With two high-powered offenses meeting up for the Big 12 championship, a high-scoring game was expected. The ninth-ranked Oklahoma Sooners lived up to expectations, but they also succeeded in minimizing the production from their in-state rivals, #10 Oklahoma State. The Sooners piled up over 600 yards of offense while chewing over 35 minutes of clock time, lighting up the scoreboard en route to a 38-20 victory for their 12th win in 14 years over their rivals. It was the ninth straight win for the Sooners (11-2), who are undefeated in conference play. The Cowboys fell to 9-3, snapping an eight-game win streak in the loss.
Tight first half ends in 17-17 tie
Although the score doesn't indicate it, this rivalry matchup was a tight one at the start. The Cowboys held the Sooners in check for the first quarter, forcing three punts while tacking on the only points of the quarter, courtesy of a 19-yard field goal from Ben Crogan. However, the field goal represented a missed opportunity, as the Cowboys were stopped on the goal line, turning what should have been 7 points into 3.
The drive was set-up by an Oklahoma punt that gave the Cowboys great field position at their own 45-yard line. They keyed the scoring drive with a 26-yard run from Chris Carson. However, the Cowboys led 3-0 after the first quarter, but not for long.
On the first play of the second quarter, Oklahoma quarterback and Heisman candidate Baker Mayfield hit Dede Westbrook for a 69-yard touchdown and a 7-3 lead. After forcing another punt, the Sooners increased their lead to 7 points, but they too wasted an opportunity for a touchdown. On the first play of the drive, Mayfield connected with Dimitri Flowers for 67 yards to the Oklahoma State 3-yard line. However, two runs were stuffed, and the Sooners were called for offensive pass interference from the one-yard line.
They settled for a 34-yard field goal and a 10-3 advantage. A run apiece from Mason Rudolph and Justice Hill brought the ball close to midfield, before the Cowboys introduced the Sooners to their aerial attack. Rudolph tossed a dime to James Washington for 44 yards to the Oklahoma 12. Carson used two runs to punch it in from there to tie the game at 10-10.
Oklahoma went 3 & out on their next drive, setting up the Cowboys at midfield. Oklahoma State drove smoothly down the field, consistently ripping off plays of 10+ yards. Carson and Hill picked up a dozen yards each on first-down carries to bring the Cowboys into the red zone. Rudolph would eventually punch it in from 6 yards out for a 17-10 lead with 1:28 to go in the half.
However, Oklahoma's 2-minute offense was very effective, as they drove 76 yards in 61 seconds, the drive centered on a 42-yard bomb from Mayfield to Jeffrey Mead. Mayfield finished it off with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Geno Lewis. tying the game into halftime. Using that as momentum, the Sooners would take over in the second half.
Oklahoma's big offense, stout defense, breaks it open in the second half
Receiving the second half kickoff, the Sooners got to start the half on their terms, and they did just that. Samaje Perine, who finished with 239 yards, raced 66 yards on the first play of the half to the Cowboys' 15-yard line. He ran four more times, eventually driving into the end zone from one-yard out on 3rd & Goal. After holding the Cowboys to 1 yard on three plays, the Sooners got the ball back.
They then opened up their biggest lead of the game with a methodical drive lasting over 6 minutes. Mayfield made a few critical completions, going 4-5 for 42 yards on the drive. Perine ground out 14 yards on 5 carries. Joe Mixon added 10 yards on a couple of runs for the Sooners. By the time Mayfield connected with Mixon for a 12-yard touchdown pass, there was barely four minutes left in the third quarter, and Oklahoma had a 31-17 lead.
Rudolph connected with Jhajuan Seales twice for gains of 54 and 21 yards on the next drive for Oklahoma State. The latter brought the Cowboys to the 13-yard line, but that was as far as they would get. They settled for a field goal with a minute to go in the quarter. It was all they would get the remainder of the night. They got a key chance to swing the momentum when they forced Perine to fumble deep in Oklahoma State territory. The Cowboys looked primed to take advantage, marching methodically down the field. After converting a fourth down at their own 40yard line, the Cowboys marched down to the Oklahoma 21-yard line. Facing a 4th & 2, the Cowboys decided to go for a field goal to bring them within one possession. However, Crogan missed the 38-yard attempt to keep it an 11-point game.
Mixon took the handoff on the next play and took it 79 yards to the house to ice the game for the Sooners.
Barry Sanders took the kickoff return into Oklahoma territory, but the Cowboys could not get a first down. Then, with the exception of one Mayfield completion, it was all Perine. Perine picked up a few yards at a time, meticulously picking his way down the field, draining the clock. The Sooners killed the last 8:18 of the clock, eventually taking a knee at the Oklahoma State 2-yard line to let the final seconds drip off the clock.
Mayfield finished with 288 passing yards, complementing a strong ground attack from Perine (239 yards) and Mixon (99 yards). Westbrook led Oklahoma receivers with 111 yards.
Rudolph, with the exception of a couple of big plays, struggled greatly. He completed just 11-25 passes, for 186 yards. Justice Hill and Chris Carson rushed for 99 and 91 yards respectively. Seales raked in 80 yards receiving for the Cowboys.
Both teams will get an excellent bowl game. Oklahoma has an outside shot at the College Football Playoff, but they will need some help.