Anything that could have gone wrong for Baylor (6-3, 3-3 Big 12) on Saturday appeared to go wrong against No. 11 Oklahoma (8-2, 7-0 Big 12). Baylor running back Terrance Williams was knocked out of the game in the first half (he would eventually return though)and quarterback Seth Russell suffered a horrific injury to his left leg in the second half. Injuries aside, Oklahoma left little doubt which team was the best in the Big 12 with a 45-24 victory.
Joe Mixon (124 yards, 1 TD) and Samaje Perine (100 yards, 2 TDs) were dominant on the ground and Baker Mayfield thrived through the air with 300 passing yards and two touchdowns. Dede Westbrook was a big factor for the Sooners as well with two touchdown catches. On defense, linebacker Jordan Evans made some history by becoming the first Oklahoma player to record two sacks and two interceptions in the same game.
Russell left the game with a severe left leg injury. It was a pretty gruesome injury that should keep him out for the remainder of the season. I’ll just put it this way. His foot is not supposed to point that way. You know it was bad when Oklahoma defenders around him on the play were showing how in shock they were about the injury, waving for medics to come rushing out for assistance.
Defense, as you might suspect in a big 12 game, was pretty much optional. Both teams had over 500 yards of offense, but Baylor’s miscues (three turnovers) prevented them from keeping this one closer than it turned out. Two interceptions thrown by Baylor ended up leading to Oklahoma touchdowns. One of those interceptions came in the end zone, for what turned out to a be a pivotal 14-point swing.
With the win, Oklahoma remains in full control of the Big 12 race with two games still to play. The Sooners lead Oklahoma State and West Virginia by one game. It just so happens those are Oklahoma’s final two opponents, starting with next week’s game in Morgantown against West Virginia. West Virginia held on for a 24-20 road win at Texas shortly after Oklahoma wrapped up this win. Oklahoma has won eight straight games since starting the season 0-2 with losses to Houston and Ohio State.
Baylor has now lost three straight game sin Big 12 play and will hope to get back in the win column next week against Kansas State in Waco.
Oklahoma running back Samaje Perine is a key member of the Sooners offense, but a pulled muscle will keep him out of action for the next two weeks. Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops says Perine may even be out for a third week.
Perine, a junior, is fifth in the Big 12 in rushing with 475 yards and tied for third in the conference with six rushing touchdowns through six games this season. Along with Joe Mixon and quarterback Baker Mayfield, Perine was a part of one of the strongest backfields in the nation. The loss of Perine hurts Oklahoma’s offense, but a healthy Mayfield and Mixon should manage to keep the Sooners offense moving without skipping a beat.
Oklahoma’s next two games will be on the road against Texas Tech and at home against Kansas. Oklahoma should be a decided favorite in each. Should Perine have to miss a third game, that means he would miss a road game at Iowa State. If Perine needs to miss three games, it really could not have come at a better time for the Sooners. If Perine is out three weeks, he would then be back in time for a crucial final stretch with games against Baylor, at West Virginia and home against Oklahoma State to close out the regular season.
The Oklahoma Sooners (2-2, 1-0 Big 12) evened their season record after nearly letting a big lead evaporate in Fort Worth. After taking a 49-24 lead into the fourth quarter, No. 21 TCU (3-2, 1-1 Big 12) made the Sooners sweat with three touchdown drives in the final frame. In the end, Oklahoma managed to keep just ahead of Kenny Hill and TCU to leave town with a wild 52-46 shootout victory.
Baker Mayfield completed 22 of 30 pass attempts for 274 yards and two touchdowns, without an interception. Mayfield also rushed for 55 yards and two more touchdowns, and Joe Mixon led the Sooners with 105 yards and a score. Samaje Perine also rushed for 98 yards and two touchdowns in the win. Dede Westbrook had himself a ball game with five catches for 158 yards and two scores (133 yards and 2 touchdowns came in the first half).
TCU’s fourth-quarter rally came together as Kenny Hill was getting in a groove, although perhaps too late for the Horned Frogs. Hill ended his day with 449 passing yards and five touchdown passes, with Taj Williams responsible for 210 yards and two of those touchdowns. The two teams combined for over 1,000 yards of offense, but TCU lost the game’s only turnover, which led to an Oklahoma touchdown.
Oklahoma got off on the right foot in their Big 12 schedule. After dropping non-conference matchups against Houston and Ohio State in September, the Sooners were effectively removed from playoff discussion after dropping out of the top 25 of the polls as well. This win, however, suggests Oklahoma still has a chance to have a good season as far as the Big 12 is concerned. The conference will be there for the taking this season, and Oklahoma picked up a road win against TCU to get a jump start on the competition on a day Baylor nearly went down at Iowa State and Texas dropped a game against Oklahoma State. West Virginia pulled out a win at home against Kansas State as well.
