Baylor vs. Oklahoma Recap

Photo by Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

May we forever bask in the glory that is Baker Mayfield sacked by the Baylor defense. Any defensive stop or sack on Baylor’s end is wonderful, but there’s something poetic and justifying about the Oklahoma QB stopped and pinned to the ground. Call me petty or an angry fan, but it sure was amazing to see a defensive performance like DC Phil Snow’s bunch on Saturday night, especially after Mayfield’s taunts prior to the game (seen below).

Okay, bachi-loving Noelle is done, let’s get to the real action. I haven’t been inspired by a Baylor football game in quite some time so it was exciting to watch the team with flashes of talent from prior seasons in the shoes of younger players. Although the Bears lost to No. 3 Oklahoma 49-41, I don’t believe the better team won that night. A handful of Bears notched career-best records as they kept the score close all night. 

OU scored on their first two possessions via Mayfield daggers to wide open receivers and the Bears followed with a 42-yard punt return by WR Tony Nicholson who took it all the way to the OU 32. With Nicholson’s rush, QB Zach Smith had perfect field placement to connect with WR Denzel Mims on a 19-yard TD, cutting OU’s lead to seven points. While Baylor had the momentum on their side, OU gutted them with a RB Abdul Adams’ 99-yard rushing TD to finish the first quarter. Baylor cut the lead to 11 after Connor Martin aced a 32-yard FG at the start of the second quarter. Mayfield completed a pair of bullet passes to score another TD, but Baylor answered with a TD of their own with Mims’ second TD of the night on a 71-yard run (his career-long reception). LB Taylor Young sacked Mayfield twice before the end of the second quarter, which was obviously the highlight of my night. He also had four total tackles and two tackles for loss in the second quarter. Fellow LB Clay Johnston also had four total tackles and one tackle for loss. Neither team scored through the rest of the first half and went into the break at 28-17 OU. 

As the Bears received the ball to start the third quarter, Smith took advantage of their opportunity and nailed a pass to WR Chris Platt who ran it out for a 72-yard TD. On their second possession in the quarter, Smith completed a pair of passes to get the first downs before Martin kicked his first 40+-yard FG of the night (41 yards) to tie the game at 28-28. While OU marched down the field on their next possession and were in prime position to score, Mayfield’s pass to WR Marquise Brown was fumbled and recovered by the Bears on their own 31-yard line to instantly change the game’s momentum. Although they were unable to score seven points, they gave the ball back to Martin, where he kicked a career-long 46-yard FG to give the Bears a 3-point lead at 31-28. OU responded with a 48-yard TD, only leading Baylor by 4 points before the fourth quarter. Johnston added another pair of tackles to his stat sheet and Young had one more. S Taion Sells recorded five total tackles by the beginning of the fourth. 

The game looked to be getting away from the Bears as OU scored a 34-yard rushing TD on their first possession and a nine-yard TD on their second. The Bears were unable to answer in a big way, but settled for another FG by Martin, breaking up the score at 49-34 with a little over seven minutes left in the game. Baylor stopped OU on their next possession and Smith and co. powered through to add another TD to their chart following a 48-yard catch by Nicholson and 6-yard score by Mims, his third of the night. As they attempted to tie the game, P/K Drew Galitz kicked an onside kick, which Young recovered to the amazement of the Baylor crowd. Unfortunately, Smith couldn’t connect with any of his receivers and was ultimately sacked to end the game at 49-41. Smith was on fire all night, completing 33 of 55 attempts for a career-high 463 yards with four TDs. Mims and fellow receivers Pooh Stricklin and Nicholson also recorded career-bests with 11 catches for 192 yards and three TDs; six catches for 85 yards; and seven catches for 74 yards, respectively. Martin added a career-high 15 points to the scoreboard and hit his career-long FGs for 41 and 46 yards.

Although the Bears lost, their defensive and receiver performances were truly outstanding and with a little more time and practice, they will be an unstoppable force with which to be reckoned. Baylor faces Kansas State in Manhattan (hi coach Snyder I love you!) on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. (CT).