While the fate of University of Oklahoma quarterbacks was up in the air at the end of last season, Head Coach Bob Stoops is sticking by his end of summer practice decision of starting junior transfer Baker Mayfield.
QB Baker Mayfield has made the biggest impact on the Sooner season, but it is still unkown whether he is able to play against top conference contenders. Oklahoma has met three out-of-conference teams throughout the first month of college play but the Sooners are coming off a bye week, and heading into a home matchup against West Virginia this Saturday.
The beginning of the season, Mayfield walked on to Owen Field for the first time as OU’s starting quarterback and performed well against the Akron Zips, finishing the game with a 69.7 percent completion percentage. Mayfield accounted for three touchdowns and one rushing touchdown. The Sooners finished 41-3 in their season opener.
Akron was a good chance for Oklahoma to get their feet wet and find chemistry between players, but it did not prepare the Sooners for their matchup against the Volunteers in Knoxville.
Mayfield experienced some up and downs during his playing time against Tennessee. This has been the only time Mayfield was not able to have a completion percentage of at least 50 percent.
Mayfield went 8 for 25 in the first three quarters of the game, accounting for 84 yards of play and his two interceptions.
Tennessee challenged the Sooners until the last minutes of the fourth quarter and into overtime. Mayfield struggled to find connections to RB Samaje Perine, WR Sterling Shepard and RB Joe MIxon.
In the fourth quarter, Tennessee was unable to keep up with the Sooner speed, as Oklahoma was able to rack up 17 unanswered points going into overtime. Of those unanswered points, 14 were accounted for in the fourth quarter. The two touchdowns spoke to a firework effect that was happening for the Sooners, with a little momentum it took the team a long way.
The Sooners finished 31-24 in Knoxville for their second win against the Volunteers in as many years.
In interviews, Mayfield insisted he did not get frustrated. He said it was important to stay positive, because he knew how close the team was.
While the Sooners slid past the Vols in Knoxville, the Golden Hurricane came to Norman put up a good fight. The Sooners did not struggle offensively as much as defensively, giving up over 600 yards to Tulsa. Tulsa and West Virginia share a similar strategy, and the Sooners are hopeful that the bye week has helped the team recover and start fresh.
Fans can hope that Mayfield will be able to keep the same amount of cool against the Mountaineers this coming weekend in Norman.
The Sooners are going to face one of the best secondary’s in the conference this weekend. Oklahoma is going to have to find that fast and furious running game to be able to be able to set up the deep threat.
The Sooners will face junior college transfer and four star recruit, Rasul Douglas who is a prized possession for the Mountaineers this season.
Douglas finished the season with 40 tackles and 3 interceptions, with Nassau Community College in Garden City, NY last fall.
While there are new members to the team, West Virginia does have secondary veterans that are going to be difficult for Mayfield to deal with. For Mayfield, he will need to find quick connections with running backs and wide receivers during the game to maintain speed and momentum for the Sooners.
The Sooners have been able to count on senior WR Sterling Shepard during his time in Oklahoma, but there have also been high hopes for red shirt freshman Joe Mixon. The five star recruit had to sit out last season due to being suspended during the year for assaulting a female student. Stoops spoke to a reporter from The Oklahoman and cites Mixon’s seemingly under impressive start was due to his time off last season. Hopefully, Mixon will find his pace soon.
While Coach Stoops believes in Sooner Magic, it will not be able to make Oklahoma a better team. Frustration and overconfidence have killed the Sooners in the past, and will continue to do so if Oklahoma is not able to start off well in the first quarter.
As Mayfield shows progress, fans can compare his stats to his first three games at Texas Tech. The QB has made large improvements since 2013. While his stats against teams like SMU, SFA and the then less-striking TCU are better than his current stats, he was not playing against top-tier competitors.
The Sooners are favored to win by 6.5 points, but it will be contingent on Mayfield’s performance and chemistry between QB as well as RB with the rest of the team.
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