Oklahoma heads to Dallas next week for the Red River Rivalry meeting with the Texas Longhorns. Texas is coming off a rough loss at Oklahoma State today and defeated the Sooners last season. TCU will hit the road next week by taking on Kansas.
2015 Heisman Trophy finalist and Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson is the early favorite to win the 2016 Heisman Trophy according to Bovada. In the first batch of early Heisman Trophy odds released by the popular sports book, Clemson’s quarterback was labeled the favorite to win the hardware next fall following a wildly successful 2015 season and run to the national championship game. The valiant effort in the championship game put everyone on notice just how good Watson is. Of course, he was already a Heisman finalist, so he has the college football world’s attention already.
Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey, another 2015 finalist for the Heisman Trophy, was tied for the second-best odds to win the Heisman Trophy with LSU running back Leonard Fournette. Fournette had appeared to be the easy pick for the Heisman Trophy last season but his run to the trophy was steamrolled by Alabama, which allowed Derrick Henry to take the lead in the race.
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield was given a 10/1 shot to win the Heisman Trophy, the same as Ohio State quarterback JT Barrett. Florida State running back Dalvin Cook was among a handful of players receiving 12/1 odds.
Odds to win the 2016 Heisman Trophy
- QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson (9/2)
- RB Leonard Fournette, LSU (5/1)
- RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford (5/1)
- QB JT Barrett, Ohio State (10/1)
- QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma (10/1)
- RB Nick Chubb, Georgia (12/1)
- RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State (12/1)
- RB Royce Freeman, Oregon (12/1)
- QB Chad Kelly, Ole Miss (12/1)
- RB Samaje Perine, Oklahoma (12/1)
- WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama (16/1)
- QB Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee (16/1)
- QB Brad Kaaya, Miami (25/1)
It was supposed to be an offensive shootout. It was supposed to go down to the wire. No. 1 Clemson (14-0) did not care for any of that. After going into halftime trailing by one point after having a pass intercepted in the end zone, the Tigers roared in the second half and buried No. 4 Oklahoma (11-2) with a 21-0 second half en route to a convincing 37-17 victory in the Orange Bowl semifinal of the College Football Playoff. Deshaun Watson and Wayne Gallman each rushed for over 140 yards and combined for three rushing touchdowns as Clemson punched its ticket to Glendale, Arizona to play in the second College Football Playoff National Championship Game on Monday, January 11, 2016.
The first half of the game saw Clemson missing opportunities to tack on points at times, but they made sure that did not come back to haunt them in the second half. It did not help Oklahoma’s cause that running backs Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon each went down with injuries in the game. Perine was injured twice in the game, the second injury bringing an end to his evening in Miami. Oklahoma managed just 70 rushing yards, which never allowed for much chance to keep pace with Clemson. Clemson rushed for over 300 yards thanks in large part to the combination of Gallman and Watson. It was a rough evening for Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield too, who was under pressure essentially all game long and picked off twice despite 311 passing yards. Clemson’s quarterback also passed for 187 yards and a touchdown to keep the undefeated season continuing into the final game of the year. This was the second time Oklahoma has been outrushed by at least 250 yards by the opponent under Bob Stoops, who coached the Sooners to a second straight blowout loss at the hands of Dabo Swinney and Clemson.
Clemson’s defense got off to a sluggish start and ended the first half on a down note, but the second half the Tigers were on fire, even without Shaq Lawson (Lawson left the game in the first half with a leg injury and was ruled out for the second half; Lawson said he hopes to be able to play in the championship game). Clemson forced Oklahoma to punt, a turnover on downs, punt, an interception and a punt in the second half. It was quite the effort for Clemson, and it was a truly impressive bounce back after a sluggish first half at times.
Clemson will now await the winner of the Cotton Bowl semifinal game between SEC champion Alabama and Big Ten champion Michigan State. Alabama owns a 12-2 head-to-head record against Clemson, with the most recent meeting between the two programs coming in 2008 in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta. Clemson’s last win against Alabama came in 1905, which followed a victory in 1904. Alabama has won 12 straight meetings since. Clemson has never faced Michigan State.
For Oklahoma, it will be back to the drawing board. The Sooners still rebounded from a relatively down season in 2014 by striking back and taking advantage of a couple of Big 12 contenders playing without their top quarterbacks (TCU, Baylor). The offense opened up under a new offensive coordinator and the Sooners should still be expected to be one of the top contenders in the Big 12 next season. The perception of the Big 12 will also continue to be a talking point. Two years into the College Football Playoff and the Big 12 has yet to win a game (we’ll see if the SEC can get on the board in a few hours). After being left out of the playoff last season, Oklahoma was a 20-point loser this season. Does that affect the image of the Big 12? One team’s performance should not be the only measuring stick for the strength of an entire conference, but that will what is magnified in Big 12 circles in the coming months and heading into the 2016 season.