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Oklahoma Sooners Football: OU downs Baylor in OT to capture fifth straight Big 12 Championship, 30-23

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It was an instant classic for the Big 12 title, and in the end, the Crimson & Cream rose to the top.

NCAA Football: Big 12 Championship-Baylor vs Oklahoma Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 6 Oklahoma Sooners (12-1, 8-1) needed overtime to overcome the strong-willed Baylor Bears (11-2, 8-1), and with the wild 30-23 win, OU is officially back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back Big 12 Champions, baby!

Alex Grinch’s defense has been rounding into form over the last few weeks, and on Saturday in Arlington the group put forth perhaps its strongest performance of the 2019 season. The Sooners held Baylor to 265 total yards, including a mere 35 on the ground. Meanwhile, 159 of the Bears’ 230 passing yards came on two (extremely bad) coverage busts in the second half. BU was also only able to convert eight first downs, and were a lowly 3-of-15 on third down.

Oklahoma was off to a hot start in the first quarter. After both teams traded quick punts on the game’s opening possessions, Jalen Hurts connected with CeeDee Lamb near the sideline and the Biletnikoff Award finalist did the rest. 71 yards and several broken tackles later, the Sooners were in business.

RB Kennedy Brooks would go on to cap off the drive, giving the Sooners a 7-0 lead. Alex Grinch’s defense continued to dominate the line of scrimmage, making life a living nightmare for Baylor QB Charlie Brewer and the Bears offense.

LB Kenneth Murray was also a one-man wrecking crew on defense for Oklahoma. He led the charge on multiple occasions, making play after play in the Bears’ backfield.

OU’s early 10-0 lead slowly began to evaporate as the turnover bug reared its ugly head once again for Hurts. The first one happened when he was being pressured in the pocket. As the Sooner QB motioned back to release the ball, it was apparently knocked loose from his grip, causing him to push it forward and off of a player’s helmet. Baylor would recover the fumble and score a field goal off the change of possession.

The next Hurts giveaway came later in the second quarter. In a throw he most definitely wants back, he lobbed it directly into the hands of a Baylor defender, setting the Bears up for a game-tying touchdown.

BU would eventually take a 13-10 lead going into the half with all the momentum and the ball to start the third, but Oklahoma’s defense stepped up once again like it had routinely done for the majority of the afternoon.

Sandwiched between two more Gabe Brkic field goals, Hurts found Nick Basquine for an 18-yard TD. The sixth-year senior has been huge for the Sooners in his final year at Oklahoma.

Baylor QB Charlie Brewer was knocked out of the game mid-way through the second quarter, and after continued struggles from his backup, Matt Rhule went with third-stringer Jacob Zeno in the fourth. While the Sooners’ defense pinned its ears back down the stretch, Zeno was able to make complete two huge passes that propelled the Bears back into the contest, ultimately tying the game up at 23 with under four minutes remaining in regulation.

Jalen Hurts and CeeDee Lamb almost connected on a third-down play that would have put the Sooners in field goal range, but the ball just slipped past the junior WR’s arms and touched the turf. Lincoln Riley made a big decision to punt the ball back to Baylor with just over a minute left, and Reeves Mundschau came through by pinning the Bears deep on their own one yard line. BU ran the clock out from there and took this one to the extra period.

Baylor won the coin toss and, as expected, elected to play defense first. OU’s Rhamondre Stevenson was in for Kennedy Brooks who gingerly left the game earlier and absolutely stepped up in the clutch, striking first in OT.

It was only fitting that the Oklahoma defense would be the side of the ball to seal the deal after the stout performance it put up for most of the day. After back-to-back Baylor incompletions and a sack, the Bears’ Big 12 title hopes came down to this 4th and 20 play. As the story goes, the rest is history.

Oklahoma has now won five consecutive Big 12 titles, and 13 overall. After missing the first meeting in Waco, CeeDee Lamb caught eight passes for 173 yards and was named the game’s Most Outstanding Player.

Turnovers plauged Hurts again in the first half, but he managed to get the wheels back on track in the second half. For the game, he completed 17 of 24 passes for 287 passing yards and a touchdown, then he added 38 more yards on 23 carries.

Now the Sooners must wait to learn their College Football Playoff fate. If LSU beats Georgia in the SEC Championship game, it’s a given that OU will make the CFP for a third straight season and the fourth time overall. For now, it’s going to be nice celebrating this one on this day. Truly, it’s becoming a tradition unlike any other.

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