There were more than a few big plays in a big Oklahoma football season, but we’ve narrowed the field to five we consider as having a significant impact on the Sooners’ 2015 championship season.
Joe Mixon’s 76-yard catch-and-run in season-opening win over Akron: Everyone was excited to see what Joe Mixon would add to the OU rushing offense in his first Oklahoma season after being suspended for a year after allegedly assaulting an OU female student. But in his inaugural game in a Sooner jersey, Mixon caught a pass from quarterback Baker Mayfield and scampered 76-yards for a touchdown against Akron. It was then that everyone recognized that Mixon was not just a rushing weapon, but also an added receiving target in Oklahoma’s newly installed Air Raid offense.
Zach Sanchez interception in 2nd overtime of Tennessee game: With Oklahoma leading 31-24 in the second overtime at Tennessee, the Volunteers were faced with a third-down play at the OU 23-yard-line and 12 yards to go for a first down, when Sooner cornerback Zack Sanchez picked off a pass from Tennessee’s Josh Dobbs at Oklahoma 15, ending the game a giving the Sooners a huge comeback win on the road in front of over 100,000 boisterous fans. Down by 14 points at the beginning of the fourth quarter, this comeback victory in a hostile environment may have been just the confidence boost the Sooners needed to forge a giant turnaround from a disappointing 8-5 season the year before.Nov 14, 2015; Waco, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners fullback Dimitri Flowers (36) is brought down by Baylor Bears safety Chance Waz (18) during the first half at McLane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Dimitri Flowers’ 7-yard touchdown reception from Baker Mayfield vs. Baylor: With under five minutes to play at Baylor and with the Bears having climbed back to within three points of the Sooners at 37-34, Oklahoma had driven 75 yards on nine plays and was faced with a critical third-and-goal from the Baylor 3-yard line. Mayfield took the snap from center Ty Darlington and was forced out of the pocket and to his right at Baylor defenders were closing in on him. At the last second before being hit, Mayfield spotted fullback Dimitri Flowers open in the end zone and fired a bullet that Flowers hauled in for a huge Sooner touchdown that widened the lead to 10 points and essentially put the game out of reach and in the OU victory column for win number nine on the year.
Samaje Perine’s 72-yard touchdown run against TCU: With the score 23-13 midway through the third quarter, Oklahoma bruiser back Samaje Perine broke through the first wave of tacklers at the line on scrimmage on the Sooner 28-yard line, cut left and headed to the far sideline and a foot race to the end zone, won by Perine, to give OU a 30-13 lead. At the time, that score didn’t seem as critical as it ended up being. That was the only Sooner score of the second half against TCU. Oklahoma held on to win the game, but only by a single point and only because the Horned Frogs failed on a two-point conversion try that would have won the game for TCU. Had the Sooners lost that game, they would not have gone on to win their ninth Big 12 championship and would not be one of the four tams awarded a coveted spot in the 2015 College Football Playoff.
Steven Parker’s pass breakup on two-point conversion try by TCU: Speaking of the failed two-point conversion attempt by TCU late in the game with Oklahoma, Sooner safety Steven Parker was the man responsible for batting down the pass that was on its way from third-string TCU quarterback Bram Kohlhausen to an open Horned Frog receiver in the end zone. Parker was the only thing standing between that pass and what would have been the game-winning extra point(s). Fortunately for the Sooners, Parker was able to make the game-saving play that saved the Oklahoma season and gave OU head coach Bob Stoops his 13th season of double-digit victories in 17 seasons at Oklahoma. That is a record that is unequaled anywhere in major college football over that time span.