STILLWATER, OK – In a season full of weirdness, it was only fitting that the weirdest game yet happened in Stillwater. In a shootout reminiscent of last year’s Tech debacle, the Sooners outlasted OSU 62-52, in a game that was just as strange as that score indicated.
OSU QB Mason Rudolph had an outstanding game by any measure, and was nothing but an afterthought to the juggernaut that was Baker Mayfield. Mayfield set a school single-game record with 598 yards passing on 24 of 36 completions, with five TDs and two picks, one of which looked like it might cost the game in the final minutes. Marquise Brown also set a school single-game record with 9 catches for 265 yards and 2 TDs. Rodney Anderson once again led the Sooners with 111 yards rushing on 21 carries.
In a game featuring so much defensive ineptitude, it was only natural that the Sooners ultimately won the game . . . with their defense, of all things. After getting torched for 38 points in a first half that went to the locker rooms tied, Mike Stoops’ beleaguered troops held OSU to only 14 points in the second half and secured a critical interception to blunt a scoring chance.
What appeared to be a game-clinching interception in the final minutes was overturned on replay by a targeting call, but all the Sooner defense did then was go out and hold OSU on the next four plays to get the ball back on downs. Trey Sermon cinched the game from there, with a 53-yard TD run with 42 seconds left to forge the final score. Unlike Samaje Perine, Sermon had no intention of taking a knee on Aggy, although he probably should have, both for practical and symbolic reasons.
Another oddity of this game was the fact that the Sooners, although it felt like they were behind much of the game, actually led almost the entire way. They were down 3-0 and 10-7 for a couple of minutes each in the first quarter. After that, they led or were tied the rest of the way, including leading the entirety of the remainder of the game after kicking a field goal with 4:47 to play in the third quarter. The only problem was that they could never build a lead larger than 11 points all night, which resulted in a game that annoyed until the very end.
But, once they’re over, games like this are quite satisfying, if only because little brother hurts so much more when they can see it in the palms of their hands and we snatch victory away like always. Nobody in the stadium, including this reporter, would have predicted that the Sooners would win after Mayfield’s pick in the OSU end zone with 2:59 to play. Nobody. Any rational person thought that they would march down the field and score a touchdown to go ahead 59-55. The only variable was whether they would leave enough time for Mayfield to get it back. But it didn’t happen that way.
Frankly, we have neither the time nor the energy to craft our usual lengthy recap, so this will have to suffice. The Sooners now sit in the driver’s seat in the Big 12, tied for first with TCU with the Frogs coming to Norman Saturday night in a primetime matchup. History says this will be a dogfight, and history is probably right. Win Saturday, and OU is pretty much guaranteed a berth in the renewed Big 12 Championship Game, with only a roadie at lowly Kansas and a home finale against West Virginia Thanksgiving weekend.
The only question then will be who we will rematch with. Odds are good it would be TCU, only a few miles from their campus. Joy.
See you Saturday night in Norman for some Frog hunting.