No, 19 Oklahoma’s offense is clicking on all cylinders, as evidenced by a record-setting performance in a 45-40 over Texas Saturday in the Cotton.
The loss virtually eliminated Texas from winning the Big 12 championship and helped ease the sting of a 1-2 nonconference record for the Sooners.
OU is undefeated in the Big 12 and will host Kansas State at 11 a.m. in Norman in a crucial home game. The Wildcats have won the last two game in Norman in 2014 and 2012. Last season, OU blasted Bill Snyder’s Wildcats 55-0 in Manhattan.
Kansas State (3-2) opened the season with a 26-13 loss at Stanford and was edged 16-17 by West Virginia in their Big 12 opener. K-State won a 44-38 shootout at home against Texas Tech Saturday for a 1-1 league record.
Against Texas, OU’s offense overcame mistakes and turnovers with a trio of magnificent performances by quarterback Baker Mayfield, running back Samaje Perine and receiver Dede Westbrook.
Mayfield set an OU record for passing yards against Texas with 390 (the previous high was 387 by Sam Bradford in 2008).
“It’s special to me,” Mayfield said of the rivalry with Texas. “I grew up in Austin so I know what this rivalry is all about. I’ve been waiting a long time to finally get a win against these guys. It felt good to go out and celebrate with the team.”
Mayfield completed 22 of his 31 passes and finished with three TDs.
“I thought Baker’s ability to pick up some third downs was huge, and our ability to run the football was big,” said OU coach Bob Stoops, who leads all Oklahoma coaches in victories over Texas. He is 11-7 against the Longhorns, while Barry Switzer (1973-88) went 9-5-2 and Bud Wilkinson (1947-63) went 9-8. Bennie Owen (1905-26) went 8-8 against the Longhorns.
Perine scored two TDs and 214 yards on a career-high 35 carries, tied for the second-most for an OU running back in the Stoops era (behind Adrian Peterson in 2004 vs. Kansas State).
“We just had to stay calm, we knew that it was going to be a dog fight coming into it because it always is, no matter their record or our record is,” said Perine. “We just have to come out, be motivated and be consistent. We had some unnecessary turnovers throughout the game, but we showed our resilience and we just did what we do best.”
“That’s the best I’ve seen him,” said OU offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley. “Either this or TCU last year, it’s the best I’ve seen him. He’s gotten better and better each week. It’s just amazing. A lot of guys with his history coming into this season and maybe with the way the season started out for him personally, how many guys would’ve pouted or would’ve said, ‘I deserve this or that’? That’s not him. He’s just continued to grind and work.”
Westbrook broke a school-record 232 yards receiving and caught three touchdown passes.
“Their coverage is pretty tough,” Westbrook said fo Texas. “With Samaje and how good he is and play action, it’s always going to help me get open.”
It was the first time in program history that the Sooners had a 200-yard receiver and a 200-yard rusher in the same game.
“Dede was huge,” said Riley. “He had some big ones. We thought we had some good matchups there. It’s been good the last two weeks to get him healthy. He’s a big part of what we’re doing.”
OU rolled up 672 total yards of offense, the second-most for the Sooners against Texas in the series (677 in 2012 is the record).
One bright spot for OU’s injury-riddled defense was the play of cornerback Jordan Thomas, who had a career-high four pass breakups in the first half against Texas.
“It was tough,” said Thomas. “I had a pretty good first half, and second half they just made the plays. They didn’t try anything tricky, nothing that was making me lose my eyes or my focus, but a guy just got in my blind spot and out ran me. On the second one, I got a piece of the ball and then he bumped it and came down into the end zone. There are no excuses for that except for when the ball is in the air. Our coach calls it the magic moment when the ball is in the air you’ve got to make a play. I lost those plays, but aside from that it was a great game to have a lot of film to just correct myself on.”
Linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo led the Sooners with a career-high 11 tackles and finished with a forced fumble, pass breakup and half a sack. Safety Will Sunderland got his first career interception in the third quarter at OU’s 7-yard line.
Texas coach Charlie Strong has lost two out of three games against Oklahoma and the Longhorns have a three-game losing streak. The loss to OU virtually eliminates any chance for a Big 12 title and Strong’s job is at stake.
“I feel like it’s unfair at times for Coach Strong to be criticized but we’re the ones out there playing,” said Texas running back D’Onta Foreman. “For four quarters, we didn’t make plays. If we make plays, it wouldn’t even matter. That’s the bottom line.”
Strong demoted his defensive coordinator last week and is calling the defensive signals himself.
“Well, we lost the game so there wasn’t any improvement at all – we gave up 45 points,” Strong said. “We gave up a big play right before half, and then we came out to start the third quarter and they scored on three straight drives. We knew they were going to run the ball, but we didn’t want to give up the big bombs that they did.”