Jeff Badet

Associated Press

No. 12 Oklahoma hangs on to beat Texas and remain in Big 12, CFP races

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What looked at the beginning looked like a familiar rout turned into an instant classic. No. 12 Oklahoma looked like it was primed to blow out an undermanned and unprepared Texas but instead found itself overcoming a fourth quarter deficit as Baker Mayfield‘s touchdown pass to Mark Andrews pushed the Sooners over the Longhorns, 29-24.

Oklahoma (5-1, 2-1 Big 12) roared out of the gate of Saturday’s Red River affair, mounting a 20-0 lead before Texas could mount so much as a serious drive. Mayfield’s second pass of the game was a perfectly-placed 54-yard rainbow to Jeff Badet for a touchdown. Rodney Anderson glided in untouched for a 15-yard scoring run, and a pair of Austin Seibert field goals staked the Sooners to a 20-point edge.

But Texas (3-3, 2-1 Big 12) finally woke in the second quarter, set up by a 41-yard Kyle Porter kickoff return and completed on a 16-yard screen pass from Sam Ehlinger to Porter. The Sooners were driving just before the half in an attempt to stretch the lead back to 20, but John Bonney became the first defender to intercept Mayfield this season on a 4th-and-3 pass. That allowed Texas to mount a responding drive, as Joshua Rowland knocked in a 34-yard field goal to pull the Longhorns with 10 at the half.

Texas nearly intercepted Mayfield again on the first possession of the second half, but linebacker Breckyn Hager could not corral the pass that hit him in the numbers, and Seibert’s third field goal pushed the lead to 23-10.

Texas moved 75 yards in 13 plays, largely on Ehlinger’s legs, on the ensuing possession, and Chris Warren‘s 1-yard run, aided by Ehlinger pushing him across the goal line, cut the lead to 23-17 with 4:27 to play in the third quarter. The Longhorns were primed to take the lead when Ehlinger had Devin Duvernay streaking uncovered down the sideline, but his 42-yard pass carried the receiver out of bounds and the ‘Horns turned the ball over on downs. No matter, Texas moved 73 yards in eight plays to take the lead on an 8-yard Ehlinger (278 passing yards to go with a game-high 106 yards on 22 carries) run with 8:01 to play.

After spending the entire second half in a slumber, Oklahoma’s offense awakened when it had to do so. Mayfield found a wide open Andrews for a 59-yard touchdown. Mayfield’s 2-point pass to Andrews sailed out of bounds, forcing the Sooners to defend a 29-24 lead with 6:53 to play. Playing his fourth and (probably) final game against Texas, Mayfield finished 17-of-27 for 302 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

Ehlinger led Texas to midfield but left the game after banging his head on the Cotton Bowl turf, and Shane Buechele entered and took the ball to the Sooners’ 31-yard line with 2:45 to play. Texas would get no further though, as Buchele was sacked and a pair of penalties pushed the Longhorns’ into 2nd- and 3rd-and-long. Ehlinger fired incomplete on third and fourth downs, and Texas did not get the ball back until the 49-second mark at their own 3-yard line. With no timeouts remaining, Texas moved to midfield but no further, and Oklahoma had its sixth Red River win in the last eight years.

Oklahoma opens up early lead, but Texas hanging around

Associated Press
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Oklahoma appeared on its way to another Red River rout, but Texas fought back to make a game of it. The Sooners lead 20-10 at the break.

Baker Mayfield has absolutely dazzled so far in his Red River finale, hitting nine of his fist 10 throws. After forcing a punt to open the game, Trey Sermon ran for 31 yards on three carries to open the Sooners’ first drive, and then Mayfield found Jeff Badet over the top for a perfectly-placed 54-yard touchdown strike.

Oklahoma’s defense, which couldn’t stop a cold against Baylor and Iowa State, forced two straight three-and-outs on the Longhorns’ next two drives, and Oklahoma capitalized with a field goal and another touchdown, a 15-yard Rodney Anderson dash. Anderson carried seven times for 35 yards in the half, while Sermon led all rushers with 46 yards on eight carries.

After Texas turned the ball over on downs near midfield, Sermon put the Sooners in business with a 42-yard pass to Marquise Brown, but the drive ended in Austin Seibert‘s second field goal of the half.

Kyle Porter finally got the Longhorns on the board with a 41-yard kickoff return (with a 15-yard late hit added on) and then a 16-yard screen reception, cutting the lead to 20-7 with 3:23 left in the half. Playing without three opening day starters on the offensive line, Sam Ehlinger spent most of the first half under duress. He completed 10-of-19 passes for 113 yards and Texas’s ground efforts with eight carries for 13 yards.

The Sooners appeared primed to push the lead back to 20 after rushes of 16 and 21 yards by Mayfield and Anderson to open the following drive, but John Bonney intercepted Mayfield (his first in 202 throws) on 4th-and-3 at the Texas 31-yard line with 1:07 left. Mayfield closed the half 11-of-16 for 197 yards with a score and a pick.

Texas converted the turnover into a 34-yard Joshua Rowland field goal as time expired.

Oklahoma will receive to open the second half.

Kentucky transfer WR Jeff Badet moves on to Oklahoma

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Jeff Badet may have left Kentucky, but he hasn’t climbed out from underneath the Stoops coaching umbrella.

On his personal Twitter account Tuesday morning, Badet revealed that he will continue his collegiate playing career at Oklahoma.  The Sooners, of course, are coached by Bob Stoops; the wide receiver’s former program, the Wildcats, are coached by Mark Stoops.

Badet chose OU over another Big 12 school, West Virginia.  The receiver had paid a visit to Morgantown late last month.

In mid-January, the Wildcats announced that Badet had decided to transfer out of the UK football program.  Badet is on schedule to graduate in May, meaning he’ll be eligible to play immediately in 2017 for the Sooners.

A three-star member of the Wildcats’ 2013 recruiting class, Badet was third on the team in receptions and receiving yards as a true freshman.  A leg injury in spring practice the following year — a tennis ball to the eye didn’t help either — led Badet to miss the 2014 season.  Returning in 2015, he was third in receiving (29-430); in 2016, he led the team in receiving yards (670) and yards per catch (21.6).

That latter number was tops in the SEC and sixth nationally.