So . . . Saturday evening was weird. And no, I’m not just talking about the lack of defense or the crazy swings in momentum, but I’ll get to all of that because that was definitely weird too. What I’m referring to are the series of developments preceding the game that culminated into an unexpected shootout with those winless Baylor Bears. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cringe, and the ball-game had me feeling no different.
The word on Baker Mayfield seems to finally be spreading across the country. Look, the guy can trash talk with the best of ‘em. Of course this isn’t news to you, Sooner fans, but you’ll have to forgive the rest of the college football world for their inability to keep up. And Mayfield doesn’t just talk trash; he backs it up. Check out what happened during the pregame warm-ups between Mayfield and some Baylor players if you haven’t already:
Teams getting acquainted with one another. pic.twitter.com/1HzdyAQfGz— Eddie Radosevich (@Eddie_Rado) September 23, 2017
Yeah, you heard him right. And by all accounts this Oklahoma team should spank this Baylor team 10 out of 10 times. The Bears came into this season with an entirely new coaching staff, lost practically an entire recruiting class from the year before, and took the ‘L’ in each of their non-conference games. Mayfield’s Sooners are juggernauts, and he owns the Big 12 (not to mention Ohio Stadium). Things only became stranger, and perhaps more ominous, as the evening day went on:
Heh, well then. If the only website you visit on a daily basis is Crimson & Cream Machine, then you may be asking yourself, “Who is this Mia lady?” Well, I’ll put it this way, Ms. Khalifa is widely recognized for her work as an actress (of sorts) in a particular film industry. Mayfield told the Bears who daddy was, and Mia Khalifa apparently holds similar sentiments.
Even after the game, the Daddy-calling-wackiness wasn’t over and done with. Folks, this play went well beyond the whistle. Eventually, Baker responded to another of Mia’s tweets:
Nah. I got my girl, I'm pretty lucky to have somebody like her in my life too.— Baker Mayfield (@baker_mayfield6) September 24, 2017
We’ve always known Baker is a sharp guy on the field, but now we know he’s wise, too. Men everywhere, take notes. Whether she’s the girl next door or a “star,” if you’re already taken, be clear in your disinterest and decisive in your action:
Now I can’t leave anybody hanging whenever they say ‘Boomer,’ so on behalf of single Sooner men (and women) everywhere, I say “Sooner” to you, Mia Khalifa. Sooner, indeed.
As for the game itself, that was quite a wild ride. For most Oklahoma fans it was both frustrating and exciting — but mostly frustrating. When you go into a game expecting your team to utterly trounce the opposition, a result like this tends to breed anxiety and confusion. So what exactly happened?
Well, after going up 14-0 just 7 minutes into the game, I was fully expecting UTEP 2.0. A game where practically every single thing went right and everybody but the cheerleaders saw the field. Then, OU’s defense simply couldn’t get off that field. So how bad was it?
Baylor finished 9-21 on third down. First of all, to have 21 third down opportunities already means you’re staying on the field for a long, long time. The Bears were also 2-2 on 4th down, which basically cancels out two of those failed third-down conversions. All that said, the biggest issue for OU’s defense wasn’t the inability to get off the field, it was giving up the big play.
In a game where Oklahoma had nine different 20+ yard plays (including the longest rush in Sooner history), Baylor frustratingly had five plays go for 20+ yards, including two over 70! At one point, Baylor scored 21 straight points, then Oklahoma followed that up with 21 straight points of their own.
To make things even weirder, Baker would be flagged for a personal foul for jawing at Baylor players following a first down. After marching backwards 15 yards, Baker answered with a TD pass on the very next play to give OU the lead.
Props are in order for that play call, by the way! A wheel route for a motioning receiver — very slick and very well executed. Anyway, Baker wasn’t done there. Following the TD, OU’s quarterback decided to mess with the crowd a little bit.
Momentum shifted back and forth in waves. So how did OU regain control of the game? I’ll tell you what, it was reminiscent of the 2014 game at West Virginia. True freshman RB Trey Sermon stepped up and played the role of a young Samaje Perine. Three seasons ago, when Perine was also a true freshman and in his first Big 12 road game, Oklahoma fed the beast in the 4th quarter 12 times for 84 yards and a touchdown. This time around, while also donning the Rough Rider uniform, Sermon toted the rock 12 times for 148 yards and two monster touchdowns. Oklahoma finished the game with 342 rushing yards, and effectively seized back momentum, right?
Wrong. Baylor began torching the defense again. After scoring on a nearly-controversial 4th down, the Bears set up for an on-side kick. Long story short, the Bears recovered the ball, but after review it appeared they may have violated a blocking rule. Dramatically, the review went Baylor’s way and the Bears had one last chance.
Cue Ogbonnia Okoronkwo with the strip sack and Caleb Kelly with the fumble recovery to seal the deal.
The defense finally got the stop they were looking for all night, but all I could do was shake my head in disbelief as the Sooners escaped what would have gone down as one of the bigger upsets in recent college football history.
BONUS WEIRDNESS: Carmelo Anthony was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder hours prior to OU’s game. WHAT IS GOING ON?!?!
All in all, it was certainly a strange evening for the Oklahoma Sooners — there’s no denying that. I know the players and the coaches all welcome this bye week. Fans, you too should use this time to compose your thoughts and catch your breath. We’re only four games in. Expect the unexpected.
Follow Crimson & Cream Machine on Twitter!