NORMAN, Okla. — “I think it’s a sense of complacency. We’ve let teams come back in games and given them hope,” Oklahoma University quarterback Baker Mayfield said during a press conference following the Sooners’ 38-31 upset by Iowa State University Saturday at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. “When you have a chance to bury a team, you have to take care of it. The great teams take care of their business.”
THE STAKES WERE HIGH
Coming into Saturday’s game, the Sooners were undefeated, a serious contender for a national title and riding a 14-game winning streak. OU was ranked No. 3 in the Associated Press Top 25 Coaching Poll and Mayfield, a former Lake Travis Cavalier, was a former Heisman Trophy candidate.
Although his numbers were strong – Mayfield passed for 306 yards, two touchdowns, and rushed for another score – the Sooners could not hold the early momentum and their defense failed to stem the second half Cyclone tide. ISU scored 21 unanswered points to get back into contention and was able to close the show.
HARD LOSS TO OVERCOME
The loss is a devastating one to OU and places their national title hopes in jeopardy. The Sooners dropped nine spots to No. 12 in Monday’s AP Coaching Poll.
Mayfield, who has been the OU starting quarterback since 2015, is not new to this scenario and believes he’s got the experience to lead his team through this difficult time.
“In 2015, [OU] got stomped by [the University of] Texas and we rebounded well, won every game after that until the playoffs,” he said. “Last year, we started off terrible and took care of business after that. We’re much better than we showed today. It’s embarrassing that we let [the Cyclones] come in here and win.”
THE SHADOW OF THE FLAG-PLANTING INCIDENT
A few weeks removed from one of the biggest wins of his colligate carrier — the Sooners dominated the Ohio State University Buckeyes on their home turf — the specter of Mayfield planting the Sooners’ flag in the center of the Buckeyes’ home field came up. Not surprisingly, the Cyclones decided to return the favor by embedding their school flag at the center of OU’s home field. “Expected,” Mayfield said of the action by ISU.
“I’m sure I’ll get comments that Iowa State is my dad, or something like that,” he continued. “I’m not worried about what they’re doing. We’ve got to go back to work.”
CHANCE FOR REDEMPTION
Mayfield and the Sooners will look to shake this setback off as they ready for the University of Texas on Saturday at Dallas’ Cotton Bowl.
The Longhorns, too, are off to a less advantageous start than expected, given the presence of heralded sideline “genius” Tom Herman. Despite being pushed to overtime by Kansas State last weekend and sporting a 3-2 overall record, they are undefeated in two Big 12 Conference games — just like AP No. 6 Texas Christian University.
They also nearly upended nationally ranked USC in overtime, too.
A win against Texas could serve a dual purpose for Oklahoma: restore a modicum of confidence in Austin and potentially move into a two- or three-team deadlock for second in the conference.
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