first test in a three-game stretch that could potentially end in a ninth Big 12 championship. Of course two extremely difficult tests still remain, with TCU coming to Norman next weekend and then Bedlam, an apt description for the regular-season finale against current Big 12 leader Oklahoma State. But getting by big, bad Baylor, which many believed to be the best team in the Big 12 this season, clearly puts the Sooners in a very good position going forward.

After the results of next weekend – Round 3 in the incredible back-loaded Big 12 schedule pitting all of the conference contenders against each other – when OU and TCU face off (much more on that this week) and what is sure to be an angry Baylor team ready to play spoiler at Oklahoma State, the end picture should become much more clear.

On the weekend of Nov. 28, Oklahoma is at OSU and Baylor will be at TCU, in what very well could be a doubleheader de facto Big 12 Championship.