The two top teams in the AP’s history met tonight in Norman. The game hyped as a battle of giants ended in a disheartening 45-24 score. Here’s how it happened.
Ohio State won the initial coin toss and deferred to Oklahoma. The Sooners executed an efficient drive, moving down the field with an ease that seemed to signal good things for the game ahead. However, after an injury to Cody Ford, the Sooners’ momentum stalled, and OU lined up for a field goal that Austin Siebert would clank off the uprights for no points.
On Ohio State’s first drive, the Sooners held Ohio State to a quick punt, but the 68-yard punt (downed at the Oklahoma 11-yard-line) shifted the momentum of the game. Oklahoma would run three plays that—including a false start penalty—netted a total of -5 yards and kick a punt that would be downed at Oklahoma’s 45-yard-line. From there, the route was on.
On fourth down from Oklahoma’s 36-yard-line, the Buckeyes would decide to run the ball, and a confused Sooners’ defense allowed Curtis Samuel to find his way into the end zone for a Buckeye touchdown. On the following drive, the Sooners began to move the ball down the field, but as OU tried to match Ohio State’s gall by going for it on fourth down, Baker Mayfield’s pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage, then caught by Jerome Baker of Ohio State and returned 68 yards for a defensive touchdown that put OU down 14-0.
The first real bright spot for Oklahoma came on the kickoff following the interception, as Joe Mixon made his way 97 yards for an OU touchdown. Sooners fans collectively sighed in relief as they watched a replay that showed Mixon obviously dropped the ball before he scored, but such is sports. 14-7.
Ohio State scored a touchdown on a pass from J.T. Barrett to Noah Brown (more on him to come) on the next drive, and the Sooners would respond with a field goal. After forcing a punt and preparing their comeback, Mayfield threw his second interception, and the Buckeyes responded on the next play from scrimmage by tossing another touchdown to Brown (more on him still to come). Oklahoma responded by a touchdown pass from Mayfield to A.D. Miller to breathe hope into the Sooners’ season, but Noah Brown would catch a touchdown of his own on the next drive to hold OU at bay at the half, 35-17.
The Buckeyes followed a four minute drive at the end of the first half with a four minute drive to start the second half, culminating in another touchdown reception by Brown, who is finally finished with his presence in this recap, to put Ohio State up 42-17. After trading punts on the next two drives, the Sooners put together an 11-play drive to wind up with a touchdown pass from Mayfield to Mark Andrews that would give the Sooners another brief moment of hope as OU brought the score back to 42-24. Unfortunately, the hope would only die out from there.
Oklahoma would finish with drives that ended twice on failed fourth-down conversions and once with a punt, and the Sooners would surrender a field goal from Ohio State to take the score to 45-24.
Mayfield would end up out-throwing Barrett by 74 yards, but he also tossed two less touchdowns and gifted two more interceptions than Barrett did. Mixon and Samaje Perine combined to rush for 138 yards, but the Sooner defense was overwhelmed by the Ohio State ground game, which gained 291 yards on 48 carries. Brown’s four touchdown receptions exposed huge flaws in Oklahoma’s defense, as three of those touchdowns came against corners playing opposite Jordan Thomas—Parish Cobb and Michiah Quick. The fourth of Brown’s touchdowns was surrendered by Thomas himself, as Oklahoma failed to make any consistent plays in the red zone.
The days to come will feature the hottest of takes regarding Oklahoma’s play against Ohio State, but no one should expect any of these takes to offer any hope for Oklahoma this season. While a Big 12 Championship is technically up for grabs, the Sooners were exposed on several fronts today, and suffered some injuries to key players that could be a problem down the road. After today, hope for OU’s season is both limited and bleak, but OU should be thankful that they won’t face a foe like Ohio State again this season. They will turn their attention to TCU following their upcoming bye week.