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Joe Mixon stars as No. 7 OU overpowers No. 14 Auburn in Sugar Bowl

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Oklahoma’s stars shined as the seventh-ranked Sooners pulled away from an overmatched No. 14 Auburn, cruising to a 35-19 Sugar Bowl victory on Monday night.

The Sooners were led by Joe Mixon, the center of attention both on and off the field throughout the night. Trailing 7-0 early in the second quarter and facing a 3rd-and-22 (one play after a Carl Lawson offsides penalty negated what would have been an Auburn stop), Mixon hauled in a 32-yard reception to extend the drive. Baker Mayfield tied the game five plays later on a 13-yard touchdown pass to Mark Andrews.

After a Daniel Carlson field goal nudged Auburn back in front, Mixon gave Oklahoma (11-2) a lead it would not relinquish when he plunged in from three yards out to put the Sooners up 14-10 with 3:37 to play in the first half. Mixon later added a 4-yard touchdown run and finished the night rushing 19 times for 91 yards and two touchdowns with a game-high five grabs for 89 yards.

That’s not to say Mixon was the only star of the night for Oklahoma, though. Mayfield (19-of-28 passing for 296 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions, four rushes for 34 yards) connected with Dede Westbrook six times for 59 yards and a 7-yard touchdown strike on the first drive of the third quarter. Needing 83 yards to top Billy Sims‘s all-time rushing record of 4,118 yards (including bowl games), Samaje Perine carried 16 times for 86 yards and a 2-yard touchdown. He finishes his third season in Norman with 4,121 career rushing yards.

Overall, Oklahoma rushed 43 times for 228 yards (5.3 a carry) and rolled up 524 total yards on 7.38 yards per play.

Auburn (8-5) started the game extremely well, opening with a ground-based 14-play, 75-yard touchdown drive punctuated by a 3-yard Chandler Cox touchdown plunge on a 4th-and-2. But quarterback Sean White reportedly broke his arm on a rush one play before that and, though he would go on to play most of the first half, was ultimately replaced by John Franklin III. Franklin led Auburn to a second Carlson field goal to pull the Tigers within 14-13 at the half but did not dent the scoreboard in the second half before leaving with an injury of his own. Jeremy Johnson finished the game for Auburn; the three signal callers combined to complete 12-of-26 passes for 153 yards with an end zone interception tossed by Johnson. Kamryn Pettway led all rushers with 24 carries for 101 yards, and Kerryon Johnson rushed nine times for 33 yards. Johnson also tossed a 1-yard jump pass touchdown to Jalen Harris on the final play of the game, a play Auburn coach Gus Malzahn called two timeouts to set up with his team trailing by 22 at the time.

The win extends Oklahoma’s winning streak over the hated SEC to four games, its overall winning streak to 10 and, equally important in this College Football Playoff era, pushes the Big 12 into 2017 with a 4-2 overall bowl record, including two wins over the SEC in three tries.

Oklahoma leads Auburn as Sean White heads to locker room

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The combination of Baker Mayfield and Joe Mixon has shined, and Oklahoma holds a 14-13 lead over Auburn midway through the Sugar Bowl. The Tigers are playing without starting quarterback Sean White; ESPN’s Kaylee Hartung reported White had his right forearm examined by Dr. James Andrews inside the Superdome.

Auburn posted the only score of the first quarter, a vintage Gus Malzahn-Auburn drive. The Tigers moved 75 yards in 14 plays over nearly six minutes, running on all but two of those 14 snaps — including a 3-yard Chandler Cox plunge on 4th-and-2.

Oklahoma tied the game early in the second quarter, trudging 90 yards in 14 plays with major help from Auburn defensive end Carl Lawson. The Sooners were momentarily forced off the field after not converting a 3rd-and-27 from their own 34, but an offside penalty provided OU another shot, and Mayfield made the most of it with a 30-yard completion to Mixon. Mayfield completed the drive with a 13-yard scoring strike to tight end Mark Andrews.

