NORMAN – In what was a weird game, likely affected by practice disruptions and missing players as a result of the COVD postponement last week, the Sooners beat Baylor last night, 27-14. The Sooner offense was sluggish, to say the least, but the defense was stifling most of the night.
Spencer Rattler was 20 of 28 for 193 yards, two TDs, and a pick. Theo Wease led all receivers with five catches for 66 yards and a score. Rhamondre Stevenson had five for 48, while Brayden Willis had three for 30 and a score. Drake Stoops had one catch for 13 yards, while Charleston Rambo had three for 13, and Jaden Haselwood and Theo Howard each had one for 12. Marvin Mims got rocked on a big hit early in the game and was ineffective, ending up with only one catch for a loss of a yard.
Stevenson led all rushers with 50 yards and a TD on 15 carries, while T.J. Pledger had 38 yards on six carries. Rattler had -12 yards on 10 carries due to sacks.
Baylor won the toss and deferred, and the Sooners took over to start the game on their own 25 after a touchback on the opening kickoff. A 13-yard pass to Stoops converted a third and eight, then Stevenson busted off a 21-yard run to put the ball at the Baylor 34. Passes for nine to Stevenson and 15 to Wease moved it to the 10. Stevenson took it to the three, but the drive stalled there. Gabe Brkic came on for a 20-yard field goal that made it 3-0 with 10:11 to play in the first quarter.
Baylor was able to move it to the OU 33 on their opening possession, but a 46-yard field goal attempt from John Mayers was woefully short, and the Bears went without points. OU went backwards on the ensuing possession, which became a trend for the rest of the first half. After a horrendous shank of a 12-yard punt, Baylor took over on the Sooner 35. The Sooner defense held strong, and a field goal attempt, this time from 47 yards, was again short. Predictably, that was the last field goal attempt on the night for Baylor, as they ended up going for it on fourth down eight times on the night.
After a pair of Sooner punts sandwiched around a Baylor punt, BU moved to the OU 29. Facing fourth and 11 from there and unwilling to try yet another 46-yard field goal, the Bears went for it. Charlie Brewer’s pass was picked off by Tre Norwood at the OU 17 and returned to the Baylor 49. Brewer pushed Norwood into the Baylor bench after he went out of bounds, but there was no flag, although there was almost a brawl as a result.
The Sooners could do nothing with the great field position, as they lost two yards on three plays before punting the Bears down to their own 14. The Sooner defense pushed them back from there, as a sack from Isaiah Thomas on third down put the ball at the Baylor eight. The Sooners took over on their own 45 after the punt.
It looked like OU would get out of their rut offensively at that point. Passes of 12 yards to Howard and 11 to Stevenson moved it to the Baylor 30. A pass interference penalty moved it to the 16, but two plays later, a pass for Stevenson that should have been caught deflected off his hands and was picked off at the Baylor two.
The Sooner defense again pushed Baylor backwards on the ensuing possession, forcing the Bears to punt from their own one-yard line. Mims returned the punt seven yards to the Baylor 31. Rattler then hit Rambo for eight yards, then Stevenson carried for one and four to make it first down at the Bear 18. A pass interference penalty in the end zone moved it to the three-yard line. Stevenson took it in from there, and the Sooners led 10-0 with 1:04 to play in the second quarter. That would be the halftime score.
Baylor took the opening kickoff of the second half and again went backwards, as a third down sack from Thomas and Ronnie Perkins pushed Baylor back 13 yards to their own 11. The Sooners took over on their own 48 after the punt.
Rattler hit Wease for 15 yards to the Baylor 27 on the first play of the possession. Three plays later, Rattler found Haselwood for 12 yards on third and four, and OU had first and goal at the BU nine. A holding penalty on the Sooners pushed them back to the 19, but Baylor committed a holding penalty on the next play to move it back to the nine. Rattler hit Wease for the TD from there, and it was 17-0 with 10:08 to play in the third quarter.
Baylor finally scored on their next possession, although it was a gift as a result of a Sooner penalty. The Bears had driven to the Sooner 30, converting a fourth and six along the way. Facing fourth and eight from the OU 30, Baylor gave up a sack that should have turned the ball over on downs. However, a Sooner was lined up offside, and the Bears took advantage of the second chance, as Brewer hit Tyquan Thornton for a 25-yard TD pass that made it 17-7 with 4:50 to play in the third quarter.
After the Sooners went three-and-out, Baylor moved to the OU 40. Facing fourth and 10 from there, Brewer was picked off by D.J. Graham to end the threat.
Brkic would add a 50-yard field goal on the ensuing possession that made it 20-7 with 13:30 to play in the game. Rattler’s eight-yard TD pass to Willis, on a throw that really should have been intercepted, made it 27-7 with 5:17 to play in the game. Baylor would add a TD with 59 seconds to play to forge the final score of 27-14.
The Sooners’ win, coupled with Iowa State’s shellacking of West Virginia and Oklahoma State’s loss to TCU, clinched a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game. They will meet Iowa State at 11 am on December 19 in JerryWorld for a chance at their sixth straight conference title.
In the meantime, there is one more game to play. The postponed November 28 game at West Virginia will take place next Saturday, December 12, at 11 a.m. See you in Morgantown.