Mayfield exceeds dreams in Oklahoma's win at Tennessee
Even the wildest of those dreams didn't match the thrill of reality: Mayfield rallied the Sooners from a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit Saturday and Oklahoma defeated Tennessee 31-24 in front of a raucous crowd of 102,455 at Neyland Stadium.
''Probably never dreamed of a double-overtime win in front of 100,000 people,'' he said.
Though the specifics were unique, the junior walk-on from Austin, Texas, always envisioned coming through for his beloved team with the game on the line.
''You always dream of being in a situation like that, where it comes down to the ball's in your hands, the ball's in your court, and it's up to you what you're going to do,'' he said. ''We took advantage of it. You love to see what happens when your team has the opportunity to win and you can take advantage.''
Tennessee never before had blown a 17-point lead in a home loss. Now, Mayfield and the 16th-ranked Sooners (2-0) will take an extra dose of confidence into Saturday's matchup with Tulsa (2-0).
The Sooners fell behind Tennessee 17-0 in the first half. By the end of the third quarter, Mayfield had completed just 8 of 25 passes for 84 yards, with two interceptions. In the fourth quarter and overtime, he connected on 11 of 14 passes for 103 yards and three touchdowns, and he ran for a score. He said he never lost confidence.
''We were that close to just setting it off,'' he said. ''We really were very close. Looking back on film, just penalties, dropped balls, turnovers. It wasn't anything they were doing, just like I said about the Akron game. It's just attention to detail. We've got to be able to go out and execute. Just play in and play out, be able to do our job.''
Mayfield said the crowd affected the offense at times.
''It did in the sense of when I was going to check a play,'' he said. ''When I wanted to check a play to a better look, the offensive line couldn't hear me, and the crowd got even louder. Hat's off to them - they brought the noise in the stadium. It played a factor in our time management of the play clock and having to rush in some situations.''
Mayfield's calm mental approach in such a hostile environment helped his teammates.
''Baker was a big part of that,'' said Sterling Shepard, who caught two touchdown passes, including the game winner. ''He never lost his composure. Even though we had the rocky start, he was that guy on the sideline you can rely on. He had that mentality that we're not going to give up. We fed off him and made plays.''
Mayfield had some games come down to the final minutes in high school, but he had never played in an overtime game before Saturday. He said his teammates took time to enjoy the moment as it was happening.
''I loved it,'' he said. ''I'm sure everybody on the team loved it, too. We talked about it. You don't get to play in too many situations like that. That's a big crowd and a big game. We knew everybody in the country was watching. It was fun.''
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP