Oklahoma Goes From Irrelevant to Possible Dream Team

Oklahoma stepped into Dallas the stronger team. After walking off the Neyland Stadium field with a victory in double OT, Oklahoma fans believed in Sooner Magic which gave players, fans and coaches confidence to walk into the Cotton Bowl Stadium feeling invincible.

Well, the Sooners felt defeat from the first scoring drive made by Texas. Then again, when Texas came back with another touchdown while Oklahoma had not been able to score. Oklahoma lost to Texas in Dallas, 24-17 to a weak Longhorn team who blindsided the Sooners when their confidence was too high.

Oklahoma was labeled as irrelevant, but the Sooners did not let the label stick for long.

The team who arrived in Dallas is not the team who played against the Mountaineers, and especially not the team who scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter against the Vols.

Oklahoma rebounded quickly from the loss against Texas, traveling to Kansas State the following weekend to shutout the Wildcats 55-0. The team was able to make statements on offense as well as defense. QB Baker Mayfield accounted for 5 touchdowns, 282 passing yards and 33 rushing yards. The Sooners started off strong by making the first drive of the game a touchdown. The team kept that momentum, not allowing K-State to score points.

While some were skeptical of the Oklahoma rebound, the Sooners hosted Texas Tech. The Red Raiders maintained high-scoring, high-intensity offensive games, but the Sooners had some tricks up their sleeve.

Although the Mayfield threw an interception, the Sooners maintained a persistent rushing game. Oklahoma had two players rush for more than 150 yards, Perine and Mixon. The pair accounted for 355 rushing yards of the Sooners’ 405 total rushing yards during the matchup. Onlookers began to pay attention the victory against Tech because Texas Christian slid right past the Red Raiders in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, finishing the game 55-52. The final score of the Oklahoma-Texas Tech matchup showed Sooners that defeat against one of the elite Big 12 teams was possible.

Then against Kansas the Sooners held onto their earned momentum against KState and Tech. Oklahoma traveled to a near-empty Lawrence to defeat Kansas, 62-7.

The Sooners racked up 117 points in two games while holding their opponents to 7 points. The offense was making connections. QB Baker Mayfield was beginning to create stable chemistry between RB Samaje Perine, RB Joe Mixon and WR Sterling Shepard.

The Sooners then hosted Iowa State this past weekend. Oklahoma powered through the Sooners first drive, scoring in six seconds with a 75 yard run by Shepard to begin the game 7-3. OC Lincoln Riley said he was giving the offense the needed confidence to continue through the game, even if it kickoff had just happened minutes before. Oklahoma scored five touchdowns in under one minute of playing time for each score. Six, if you count the 1:01 minute touchdown scored later in the game. The Sooners scored 3 1- play touchdowns and 2 2-play touchdowns while hosting the Cyclones. That power is palpable when watching the Sooners run the field. While Oklahoma fumbled around the second quarter against the Cyclones, the renewed momentum after the half was noticeable.

The Sooners scored 38 points in the second half of the game, running as well as passing the ball. The Oklahoma defense allowed for one touchdown for Iowa State during the fourth quarter of the game and the other nine points were from field goals on a fourth down. To say the Sooners have found their momentum is an understatement. Oklahoma has outscored their opponents 232-42 in the past four games.

But next, the Sooners take on their next challenge. Oklahoma travels to Waco this Saturday to take on powerhouse, undefeated Baylor. Baylor is running on a backup generator by red shirt freshman QB Jarrett Stidham as its first string QB Seth Russell is out due to a neck injury. Stidham started in his first matchup against Kansas State Thursday, November 5 in Manhattan to slide past the Wildcats, 31-24.

Although the young QB had shining moments, the Sooners were able to hold the offense and play against the offense at Bill Snyder Memorial Stadium. Baylor was able to keep its stronghold against the Wildcats with its powerful passing game, out passing the ball 419-172 yards. But the Bears were not able to outrush their opponent.

Kansas State finished with 258 rushing yards, and Baylor 103. The Sooners dominated rushing and passing yards against Kansas State, finishing with 336 passing yards and 232 rushing yards. While the Bears did not have as strong as a rushing game against the Wildcats as Oklahoma did.
While the Bears have dominated teams across the board offensively, the Sooners have been able to hold teams down to a minimum amount of points. The Oklahoma defense is going to have to hold Baylor down throughout the game for the Sooner offense to flourish. Oklahoma will need offense and defense to power throughout the game in order to come out on top.

It will be a matter of LB Eric Striker, LB Devonte Bond and the various cornerbacks to play to their best. As well as Mayfield, Perine, Mixon and TE Mark Andrews to keep the scores flowing. While the Sooners have been able to keep a fast pace against other strong offensive teams, Oklahoma has not faced anyone of Baylor caliber.

The Tulsa Golden Hurricane head coach is the former Baylor OC, so Tulsa traveled to Norman with a similar game strategy. Oklahoma finished dominate but, it was not without mistakes. Playing each play with all of its potential is going to be key. The Sooners are also going to have to cage WR Corey Coleman who has been a potent force for the Bears

. While their starting QB is out, I think Coleman can hold the team if the Bears’ opponent isn’t up for the challenge. Under the best circumstances, I see the Sooners maintaining a close game with the Bears and hopefully powering though lulls to bring the win back to Norman. While Sooners are more confident after the past four games, other Big 12 coaches recognize Oklahoma’s talent.

The Sooners playoff aspirations after a 15 year national title dry spell, are far-fetched but possible.

“That’s a really good football team we played, and to beat a team like that, you can’t many mistakes,” Iowa State head  coach Paul Rhodes said.

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