Three and Out: Baylor routs Oklahoma to make College Football Playoff case
History said Baylor faced long odds at Oklahoma on Saturday. The Bears had never won in Norman (0-11 all time) and had never beaten a team ranked in AP Poll on the road under Art Briles (0-11). None of that mattered this time around, though, as Baylor scored the game’s final 45 points to sink the Sooners 48-14.
Here are three quick thoughts on the game:
1. Baylor showed impressive resolve early
Oklahoma appeared to be in control when quarterback Trevor Knight hit wide receiver Durron Neal for a nine-yard touchdown to put the Sooners up 14-3 in the first quarter. Meanwhile, quarterback Bryce Petty and Baylor’s offense couldn’t find its rhythm in the early moments.
However, the Bears flipped a switch in the second quarter, on both sides of the ball. After Corey Coleman reeled in a 33-yard score to narrow the deficit to 14-10, Baylor linebacker Bryce Hager picked off Knight and returned it 36 yards to the Oklahoma one-yard line. Devin Chafin punched in a score to give the Bears a 17-14 lead. They didn’t look back, scoring again before the half for a 24-14 edge.
Baylor continued its dominance in the second half, with Petty looking like his usually efficient self. He went 32-of-42 for 387 yards. Since suffering its only loss in a 41-27 defeat at West Virginia on Oct. 18, Baylor has scored 108 points in its last two games. Saturday’s win marks the program’s first road victory over a ranked foe since 1991, snapping a streak of 37 consecutive losses.
2. Oklahoma’s defense looked lost at times
Oklahoma did a great job limiting Baylor’s ground game, which managed 50 rushing yards. But the Bears had an extremely productive day through the air.
Coordinator Mike Stoops’ defense had little answer for Baylor’s passing attack, which accounted for 396 yards. Petty completed nine straight passes on the Bears’ opening drive of the third quarter, and the second half became a game of pitch-and-catch. Baylor mounted three touchdowns drives with the result in hand.
The Sooners weren’t going to compete without shutting down Petty. They had allowed 265.8 passing yards per game this season, ninth in the league, and they were exposed by one of the country’s best up-tempo attacks. Now an Oklahoma team that entered the year with championship hopes is 3-3 in conference play.
3. Don’t count out Baylor’s playoff chances
Baylor still must host Kansas State in the regular-season finale on Dec. 6, but matchups with Oklahoma State and Texas Tech don’t look very threatening. If the Bears win out, they’re guaranteed no worse than a share of the Big 12 title. That’s even the case if TCU wins out, since it lost to Baylor on Oct. 11.
The Bears would have an interesting argument for playoff consideration at that point. Their nonconference slate is undeniably weak, but a résumé that includes a road win at Oklahoma and home victories over TCU and Kansas State isn’t bad at all. The question is whether it’d be enough in the eyes of the selection committee.