After a 49-yard Daniel Carlson nudged Auburn back ahead with 7:16 left in the second quarter, Oklahoma grabbed its first lead with a 75-yard drive keyed by a 26-yard strike from Mayfield to Dede Westbrook on 4th-and-4 from the Auburn 29. Mixon plunged in from three yards out one play later to hand Oklahoma a 14-10 lead with 3:37 left in the frame. Mixon finished the half carrying 10 times for 45 yards and a score with three receptions for a game-high 73 yards. Mayfield has hit 8-of-14 passes for 145 yards and a touchdown.

John Franklin III entered for White on Auburn’s final drive of the half and hit 2-of-4 passes for 21 yards while adding two rushes for nine yards. More importantly, Franklin guided Auburn 63 yards in 10 plays to set up Carlson for a 39-yard field goal with 41 seconds left in the half. Kamryn Pettway has led the Tigers’ attack with 18 carries for 79 yards; as a team, Auburn has rushed 29 times for 123 yards.

Oklahoma will receive to open the second half.

No. 9 OU starts fast, holds off No. 14 West Virginia in Big 12 showdown

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No. 9 Oklahoma raced to a massive lead and held off a late surge from No. 14 West Virginia to secure a 56-28 win in a snowy Morgantown on Saturday night.

The first 40 minutes of the contest was a story of how Oklahoma could do nothing wrong and West Virginia couldn’t get out of its own way. It started when West Virginia muffed a punt after OU’s first possession, which the Sooners immediately turned into a touchdown. That theme continued, as West Virginia twice coughed up the ball inside the Sooners’ 5-yard line and committed a number of personal fouls, which, coupled with big plays from Oklahoma’s 4-headed monster of Baker MayfieldSamaje PerineJoe Mixon and Dede Westbrook, aided the Sooners to a 34-7 halftime lead.

West Virginia quarterback Skyler Howard compounded the misery when he tossed an 80-yard pick six to OU linebacker Jordan Evans, pushing the lead to 41-7 at the 13:09 mark of the third quarter.

Hidden inside that 34-point deficit, though, was that West Virginia moved the ball well in between turnovers. Once Evans left the game with an injury and WVU stopped shooting itself with both feet, the Mountaineers mounted scoring drives of 63, 79 and 85 yards to turn a 41-7 laugher into a 41-28 shootout with 10:07 still remaining.

But Oklahoma, which had done absolutely nothing offensively in the second half, put together one last drive, moving 65 yards in 11 plays, capped by a 1-yard Mayfield run and a 2-point pass to tight end Mark Andrews to push the lead to 49-28 with 4:37 to play.

Mayfield finished the night completing 9-of-15 passes for 169 yards with two touchdowns and one interception while adding two scores on the ground. Perine and Mixon combined to carry 55 times for 307 yards and three touchdowns, and Westbrook caught two passes for 100 yards and a score.

For its part, West Virginia nearly matched OU yard-for-yard. Howard hit 12-of-26 throws for 191 yards with two scores and a pick-six while rushing 12 times for 52 yards and two touchdowns. Justin Crawford poured in a monster night with 24 carries for 331 yards.

The win pushes Oklahoma (9-2, 8-0 Big 12) into a winner-take-all Bedlam game with No. 11 Oklahoma State on Dec. 3, while West Virginia (8-2, 5-2 Big 12) has been eliminated from Big 12 contention but can still record just the sixth 11-win season in program history.

 

Behind 672-yard offensive effort, No. 20 OU beats Texas in Red River shootout

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Despite out-gaining Texas by more than 150 yards in the first half, three unseemly turnovers forced Oklahoma to take just a 14-13 lead into the break.

The Sooners got out of their own way in the second half. As did Texas. And in the process No. 20 Oklahoma dropped 672 yards in a 45-40 Red River Showdown win over the reeling Longhorns in Dallas.

The tight first half gave way to an offensive explosion to open the second, as Shane Buechele (245 yards, three touchdowns on an uncharacteristically inaccurate 19-of-36 passing) closed drives with a 63-yard touchdown pass to Devin Duvernay and a 45-yard heave to Dorian Leonard, but those scores proved to be brief respites against a crimson avalanche.

