WACO- Baylor (0-4,0-1) was able to give No. 3 Oklahoma (4-0,1-0) a run for their money but it would be the folks from Norman that validated the price of their tickets as Oklahoma gassed out Baylor in the second half to leave McLane Stadium with the 49-41 victory.
Baylor’s efforts at the upset bid came up just short following an onside kick recovery that placed Baylor at their 48 down 48-41 with 1:40 left to play.
“Obviously, I’m extremely disappointed for our kids that we lost that football game but what a great football game it was,” said Baylor head coach Matt Rhule, “A lot of credit to OU. I thought that they made a tremendous amount of plays…as all great teams do, they made the final plays down the stretch and found a way to win the football game.”
Looking to build upon an already career night, quarterback Zach Smith found himself in the clutches of Oklahoma hybrid defensive end/linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo on third and ten as he came up with the sack that forced a fumble and helped Oklahoma close the game out for their first conference victory.
About midway through the first quarter, Oklahoma quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate Baker Mayfield was playing at an exceptional level as he had already tossed two touchdown passes to put the Oklahoma Sooners up 14-0 at the 7:55 mark. Tight end Mark Andrews and fullback Dimitri Flowers were on the receiving end of the scoring passes that helped the Sooners build a two touchdown lead.
Oklahoma finished with 634 total yard with 283 of them coming through the air and 351 yards on the ground. Running back Trey Sermon ran for 150 yards and two touchdowns while Abdul Adams ran for 164 yards including a 99-yard touchdown run in the first quarter that put Oklahoma up 21-7 with 5 seconds left to play in the first.
Mayfield finished with 283 passing yards and three touchdowns with his third touchdown pass providing the lead late in the third quarter for the Sooners. The efforts of the running game proved to be the difference as the tandem of Abdul Adams and Trey Sermon provided a 1-2 punch to the Baylor defense that eventually wore them down late.
Baylor kicker Connor Martin would redeem himself following his first missed field goal attempt in the first quarter when Baylor was down 14-0 as he connected on a 32-yard field goal attempt to cut it to a 21-10 deficit in the early stages of the second quarter.
Baylor’s offense was able to rise up to the occasion off the production of their receivers and Zach Smith finished a career night: 33-for-50 for 463 yards and four touchdowns. Smith’s favorite target on the night, Denzel Mims, hauled in 11 receptions for 192 yards and three touchdowns with his biggest score of the night coming off his 6-yard touchdown reception in the back of the end zone to put the score at 49-41 with 1:41 left to play.
Heading into the half, Oklahoma was up 28-17 after Oklahoma responded to Zach Smith’s 71-yard touchdown pass to Denzel Mims with 5-play, 78-yard scoring drive after Baker Mayfield completed a 47-yard pass thanks to a CeeDee Lamb circus catch. Three plays later, fullback Dimitri Flowers lined up for the snap in a Wildcat formation and bounced off a few tackles for the three yard score.
The Baylor defense was instrumental in the third quarter and followed the lead of linebacker Taylor Young who finished with six total tackles and two sacks. The Baylor defense neutralized the Sooner offense and Baylor was able to rattle off 21 unanswered points after being down 28-10.
The boot of Connor Martin provided Baylor their first lead of the night late in the third quarter as a 41-yard and 46-yard field goal following a 72-yard touchdown reception from Chris Platt put Baylor out in front with a 31-28 lead. Baylor’s third quarter surge and ability to score on three consecutive drives had Waco on the edge of their seats as momentum and energy was all in favor of those in the green and gold.
Baker Mayfield immediately responded to Baylor’s lead changing scoring drive as he found Jeff Badet on a wheel route from 48-yards out to put the lead back in OU’s hands with a 35-31 score. That score would then help Sooners grind it out to hold on for the rest of the night.
“I’m proud for our team but that doesn’t mean I’m not angry about the game and I want to make it very clear, we didn’t play above our capabilities. We have not played to our capabilities yet and we are going to continue to get better,” said Rhule.
“This team is just a great group of kids and so that’s why I’m disappointed. I really want to win a game for them but from adversity comes truth and we’ll learn a little bit more about ourselves and our team and well come back next week and we’ll get better. I just want them to keep believing in the process.”
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