The eyes of the college football world were on Oklahoma and Ohio State on Saturday night. And Lincoln Riley’s Sooners’ squad went into Columbus and put the Buckeyes on blast.
The young head coach, 2 games into his career, just 4 days after his 34th birthday, took his team into the Horseshoe and absolutely HAMMERED a legend. The Sooners walked in more than a touchdown underdog. They walked out after quarterback Baker Mayfield planted the OU flag at midfield and threw an impromptu dance party — a 31-16 winner after a monster second half where Mayfield absolutely sliced and diced the vaunted Buckeyes defense, completing 27 of 35 for 386 yards with three touchdown passes in an absolute demolition.
If you’re looking for a statement win, Lincoln Riley delivered it. If you’re looking for a Heisman frontrunner, Baker Mayfield is your man. Because any concerns you had about a 34-year-old kid with no head coaching experience taking over for Bob Stoops were answered when he turned Urb inside out. And any questions left about Mayfield, already a two-time Top 5 vote-getter in the Heisman race, if he’s a system quarterback or unable to win a big game — well they just got harpooned at midfield in the Block O.
Because the only thing more shocking than the 31-16 score was what Mayfield said after the game: “We should have won by a lot more.”
And he’s right. Because the only thing stopping Oklahoma in the first half was Oklahoma. Two fumbles. A missed field goal. Nearly 250 yards of offense but only 3 points to show for it. And while Urb’s offense couldn’t get rolling, Riley’s did. And a coach who USED TO BE on the cutting edge of the spread offense, spent the second half watching what the young kid had cooking. And while Urb and that revolving door of offensive coordinators keeps making J.T. Barrett go backwards, the combination of Oklahoma Coach and Quarterback was all but unstoppable.
After years of getting exposed in these matchups, it was the Sooners that took the pants off of Ohio State. And like Mayfield said: It could’ve been worse. And after Ohio State scored to take a 10-3 lead to start the second half, it was all SOONERS, a four-touchdown second half the exclamation point on a week that, if you listen to Mayfield, was fueled by a whole lot of haters.
There is SO much to like about this Oklahoma team. That offense — that can scare and score on anybody, Alabama included. A defense that kept Ohio State in check. And a young head coach who just aced the first big test of his coaching career. Walking into Urban Meyer’s house and thumping the No.2 team in the nation. And as much as responding to adversity is a testament to what makes a good coach, so is responding to success. And how can you not like how Riley said after the biggest night of his professional career, “We’ll be disappointed if this is the highlight of our season. We’ve still got a long ways to go.”
Perfect statement. “We’ll be disappointed if this is the highlight of our season. We’ve still got a long ways to go.” But with this head coach and this quarterback, they sure as hell look the part. And I know we’re only 2 weeks into this, but I’m almost ready to pencil the Sooners name into that 4-team playoff bracket. And it’s because of a 34-year-old rookie head coach and his absolute bad-ass of a quarterback. Both guys went LEGEND Saturday night.