Oklahoma (3-2, 2-0 Big 12) scored on six consecutive possession from the close of the first half and through the entire second half, and each march was a lengthy one: 85 yards in four plays, 79 yards in three plays, 85 yards in seven plays, 76 yards in four plays, 93 yards in 13 plays and a 60-yard field goal march in 14 plays. The Sooners treated a historically porous Texas defense as did California and Oklahoma State, moving the ball through the air and on the ground.

Texas (2-3, 0-2 Big 12) had no answer for Dede Westbrook, who hauled in 10 receptions in 10 targets for a school-record 232 yards and touchdowns of 42, 47 and an Oklahoma series record 71 yards. And when Westbrook wasn’t dancing through a vacant secondary, Samaje Perine was busting up an overmatched burnt orange front. The FBS single-game rushing record holder carried 35 times for 214 yards and two touchdowns, while Baker Mayfield hit 22-of-31 throws for 390 yards and three touchdowns through the air with 20 more yards and an additional score on the ground.

The first two scores in Oklahoma’s run overcame deficits of 10-7 and 20-14, and, after Buechele’s second touchdown pass, turned a 27-21 hole into a 42-27 lead the Sooners held for the rest of the game. Barely.

Texas mounted a comeback effort with a six-play, 67-yard drive capped by Buechele’s third touchdown pass, this one to Armanti Foreman, and, after an Austin Seibert field goal banked in off the right upright pushed the score to 45-34, the ‘Horns moved 69 yards in five snaps on the legs of D'Onta Foreman (25 carries for 159 bruising yards), including a 22-yarder to pull UT within 45-40 with 1:45 to play.

After tight end Mark Andrews, whose earlier drops resulted in an interception and a punt, recovered the ensuing onside kick, Oklahoma attempted to run out the remainder of the clock but, on a 3rd-and-5 at the Texas 39, Mayfield scrambled and lost the ball, briefly alluding Texas the chance to take over around midfield with a minute remaining, but the Sooners hopped on the loose pigskin. Texas could not mount a serious threat with just 24 yards remaining from its own 10-yard line.

No. 20 OU holds slight lead over Texas despite mistake-filled first half

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A mistake-filled first half has resulted in No. 20 Oklahoma out-gaining Texas by 251 yards but leading the ‘Horns just 14-13 through one half in Dallas.

After entering the season one of a handful of teams without an interception, Texas snagged two in the first quarter. The first came after Malcolm Roach hit tight end Mark Andrews, forcing the ball to ping-pong into the arms of safety Dylan Haines. The Longhorns did not capitalize on the score, but did snag another pick on the next possession when Haines caught a wide open pass thanks to one of the most obvious no-calls of the entire season.

Haines’ return set up Trent Domingue for a 33-yard field goal at the 5:21 mark of the first quarter.

Continuing the theme of capitalizing on mistakes, Oklahoma forced a fumble by D'Onta Foreman deep in his own territory, and three plays and 16 yards later Oklahoma had a 7-3 lead.

Texas answered with its only sustained drive of the half, an 8-play, 66-yard march capped by a one-yard Foreman run to give Texas a 10-7 edge 39 seconds into the second quarter. True freshman Shane Buechele struggled for most of the half — partly due to inaccuracy, partly exacerbated by poor protection — and never was that more obvious than on the ‘Horns next possession when, after a Joe Mixon fumble, he missed a wide open John Burt that would have staked Texas to a 17-7 lead.

Instead, Oklahoma struck next with a long score of its own, a 71-yard rainbow — the longest completion OU’s ever had against Texas — from Mayfield to Dede Westbrook, putting the Sooners back in front 14-10 with 4:02 to play in the half.

Texas closed the half with an 18-play, 64-yard drive ending in another Domingue field goal as time expired.

Oklahoma has gained 281 yards to UT’s 130, led by Samaje Perine‘s 11 carries for 87 yards and a touchdown. Mayfield has connected on 12-of-20 throws for 157 yards with a score and two picks.

Buechele has hit only 9-of-21 passes for 79 yards, and Foreman has been limited to 32 yards on 12 carries.

Texas, it’s worth noting, is 0-13 under Charlie Strong when trailing at the half.