Oklahoma Positions Itself for Division Title With Big Victory Over Baylor
Yes, it was a lopsided finish, but the outcome was made almost respectable by a couple of late Baylor touchdowns, scores that OU coach Bob Stoops called "cheap."
Oklahoma's hurry-up offense seemed to flummox the Bears early in the game. The Baylor defense was out of position on a couple of plays on the Sooners' first drive, and the Bears picked up an illegal substation penalty trying to get their personnel set on another play.
OU, which now leads the all-time series against Baylor 20-0, was stuffed on that drive, however, when Gary Mason Jr. deflected and intercepted Landry Jones' pass at the Baylor 40-yard line and returned it 21 yards to the OU 39. The return, though, was nullified by a personal foul call against the Bears. One step forward, two steps back. That might have been the story of the night for Baylor.
• Baylor was penalized for a false start on what would have certainly been a first down off a fake punt at the end of its first drive of the game. The Bears backed up five yards and punted. Oklahoma scored two plays later.
• Robert Griffin's pass was tipped by OU defensive end Jeremy Beal but caught by receiver Jarred Salubi. But Salubi was then forced backward by defenders and Baylor ended up losing 18 yards on the play, putting the ball at the Bears' 2.
• Late in the first quarter, the Bears forced an Oklahoma punt. Baylor's Krys Buerck – perhaps hearing footsteps from OU's Javon Harris, who was charging hard toward Buerck – tried to catch but never gained control of the ball. Joseph Ibiloye recovered at the Baylor 8 and Roy Finch scored on the next play, putting OU up 21-0 with 1:22 to play.
The Bears started four of their five drives in the first quarter deep in their own territory, forcing Baylor to spend long periods of time in front of the large contingent of Oklahoma fans as well as the OU band. That's when Baylor picked up the false start penalty on fourth down.
OU made its first score look easy, as DeMarco Murray caught Landry Jones' pass a few yards past the line of scrimmage and streaked untouched down the sideline in front of the Oklahoma bench for a 76-yard TD. The Sooners didn't have much trouble with their second touchdown either, as they got the ball at the Baylor 33 when the Bears couldn't convert a fourth-and-1. (Baylor was 2-for-4 on fourth-down conversions, but just 3-of-15 on third-down conversions.) From there, Murray and Finch combined for 7 yards on the ground and Jones hit Kenny Stills for a 13-yard gain before Murray's 13-yard score with 6:35 to play in the first.
Baylor stayed within two scores after Griffin and receiver Brad Taylor teamed up for a 12-yard TD pass 31 seconds into the second quarter, a play that was set up by Jay Finley's 50-yard run to the OU 14. But Oklahoma put together an 11-play, 72-yard drive that resulted in a 5-yard touchdown by Ryan Broyles. After a Baylor punt, OU then went 59 yards in nine plays for a TD and then finished the half with a 33-yard Jimmy Stevens field goal with less than a minute to play. OU led 34-7 at the break, and if the game wasn't quite in hand yet, the Sooners went up 50-10 midway through the third quarter, removing any doubt about the outcome.
When Baylor loses, it does so in grand fashion. The Bears have now given up 50-plus points twice this season (also losing to Oklahoma State 55-28), and have given up at least 40 points in each of their five losses.
Baylor finishes the season at 7-5 and 4-4 in the Big 12 after losing its final three conference games. However, the Bears are bowl eligible for the first time since 1995 and will know in two weeks if they receive an invitation for postseason play.
Oklahoma (9-2, 5-2) will play at Oklahoma State on Saturday. Both those teams and Texas A&M are still in the hunt for a South division title.