Oklahoma Football: Sooners Bury Baylor, Stay Unbeaten in Big 12

Baylor came to Oklahoma with all kinds of on- and off-the-field issues, and on Saturday their troubles got a whole lot worse. Oklahoma football continued its winning ways with a 45-24 win before a packed house at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.

Nov 12, 2016; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners running back Joe Mixon (25) jumps over Baylor Bears cornerback Ryan Reid (9) during the second half at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The ninth-ranked Sooners took charge of this game early, jumping out to a 14-0 advantage after one quarter and expanding the lead to 21-0 very early in the second. To the credit of Baylor and head coach Jim Grobe, the Bears, who were run out of their own stadium in a crushing, blowout loss to TCU a week ago, fought back with 10 unanswered points in the second quarter, which put them right back in the game, down by just 11, 21-10, at the half.

Despite being down by 11 at the intermission, Baylor actually outgained Oklahoma 269 to 260 in total first-half yardage, 170 of that on the ground and 99 more through the air.

In actuality, Baylor’s 21-10 halftime deficit could easily have been a 28-21 Baylor lead. An interception at the Oklahoma goal line by Sooner senior linebacker Jordan Evans prevented one Baylor score, and a fumble by Baylor quarterback Seth Russell on a drive deep into OU territory right before the half prevented another potential Baylor score.

Oklahoma scored on its first possession of the second half on a 40-yard touchdown pass from Baker Mayfield to – who else? – Dede Westbrook, and the Sooners quickly added seven more after Russell was picked off a second time by OU’s Evans deep in Baylor territory. Evans took it down to the Baylor one-yard line, and Samaje Perine ran it in from there to put the Sooners up 35-10 early in the third quarter.

Nov 12, 2016; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) celebrates with running back Samaje Perine (32) after running for a touchdown during the first quarter against the Baylor Bears at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Early in the opening quarter, Baylor’s leading rusher on the season, Terrence Williams, limped off the field and went to the locker room on crutches. He would later return to the game in the second half, but only for limited duty.

The bigger problem for the Bears came midway through the third quarter, when Russell was injured after a short run, suffering what was reported to be a fractured ankle.

This is the second time in as many seasons that the Baylor starting quarterback has missed the end of the season because of an injury. He sustained a season-ending neck injury last season halfway through the schedule.

Russell was replaced by freshman Zach Smith, who led the Bears to two more touchdowns in a quarter and a half of play. Smith completed 6 of 15 passes for 144 yards, only four yards fewer than starter Russell, who threw for 148 yards and a couple of touchdowns, completing 15 of 31 against the OU defense.

The Sooners completed the day’s scoring with a 22-yard field goal by Austin Seibert, capping a 71-yard Oklahoma drive midway through the final quarter and making the score 45-24.

Mayfield’s day’s work consisted of 20 of 25 passing for 300 yards and two touchdowns, both the Westbrook, who had just four catches in the game for 88 yards.

Perine, back from a three-week absence with a hamstring pull, and Mixon, who was back in the lineup after serving a one-game suspension, both ran for over 100 yards: Mixon with 124 yards and a touchdown and Perine with 100 and two scoring runs.

Despite the 21-point margin in the final score, Baylor was able to advance the ball against the Sooner defense.  The Bears produced 504 yards of total offense, 292 of that total coming through the air. The Sooners accumulated 566 total yards, with a fairly even split between the run and passing games.

The win gives Oklahoma a 7-0 record in the Big 12 with a huge game next weekend at 6-1 West Virginia, who defeated Texas 24-20 on Saturday. The Sooners have now won 15 consecutive games against Big 12 opponents.

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