Sooners deafen outside noise with win
NORMAN Drama? What drama?
For all the theatrics surrounding Oklahoma football in the past week, the Sooners deafened the outside noise and delivered another dominant performance in 59-31 thrashing of West Virginia (7-5, 5-4 Big 12) on Saturday afternoon.
With quarterback Baker Mayfield benched for the start of his Senior Day following his immature sideline antics a week ago in a blowout win at Kansas, uncertainty clouded the regular season finale.
Altered senior day plans ended up working out for the best as the No. 4 Sooners (11-1, 8-1 Big 12) continued to cement themselves as one of four teams to make the upcoming College Football Playoff while in pursuit of a national title.
"It's tough knowing I'm not going to play here anymore, but what gets me through it is that we have three more games," Mayfield said. "We have all of our goals right in front of us with the Big 12 title and we've got playoff and national championship aspirations."
On the very first play from scrimmage, Kyler Murray the Texas A&M transfer who earned the start for Mayfield dashed down the field for 66 yards on a read-option setting up the first of four rushing touchdowns from the ever-improving Rodney Anderson.
First drive without Mayfield? No problem.
"The first series went a little bit quicker than expected," OU coach Lincoln Riley laughed. "But I'm not complaining."
In what was somewhat expected, Mayfield entered the game on the second drive and he was more than ready to bring it.
While the first play went to Anderson on a read-option for 58 yards, it set up an 8-yard touchdown pass to CeeDee Lamb on a slant. No start, no problem for Mayfield as his first drive returning was the epitome of efficiency covering 75 yards in only four plays and 1:47 off the clock.
When he found tight end Mark Andrews in the back of the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown with 13 seconds left before half giving OU a 42-10 lead, Mayfield moved into sole position of sixth place in NCAA FBS history with 124 touchdown passes (he finished with 125) surpassing former OU star quarterback Landry Jones.
Mayfield also became the first player in FBS history with 14,000 career passing yards and 1,000 career rushing yards.
Both were minor milestones for Mayfield in what's likely still to come for the Heisman frontrunner.
"That's why his impact goes way beyond the numbers he puts up," Riley said.
For a young man who had made a childish mistake only a week ago and was breaking down in tears when apologizing for his actions while addressing the media this week, Mayfield shook it off and was splendid.
He even had his deep ball going as he hit Marquise 'Hollywood' Brown in stride on a deep post for 56 yards early in the game.