Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield came back for his senior season because he wanted to win a national championship.
Mayfield and the Sooners took a big step toward that goal with a 62-52 Bedlam victory over Oklahoma State in Stillwater Saturday.
But the No. 5 Sooners have no room for error in order the reach the playoff. The next step is a key matchup with No. 8 TCU at 7 p.m. Saturday in Norman.
Both teams are 8-1 overall and 5-1 in the Big 12. Whoever wins that game will have the inside track to a spot in the Big 12 Championship game and will keep alive hopes for a playoff spot. The loser will undoubtedly be knocked out of playoff contention but could still play for the Big 12 title.
On Saturday, TCU rebounded from a loss to Iowa State (their only loss of the year) with a 24-7 win over in-state rival Texas.
TCU held Texas to a season-low 263 yards. TCU quarterback Kenny Hill threw for 146 yards and ran for 43 more as TCU beat Texas for the fourth straight year.
The game against OU will be a great offense versus a great defense. TCU has the No. 7 total defense in the country and the overall best run defense in America.
“This is a four-game season, so we are 1-0 right now,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said after the Texas win. “It’s a tough four games. We have to go to Norman, to Lubbock and then we have to beat Baylor in the last week. We have a lot of work to do. I’m excited about it, and I think our kids are excited about it.
“(Saturday), we’re going to have to move the football, and we’re going to have to get stops if we want to win. It will be interesting to see how it all turns out.”
TCU defensive end Matt Boesen said he enjoys playing away games.
“We like coming into hostile environments like that and just competing with them and giving them our all and getting after it,” said Boesen. “So I think as a team we like that, we like that pressure, we like being under pressure, being the underdog, and just coming after it.”
For the first time ever, three Oklahoma players won three of the weekly honors from the Big 12 Conference for the win over the Cowboys.
Mayfield was named the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week, sophomore wide receiver Marquise Brown was recognized as Big 12 Newcomer of the Week and junior kicker/punter Austin Seibert was named Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week.
Mayfield set school records for passing yards (598), passing yards in a half (387) and total offense (589) while accounting for six touchdowns (five passing). The former OU record for passing yards in a game was 554 (Pittsburgh Steeler Landry Jones in 2012).
“We did our job at a high level offensively, which we needed to,” Mayfield said. “We do the little things right and the big plays will come which is what you see in the guys like Marquise Brown and CeeDee (Lamb) with big conversions and Mark Andrews and Mykel Jones and Trey Sermon.”
Mayfield was 24-for-36 passing (66.7 percent) and averaged 16.6 yards per attempt and 24.9 yards per completion. His 598 yards were the most by an FBS player this season and second most over the past three seasons, while his 240.9 passing efficiency rating ranks as the second best in school history (minimum of 25 attempts).
Since at least 1996, no FBS quarterback has thrown for as many yards with as few pass attempts (36) or pass completions (24) as Baker Mayfield’s 598 Saturday. He also set an FBS single-game record with his 24.9 yards per completion (minimum 22 completions). The former record was 22.9.
“He was awesome,” OU coach Lincoln Riley said of Mayfield. “He played at an elite level and broke a school record for passing. What more could you say. The guy, he’s awesome.
“He doesn’t flinch. He’s made for atmospheres like this. This is his favorite thing in the world is to play in deals like this and I think it shows.”
Brown set a school record with 265 receiving yards with touchdown catches of 84 and 77 yards against the Cowboys. He shattered the former OU record of 232 receiving yards in a game, set last year by Biletnikoff Award winner Dede Westbrook.
Seibert made both of his field goal attempts and all eight of his extra-point tries, punted two times for a 47.5-yard average and booted 10 of his 11 kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks.
The Sooners had 785 yards of offense, tied for the fourth most in school history and their second most since 1988. The 114 combined points represent the most in Bedlam history.
Oklahoma improved to 87-18-7 all-time against Oklahoma State, including 40-7-5 in Stillwater.
It was the 112th matchup between the schools, tying OSU with Texas for the most games for OU against one opponent.
OU’s 87 wins against Oklahoma State are its most against one opponent and the second most in FBS history against one program.
Oklahoma has won its last three games in Stillwater by a combined margin of 146-99.
The Sooners have won 15 straight true road games, the longest active streak in the country and the second longest in program history.