Mayfield, Sooners steer away Longhorns
Oklahoma 45, Texas 40
DALLAS (AP) — Baker Mayfield first donned the giant gold cowboy hat — awarded to the winner of the Red River rivalry — then ran around the field with the Oklahoma Sooners flag.
The Oklahoma quarterback who grew up in the Austin area also made three long sprints down the field during the game. Those were to the end zone to celebrate touchdown passes to Dede Westbrook as the 20th-ranked Sooners held on to win 45-40 over the beleaguered Texas Longhorns on Saturday in the annual game Mayfield knows so much about.
“It’s special to me. Very special,” Mayfield said. “I’ve been waiting a long time to actually come away with a win against these guys.”
Westbrook set a single-game Sooners record with 232 yards receiving on 10 catches, including three TDs longer than 40 yards.
“He’s got track-type speed,” Mayfield said.
After their 71-yard scoring hookup in the second quarter, the longest TD pass ever by the Sooners (3-2, 2-0 Big 12) against Texas, Mayfield sprinted along the Oklahoma sideline, then toward the middle of the field to acknowledge crimson-clad fans on the opposite side of the stadium before going to the end zone to meet up with Westbrook. They celebrated again after TDs of 47 and 42 yards in the third quarter.
“You just look at the plays we gave up,” Charlie Strong said, the embattled third-year Texas coach who has taken over calling the defensive plays. “You can’t give up home runs thrown over your head.”
Mayfield lost to Texas as a freshman at Texas Tech in 2013 before transferring to Oklahoma, where he sat out a year before losing as the Sooners starter last October. This time, he completed 22 of 31 passes for 390 yards and overcame two interceptions in the first quarter, and a fumble in the final minute that his big right tackle Bobby Evans recovered.
Samaje Perine added 214 yards and two touchdowns rushing on 35 carries as Oklahoma piled up 672 total yards in the highest-scoring game in the history of the rivalry.
Texas (2-3, 0-2) led after two long TD passes by freshman quarterback Shane Buechele in the first 4 1/2 minutes after halftime. But Oklahoma went ahead for good when a Mayfield 4-yard TD run made it 28-27.
While Oklahoma had four turnovers, Texas only turned those into three points.
“Very fortunate to lose the turnover battle the way we did and still win,” Sooners coach Bob Stoops said.
• Oklahoma: While far from perfect, the Sooners are off to a good start in their pursuit of a 10th Big 12 title. The Sooners are also on the way to overcoming the disappointment of those two early non-conference losses that quickly eliminated any realistic chance of returning to the College Football Playoff for the second year in a row. Mayfield and Westbrook have developed quite a connection (five TDs, all of at least 40 yards, in two Big 12 games).
Texas: A loss increases the heat on Strong after the Longhorns gave up more than 40 points for the fourth time this season, and more than 500 yards for the third consecutive game. But the Longhorns need to keep taking shots down the field with Buechele, who had TD passes of 63 yards (to Devin Duvernay) and 45 yards (to Dorian Leonard ) in the second half.
After D’onta Foreman’s 22-yard TD run for the Longhorns with 1:45 left, they almost got a huge break when Mayfield fumbled while being sacked on third down, but Oklahoma recovered and punted. Texas had a final wild play, completing several laterals and going forward at least 20 yards before eventually losing 9 — after a final declined penalty for an illegal forward pass. Foreman finished with 159 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
A more lopsided score for Oklahoma probably would have caught the attention of more voters, especially those who might not have tuned into for the less than must-see Red River game matching 2-2 teams. If not for all the miscues, the Sooners likely would have had a bigger margin. They may jump a spot or two, but are still a long way from the No. 3 spot they had to start the season.
The Texas defense had its first two interceptions of the season, both by Dylan Haines in the first quarter. One was on a ball through the arms of receiver Mark Andrews; the other came when Haines was the only player in the vicinity of the pass after the intended receiver got knocked down in the middle of the field without a penalty being called.
• Oklahoma: The Sooners are home next Saturday for another 11 a.m. kickoff, against Kansas State.
• Texas: The Longhorns are home for the first time since Sept. 10 when they host Iowa State next Saturday.
If you are a Texas Longhorns fan and you are OK with losing like this, go ahead. Keep on keeping... read more