For the past few years, Oklahoma’s late-season runs have been sights to behold. With a convincing win over the West Virginia Mountaineers to wrap up the regular season, the Crimson & Cream is now preparing for a third straight Big 12 title after a third straight undefeated November.
Out of 130 FBS teams, Oklahoma is the only program that is able to boast such a prolific run down the homestretch. Going 11-0 in the past three Novembers is quite the remarkable feat considering the nature of today’s parity-filled college football landscape. Of course there are a multitude of factors that go into a run like this, but I’m here to explain why the combination of Lincoln Riley and Baker Mayfield deserves much of the credit.
From 2009-2014, the Oklahoma Sooners only went unbeaten in the month of November once. Play calling was largely questionable in critical moments, and quarterback development began trending downwards over the duration of that span. Insert the dynamic Riley-Mayfield duo. Since 2015, the mixture of Baker’s elite quarterbacking and Lincoln’s exceptional scheming and play-calling has produced a tandem that has made it nearly impossible for the competition to keep up with the high-powered Sooners.
But just how dominant has OU been during the past three Novembers? For starters, Oklahoma is averaging an outrageous 47.2 points per game while only allowing 25.8 PPG in those contests. A three-touchdown average win margin over an 11-game sample is about as dominant as it gets. It’s even more impressive to know that six of those wins came against ranked teams. Moreover, six of those games were also on the road.
One of those road games in particular stands as one of the more memorable matchups during the Sooners’ unscathed November run. In 2015, Oklahoma traveled to Waco to take on the then-undefeated and No. 6 Baylor Bears. Going into the contest, the Bears were the best team in the Big 12 two years running. However, with a little Mayfield magic, their reign would come to an emphatic end:
It’s a play that embodies Mayfield’s style and capability all at once. On that stage, in that environment, Mayfield would not be denied. In a career that’s overflowing with highlights, this play will go down as one of number 6’s most extraordinary moments.
From the early part of the streak to a more recent moment, Lincoln Riley’s offense dialed up big play after big play in an epic Bedlam showdown between two of the nation’s most explosive offenses.
When Oklahoma needed an answer, Lincoln Riley’s offense delivered. The 62 points put up were also the most the Sooners have scored in a game during the month of November since 2009. Even as the games and venues become greater, the Sooners continue to elevate their level of play. It cannot be overstated how effective the combo of Riley and Mayfield has been.
Now is the time to complete the Championship November mission. Oklahoma passed the first part with flying colors by not only getting through the month of November without a loss, but also by improving each week. The next step is to finish the job and take care of business in the conference championship game. If the Sooners perform to their capabilities this Saturday, they will have a much greater championship opportunity awaiting them come the New Year.
A bonus Championship December GIF!
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