Oklahoma football: Sooners are champions overcoming adversity in Waco

WACO, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 16: Jalen Hurts #1 of the Oklahoma Sooners throws against the Baylor Bears in the second half at McLane Stadium on November 16, 2019 in Waco, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
WACO, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 16: Jalen Hurts #1 of the Oklahoma Sooners throws against the Baylor Bears in the second half at McLane Stadium on November 16, 2019 in Waco, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

The Oklahoma football program has had its fair share of adversity playing against the Baylor Bears in Waco.

Since 2011, Oklahoma is a very modest 3-2 when playing at Baylor. Quarterbacks Robert Griffin III and Bryce Petty led Baylor to victories over the Sooners in back-to-back trips in 2011 and 2013.

Following losses at Baylor in 2011 and 2013, however, Oklahoma has prevailed in its last three games at Baylor.

The most anticipated Big 12 game of the 2015 season was between No. 4-ranked Baylor and No. 12 Oklahoma in a matchup that took place in foreign territory at newly built McLane Stadium on the Brazos River in Waco.

Nov. 14, 2015 — Oklahoma 44, Baylor 34

The Sooners’ turned spoiler in the 2015 game with Baker Mayfield and Samaje Perine leading the Sooners to a rare 44-34 OU upset victory. Mayfield threw for 270 yards and three touchdowns, while Perine rushed for 166 yards and two touchdowns.  The Oklahoma’s defense created three takeaways in the game and was an important contributing factor to the Sooner victory.

The Oklahoma win in 2015 took the wind out of the Baylor sails. The Bears came into the showdown with the Sooners with a perfect 8-0 record — sounds eerily familiar, doesn’t it? — but would go on to lose twice more that season, ending the year with a 10-3 overall record and 6-3 in the conference. The Sooners, meanwhile would go on to claim the first of their six consecutive Big 12 championships and become the first Big 12 school to earn a place in the College Football Playoff.

Sept. 23, 2017 — Oklahoma 49, Baylor 41

In 2017, it was a different and strange story when the Sooners traveled to Waco to battle the Bears. After the scandal involving head coach Art Briles and the Baylor football team, the Bears were struggling with players leaving the program and recruits not wanting to come to Baylor.

The Bears started the 2017 season 0-3 but gave Mayfield and the Sooners all they could handle. Oklahoma led 28-10 in the second quarter, but the Bears kept fighting their way back. Baylor actually took the lead on Oklahoma, 31-28, late in the third quarter. Trey Sermon ran for a nine-yard touchdown that put the Sooners up 49-31.

Despite the Bears’ late touchdown heroics, Oklahoma was able to edge out a 49-41 win in the 2017 game, but only after Caleb Kelly recovered a fumble to secure the win (yes, Caleb Kelly).

Nov. 16, 2019 — Oklahoma 34, Baylor 31

And that brings us to the epic 2019 game, the last time the Sooners were in Waco. We witnessed the biggest comeback in Oklahoma history in that 2019 game and spotted “Sooner Magic” up close and personal.

The second half was a complete reversal of the opening 30 minutes, something Oklahoma would like to avoid at all cost when these two teams get together this Saturday.

After trailing 28-3 early in the second quarter, it was not looking promising for the Sooner faithful. The Bears were able to rack up 238 yards of offense in the first half and took a stunning 31-10 lead into the locker room at halftime.

A complete transformation took place after halftime as a totally different Oklahoma team came out to play in the second half. Oklahoma remarkably stormed back to tie the game, 31-31, late in the fourth quarter. Then, with just 1:45 left to go in the game, Gabe BrkicBrkic connected on a 31-yard field goal to give Oklahoma a miraculous 34-31 victory, literally seizing victory from the jaws of defeat.

The Sooners avoided a last-minute Baylor score with an interception by then-freshman Nick Bonitto.

Fast-forwarding to the present:

Nov. 13, 2021 — Oklahoma at Baylor

This week the No. 8-ranked Sooners travel to Waco to face No. 18 Baylor. The Sooners got a much-needed bye week in Week 10, while the Bears suffered a 30-28 upset loss against TCU. What seemed like a primetime no-doubter for Oklahoma and Baylor, turned into an 11 am kickoff on FOX.

The Sooners’ coaching staff knows how difficult of a task it is in Waco.

Alex Grinch, speaking at OU’s weekly press conference on Tuesday: “Baylor, talk about a team that consistently throughout the season, the ability to run the football. It’ll be battle down there in Waco.”


The Bears have presented a balanced offensive attack this season with 230 yards rushing per game and 226 yards through the air. Quarterback Gerry Bohanon is leading the way for the Bears with 1,967 passing yards and15 touchdowns.

The Sooners hope to avoid all the chaos and disarray that seem to happen in Waco. With the deciding three-game stretch, the Sooner’s can’t afford to get in a tussling match with the Bears. Coming out of the bye week, Oklahoma looks to get over the “Waco Drama” and get a step closer to another Big 12 Championship.