Oklahoma’s quest for a Big 12 title is barreling ahead. So is Baker Mayfield’s Heisman campaign.
But Saturday night’s opponent could get in the way down the line even if it didn’t post much of a threat in Norman.
The No. 5 Sooners took down No. 6 TCU 38-20 thanks to a first-half barrage powered by Mayfield and running back Rodney Anderson. The sophomore back had four touchdowns in the first 30 minutes. Two were on the ground and two came from Mayfield passes.
Anderson’s fourth touchdown of the first half came after TCU made the defensible — at the time — decision to punt on 4th and 8 from the Oklahoma 44 with 1:30 left in the second quarter. After all, if the Horned Frogs failed to convert the fourth down, Mayfield and the Sooners would have plenty of time near midfield to score and take a 38-14 halftime lead.
Oklahoma, 9-1, still did it anyway. The Sooners covered 87 yards in a nice 69 seconds as Mayfield hit Anderson on a 33-yard touchdown pass. The play was set up two plays earlier in a 50-yard pass from Mayfield to Marquise Brown after Mayfield bought some time in the pocket and led Brown to a wide open spot on the field.
Mayfield finished the game 18-27 passing for 333 yards and three touchdowns. He entered Saturday as the Heisman favorite and there’s absolutely no reason he’s not leaving the day as the favorite either. The QB now has 3,559 passing yards through 10 games and has thrown 31 touchdowns to just five interceptions. And he’s done all that while throwing just 299 passes.
Anderson had 151 rushing yards and 139 receiving yards vs. the Horned Frogs.
The loss puts Oklahoma all alone at the top of the Big 12 standings with a 6-1 conference record and drops TCU (8-2 overall) to second at 5-2. But thanks to the conference’s reincarnated title game, TCU may get another shot to beat Oklahoma.
The Horned Frogs hold the head-to-head tiebreaker on Oklahoma State, who beat Iowa State earlier Saturday. If Oklahoma beats Kansas next week or West Virginia on Nov. 25, it’s in the Big 12 title game. If TCU beats Texas Tech and Baylor, it’ll meet the Sooners in Dallas on Dec. 2.
Will that game be any different? Perhaps. TCU defensive end Mat Boesen got ejected in the first half due to an apparent kick and it’s possible to envision the Horned Frogs having a better offensive night against an Oklahoma defense that’s been vulnerable at times in 2017.
And this is the Big 12, after all. It would be very appropriate if a title game instituted to help the conference’s playoff chances ruined them altogether.
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