12/07 19:34 CST No. 6 Oklahoma beats No. 8 Baylor 30-23 in OT for B12 title
No. 6 Oklahoma beats No. 8 Baylor 30-23 in OT for B12 title
AP Sports Writer
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) --- No. 6 Oklahoma has done all it can, winning a fifth
Big 12 title in a row with another close win over No. 8 Baylor.
Now the Sooners wait to see if they are going to get in back in the College
Football Playoff. That is up to the selection committee, though it will be
virtually impossible to keep Oklahoma from being one of those four teams.
"I hope they see the Big 12 champions. They've got a job to do, I get that,"
coach Lincoln Riley said after Oklahoma's 30-23 overtime win Saturday.
"We've had a job to do as a team ... and ultimately win the Big 12
championship," he said. "We've done that.''
Rhamondre Stevenson had a 5-yard touchdown run in overtime, and then true
freshman Jacob Zeno --- whose two long passes in the fourth quarter helped tie
the game --- was under constant pressure when Baylor got its last chance.
A day after No. 5 Utah lost in the Pac-12 championship game, and before No. 4
Georgia fell 37-10 to No. 1 LSU in the SEC title game, Oklahoma (12-1, No. 6
CFP) became the first team in any league to win 10 conference championship
games. It was the 13th Big 12 title overall for the Sooners, who went to the
playoff three of the past four seasons.
It was the second time in four games that Oklahoma beat the Bears (11-2, No. 7
CFP), who in coach Matt Rhule's debut season two years ago lost 11 games with a
depleted roster in the aftermath of a scandal that led to the firing of
two-time Big 12 champion coach Art Briles.
Rhule said Oklahoma should be in the playoff regardless of any other results.
As for his team, Rhule told them to "feel that pain" of watching the Sooners
"Let that drive you in the offseason," he said. "But at the same time, also
understand what we've done."
The Bears tied the game after Zeno came in during the fourth quarter, the
second quarterback used after starter Charlie Brewer left the game in the
second quarter following a big hit he delivered on a defender.
There was an 81-yard catch-and-run touchdown by Trestan Ebner with 9:41 left in
regulation and a 78-yarder to Chris Platt that set up John Mayers' 27-yarder
with 3:25 left to make it 23-all.
"It's not supposed to be easy," Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts said.
After Oklahoma scored on three plays to start overtime, the Sooners put the
heat on Zeno. He was sacked for a 10-yard loss, and then he was under duress
again when he flung a game-ending pass that fell to the turf harmlessly.
The Bears had only 105 total yards before the 81-yard TD pass in the fourth
quarter by Zeno, who had played in only one game and was the scout team
quarterback imitating Hurts in practice this week. They finished with 265.
Hurts, who last year led Alabama's comeback win over Georgia in the SEC title
game, was 17-of-24 passing for 278 yards and a touchdown. CeeDee Lamb had eight
catches for 173 yards after missing the previous game against the Bears.
Brewer was taken out of the game not long after bulling over a defender at the
end of a 7-yard run early in the second quarter. He finished that series and
played one more, apparently hitting his head on the ground when being sacked by
Kenneth Murray, before Gerry Bohanon took over.
Referee Mike Defee went to the sideline and asked Rhule to get Brewer checked
out, because the ref said the quarterback "just seems a little bit out of it."
Bohanon directed Baylor on scoring drives on its last two possessions before
halftime. He threw a 33-yard touchdown to Tyquan Thornton before a 28-yard
field goal by Mayers put the Bears up 13-10 at halftime --- even with only 98
Three weeks after their biggest comeback ever, a 34-31 win at Baylor after a
25-point deficit, the Sooners jumped ahead 10-0 on the Bears.
Lamb turned a short catch into a 71-yard gain to the 7 on Oklahoma's second
drive, setting up Kennedy Brooks' 6-yard TD run. On the next drive, Lamb's
26-yard catch came before Gabe Brkic kicked the first of his three field goals
--- he has made a school-record 17 in a row this season without a miss.
Oklahoma: The Sooners are 10-1 in Big 12 championship games. They became the
first Power Five team since Alabama from 1971-75 to win five consecutive
outright conference titles. (Clemson had the chance to match that in the ACC on
Saturday night). The 36-year-old Riley is 36-5 as head coach, with Big 12
titles in all three seasons since being promoted from offensive coordinator
after Bob Stoops suddenly retired in the summer after winning his 10th Big 12
championship. Oklahoma has a 27-3 series advantage over the Bears, though this
was the first game between them with both ranked in the Top 10.
Baylor: The 11 wins matched a school record, and Baylor still has a chance to
break that in their bowl game. Rhule said while his Bears are disappointed with
the loss, he knows they will be ready for their bowl.
Oklahoma waits for the selection committee's decision Sunday.
Baylor would go to the Sugar Bowl against an SEC team if the Sooners make the
playoff, and could still be in a New Year's Six game if they don't.