Hey folks, welcome back to another installment in our 2020 Countdown to Kickoff series. With 79 days remaining until the Oklahoma Sooners return to Owen Field, I want to highlight one of the more spectacular plays in recent memory — Joe Mixon’s 79-yard touchdown run in Bedlam to effectively claim OU’s 10th Big 12 title.
The year was 2016, and at the time no one expected this to be the final season at Oklahoma for Bob Stoops. A rough 1-2 start derailed the Sooners’ hopes at returning to the College Football Playoff, but fast-forward to December and OU was facing its first undefeated conference run since 2004 as well as a chance to win a Big 12 title. All that stood in the way were the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
In fact, OSU also had an opportunity to win the Big 12 by defeating Oklahoma, so even without a conference championship game, this contest effectively served as the de-facto title game. No Oklahoman would have it any other way, and fortunately for the Sooners, this game took place in Norman.
Baker Mayfield and Dede Westbrook wound up as Heisman Trophy finalists for the stellar season they produced, but after the eventual Biletnikoff Award winner was knocked out of the game in the first half, the Sooners’ other stars needed to step up. Insert dynamic RB Joe Mixon.
Mixon’s propensity to make electrifying plays look routine is still something to be marveled today. Give him an inch, and he’d take it the distance. A perfect example of this happened in the fourth quarter of this matchup. Immediately after the Oklahoma State kicker missed a 38-yard field goal attempt, Lincoln Riley drew the next play up for Mixon — and boy did he respond.
The play almost seemed like it happened in slow-motion, and no matter how many Cowboys closed in on him, he found a way to keep going. It was as if he knew he had to make it to the end zone on that exact play, and nothing was going to stop him until he did.
OU went on to defeat its in-state rival, claim the conference crown and head to the Sugar Bowl. Joe Mixon was named a First Team All-Big 12 back before finishing his college career with 2,027 rushing yards, 894 receiving yards and 27 total touchdowns. The following April, he was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals with the 48th overall pick in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Since he’s been in Cincy, Mixon has steadily risen as one of the more promising young skill players across the league. In three seasons as a pro he’s amassed 2,931 rushing yards, 870 receiving yards and 21 total TDs. Perhaps what’s most exciting for Sooner fans is that going into the 2020 season, joining him in the backfield are a couple of his former OU running mates — RBs Rodney Anderson and Samaje Perine.
Follow Crimson & Cream Machine on Twitter!